Whakahaerehia tētahi Hour of Code Mahimaina mō tō akomanga

December 5-11 is Computer Science Education Week, and everywhere I go there seems to be all sorts of activity going on with children in schools learning to code and use computers in interesting ways. One of the initiatives that seems to have taken off this year is Hour of Code™, and as part of this initiative the organisation I work for, CORE Education, has worked with with Microsoft, OMG Tech! and High Tech Youth support this by assisting with the development of a new Minecraft tutorial, which was developed in close partnership with Code.org. The tutorial includes Minecraft characters and … Continue reading Whakahaerehia tētahi Hour of Code Mahimaina mō tō akomanga

Focus on energy

Occasionally I come across a resource site for teachers that I feel is worthwhile sharing on my blog – today it's energy kids – developed and made available by the US Energy Information Admistration.  Energy – its production, use and conservation – is a hot topic for today's young people. It will be one of the things that defines how society develops into the new millennium as old forms of energy are depleted and new forms are developed, experimented with and adopted. Our young people will need to be well informed about these issues – and many of them will … Continue reading Focus on energy

Gamification of learning

Gamification is another of those words gaining currency in education circles at the moment. It's about more than simply playing games for learning (which isn't a new thing anyway, remember things like scrabble and monopoly?). Gamification is about bringing the design principles behind what makes games successful in engaging learners into the way we design learning experiences for our students – whether we are using ICTs or not. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the infographic below from Knewton provides some useful starting points for understanding. I'd recommend it needs to be explored and used as a catalyst for discussion, … Continue reading Gamification of learning

Game-based learning – new research

I see and hear lots of reference to game-based learning these days – the concept isn't new, but is certainly seeing a resurgance of interest with ongoing development of computer-based games and the application of the principles of this sort of game-playing being applied to the design of learning experiences for students.  The National Foundation for Education Rsearch (nfer) and Futurelab have just published a report titled Game-based learning: latest evidence and future directions (PDF) which provides some useful perspectives on the types of educational values that can be attached to gaming. The report first considers how the notion of game-based learning is defined, … Continue reading Game-based learning – new research

Minecraft in education

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI0BN5AWOe8?version=3&hl=en_US&w=430&h=240%5D For some time now I've used Minecraft as an example of the sort of gaming experience that I believe has application for education. Minecraft is essentially a computerised version of lego on steroids, allowing players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. There's no pre-determined script or objective – just a mass of construction materials and opportunity to develop whatever you want.  The video above, from PBS Idea Channel, provides a persuasive argument for Minecraft as an educational tool – based largely on the premise that it's so customisabe. I have a son who began using Minecraft … Continue reading Minecraft in education

Thinking more about game-based learning

I've just been looking thrugh the list of links that came to me via: Online Colleges titled The 20 Best Blogs About Game-Based Learning collated by Jasmine Hall, staff writer for the Online Colleges website. Her introduction reads; Adults these days… seem really into chastising video games those crazy kids are into as symptomatic of the human race's inevitable, steady decline. Like every hobby and medium, legitimate concerns regarding these technologies certainly exist, but their complete lack of validity is decidedly not amongst them. Intrepid educators, developers, administrators, and parents alike know that new and digital media can be harnessed for more productive ends, … Continue reading Thinking more about game-based learning

Using Minecraft in education

Having watched my son spend countless hours creating all sorts of worlds in Minecraft I've become intrigued by what this virtual world enables users to do. Minecraft in the Classroom is a recent addition to the field of game-based learning. It is a sandbox game where players can create and build, fight off enemies and explore vast landscapes. His latest effort has involved creating a substantial virtual world that is "self-sustaining"; in terms of the automated processing of the minerals mined into various forms of fuel and energy. How has he learned to do this? He and his small group … Continue reading Using Minecraft in education

A parent guide to 21st Century learning

I've just been reading this new guide published by Edutopia, titled A parent's guide to 21st Century Learning. As with much of the material published on the Edutopia site, this is a really useful collection of tips, ideas and links for parents and educators alike (and I qualify on both fronts 🙂 The ideas in the booklet are grouped according to the age of the students, and use the “4Cs” from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills as a framework for emphasising the educative value of the learning resources that are shared. Collaboration: Students are able to work effectively with diverse groups … Continue reading A parent guide to 21st Century learning

Game-based learning handbook

http://static.issuu.com/webembed/viewers/style1/v2/IssuuReader.swf Open publication – Free publishing – More games   I spent today at the International eLearning Futures Conference (follow #ielfc11 on twitter) at Unitec in Auckland. I had a slot after lunch speaking about future trends in eLearning, which provided a good follow-on from Steve Wheeler's opening address.    In my talk I spoke of several things that are shaping the expectations learners have of our educational institutions and the courses we provide – from mobile devices, to visualisation tools, to open content – and gamefication.  So it was with interest I came across the e-book above when I … Continue reading Game-based learning handbook

7 things you should know about gamification

Te concept of gamification is gaining traction in education now (although this idea has been around for a long time, even pre-computer). My recently arrived colleague at CORE, DK, has also been promoting this thinking among our team since he arrived. For some, the word 'gamification' implies a trivialising of learning, based on having fun and therefore is not taken seriously. For others it is seen as the domain of the serious online gaming fraternity who are, frankly, frightening in terms of their addiction to the games they play. The truth is nowhere near either of these views, and so … Continue reading 7 things you should know about gamification