Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Educational Gaming? Hmmm....

Lately as I gear up for student teaching, I've been doing a lot of reflecting back to my own elementary schools days.  What did I like to do for fun?  What subjects were my favorite?  What activities did I learn the most from?  My elementary friends and I like to reminisce and the one thing we always, always talk about are the games we played back in the computer lab.  Everyone always appreciates looking back to the good ol' days of Kid Pix, Super Munchers, Oregon Trail, etc.  The list goes on and on.  The excitement of technology was glowing in the late 90's mid 2000's and our computers weren't even anything compared to what our students have now. As I think about this, I wonder, what can we as educators do to foster this kind of excitement and enthusiasm kids have for games within our classroom?

This week for my Emerging Instructional Technology course, we've been talking about how learning can occur through gaming.  We were to try and play a game called Kingdom Rush
for a couple of hours and see what we all learned.  When I first heard of the assignment I kind of rolled my eyes because I thought I had much better things to do for three hours, like sit on Facebook ;).  

Now you might be asking, what is Kingdom Rush?  Well pretty much you are battling against different creatures who are trying to attack your territory.  There are many different types of weapons that you use to beat them: arrows, magic, militia and artillery.  Before you can move on to different battles, you have to beat all the waves of enemies and you can then get rewards.  The game is definitely a bit challenging at times, but it made me curious to try and explore different options to become successful.

During my gaming, I come to realize that it can really be a great learning experience.
 The catch is, is that you really need to make sure that it is serving the right learning goals and corresponding with the standards that need to be meant.  These types of activity can be really engaging for the students and keep them on-task.  They can also serve as motivation and a fun reward for kids.

So now that I have this in mind, I hope to create fun gaming experiences for my students that they will be still talking about in their 20's. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

#TLAP: An Amazing Tweet Chat

Hello Ladies and Gentleman,

I'm writing this blog post not out of an obligatory sense but because I am actually really excited about what took place tonight.  For my class here at UNI, I was required to do some work in Web 2.0 whether it be a Tweet Chat, Webinar, Online Conference, etc.  Tonight I participated in #tlap, which is a Twitter book study about the book  Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.  The chat happens every Monday night from 8:00pm-9:00pm central time.  I had never actually done a tweet chat before, so it was interesting to see how the conversation flowed.

The topic covered during that period was about incorporating fun into the classroom.  There were many experts participating in the chat and they were all talking about how we need to have intrinsic motivation for our kids through fun.  This was refreshing to read because I usually am nervous about using fun activities in the classrooms I shadow since I might step on the teacher's toes.  I actually tweeted to the chat about that and I had multiple people tweet me back including a UNI alum who is a principal in Iowa and the author of the book himself!  Usually when I am blogging I don't really feel like I am being heard, but it is evident when I used twitter that I am.  This was just the spark I needed to really get into the educational side of Twitter.  From the chat I had a few people follow me and when I went to their profiles, I saw that they had some valuable content.  One lady even gave me tips for when I get into my own classroom.

I plan on using this in my own professional life as a way to connect with others to see what types of ideas I can incorporate into my own classroom.  I would also try and help out others who might be wanting to implement new technologic
al ideas into their own rooms.  This chat really changed me because I used to think educational tweeting was hard to follow and pointless, but now I am really excited about all the possibilities it presents me.  I also learned a lot about incorporating fun ideas into my future classroom.

If there is anything to take away from this post, it would be to try and engage in some tweet chats, they really open your eyes!  Here's a link with some great ones to participate it.

What Tweet Chats do you participate in?