Monday, February 7, 2011

Web 2.0 tools for inservice – collaborating tool (more for staff then students) – Google Blog page (more for staff then students) – Blog site (teacher can control) – Blog site (teacher can control) – create an online poster – lots of tools to create posters, cards, letters etc – a visual collaboration tool – visual way to lay out words – a wordle in the shape of a picture – create a book online – make any picture “talk” – create your own online person – multiple options include card & picture making, video making – create a video using your pictures and their music – create a video using your pictures and their music – put any number of sites along with instructions or helpful hints - one of my favorites! – online bookmarks (more for the staff then students) (spell with flickr javascript program) – copy info from multiple online sources and keep it all in one place – have copies of files on multiple computers – be able to create a bibliography with multiple sources – voice recorder program for podcasts

iTunes podcasts and iTunes University – professional development (more for staff then students)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gaming in Education Research/Information

Chris and I have a presentation coming up to some of our fellow teachers who are interested in using the Wii in the classroom. So, besides just playing with the console, we wanted to provide some research to back up the use of the Wii in the classroom. We don't just use it as a reward or even as something fun to do before the kids go home on Friday afternoon (although we do sometimes play on Friday afternoon and the students do have fun)! There is a lot of research (including our research on this blog) that shows the benefits of using the console in the classroom.
While this isn't an exhaustive list, and they are not all specifically about the Wii console, it should give anybody interested plenty of ammunition to bring to their principals when asking if they can bring a "game" into their classroom! And, if you want to leave a comment telling us how that conversation went, please feel free! Good Luck!

Software and Information Industry Association has info on Best Practices for using games and simulations in the classroom:

Value of Games in Education: a Case Study:

Games in Education:

Education and Simulation/Computers and Gaming:

Drill Down: Gaming in Education:

Wii Standards at the Primary Level:

Gaming and Education:

Learning by Playing: Video Games in Education:

Are Video Games Educational?:

Video Games in Education:

Wii in School for You and Mii:

Government Backs Wii in Schools:

Why Wii in a School Library?:

Big Brain Academy:

Wii in the Classroom:

Wii Debuts in D.C. Schools:

Wii Love Learning:

Educational Wii Games for 2010:

50 Ways to Use the Wii in your Library:

What are the Benefits of Gaming in Elementary Education:

The Many Benefits of Video Games:

Report Touts Educational Benefits of Computer Games: Blog:

Arcademic Skill Builders Site with games that use the Wii controllers:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Amazing Race Game

The newest game we have utilized with the middle school students is the Amazing Race game for the Wii. The students really enjoyed this game and I was impressed with the amount of critical thinking skills needed to play and the increase in cooperative skills the students showed as the game progressed. Listed below are benefits I found inherit in the game (I am sure there are more, these are the ones that popped out at me the first time through) and a step by step guide to play in a classroom setting. This game seemed to be able to use competition in a positive way to encourage students to excel and work together to the team's best advantage.


a.. Great for cooperative learning/ skills

b.. Students learned quickly to work together in order to improve their scores/time/performance

c.. Worked on student oral communication with peers

d.. Students thought rapid fire challenges were exciting

e.. Challenges encouraged students to use critical thinking/ higher order thinking skills

f.. Some challenges were physical in nature and allowed students the ability to utilize kinesthetic skills

g.. Possible geography/research extension activity in reference to destinations in the game

h.. This is a very quick moving game which allows it to maintain student attention throughout game play

Game Play

1.. You can choose two ways to play: individual players against each other or teams of two working together against computer or other teams

2.. You can also choose how many legs of the race you want to play, the more legs the longer the game play.

3.. We played with teams of two working together against the computerized teams

4.. This method got more students involved at one time; however with the amount of people per team, it took some time for students to figure out the best system of working together.

5.. Teams choose female or male faces and then the type of team they want to be; for example, sporty, couch fans, military, gothic, etc. Students had a great time in this part of the game.

6.. Next there is an introduction to the game and some brief instructions.

7.. Teams are given an allowance of money for each leg of the race and then given four options of transportation. Students need to evaluate the best option based on time and money available. The objective of the game is to take the least amount of time to arrive at the chosen destination, so students need to decide which mode of transportation to take and how much money they are willing to spend on it.

8.. Once the mode of transportation is chosen, the teams watch as their virtual teams makes their way to the given destination and see in which order the teams arrived.

9.. There is a brief introduction to the place in which the teams have arrived (some places we have encountered so far: Rome, Rio, New Zealand), accompanied by images from the area.

10.. After each challenge of the game, the teams are listed in order by the amount of time they have taken up to that point. This order also lets the teams know how they are ranked in the game.

11.. There is a challenge, either physical or mental, at each destination. Students work together to accomplish the tasks in the least amount of time as possible. Some of the challenges involve both teams at the same time and some have the teams work individually.

12.. At the end of all the legs of the race, teams are put in their final order. The last team to arrive to the last destination is eliminated from the race.