On the Thursday I presented a seminar on Computer Games in Secondary Schools in the Innovation Theatre during BETT 2010.
BETT is the largest education technology show on the planet and I was delighted that so many people turned out for my presentation (it was a sell out) and was just sorry that not everyone was able to to get a seat. I promised that I would post the slides and links from the talk, so here they are:
The sides that I used during the presentation are embedded below:
I also refereed to the following websites:
1) Introductory web links:
- Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) - The education agency responsible for curriculum development in Scotland
- The Consolarium - The Scottish Centre for Games Based Learning and Innovation in Education (an LTS funded project).
- Wordle – Create fantastic Word Clouds to brighten up your lessons and look at text in a different way.
2) Home Learning
I think that sometimes it is very appropriate to set children the task of playing good educational computer games as a home learning activity. Obviously, this may depend on home Internet access but in my experience many children have the Internet at home and if not then provision can be provided by other means (library, after school club etc…).
Some examples of games suitable for home learning might be:
- Classic Sim City – Useful for teaching about towns, cities and settlement.
- Ordnance Survey Map Games – Good for homework.
- Fantasy Farmer – Manage a farm for a year
- Stop Disasters Simulator – Can you protect the world against floods, volcanoes, earthquakes and other nasty stuff?
- Sim Sweat Shop – What is it really like working in a sweat shop in a less economically developed country?
- An idea for setting web based games for homework activities
I spoke about how we had successfully used the Guitar Hero as a context for learning and social interaction and children moved between primary and secondary school. A detailed description of the project can be found here and spoke more about it at this years K-12 on-line conference.
4) Contextual Hub for Learning
The Guitar Hero Project is a good example of using a commercially available computer game as a contextual hub for learning. A number of secondary schools in Scotland are currently using other games within this context.
These games include:
- Professor Layton
- Mario and Sonic at the Olympics (and winter Olympics)
- Wild Earth African Safari
Any school games based learning strategy must include consultation with parents. During the Guitar Hero Parents Showcase at Wallyford and Whitecraig Primary school work was displayed to show the parents that both the advantages and disadvantages of games based learning had been discussed as part of the children's project.
Information was also shared on how
to set family settings on games consoles as part of the authorities Internet Safety and Responsible Use Strategy.
We have done a lot of work on the use of the Nintendo DS console and how it can be used to improve levels of numeracy with young people. In particular we have used the following games:
An extended study on the impact of Dr Kawashima in schools will be published soon and you can read the executive summary on the Consolarium Blog.
We have also used a number of other resources including SUMS Maths, Buzz the Schools Quiz for the Playstation and as part of our work with the Consolarium we are doing some work with Manga High Maths in ten Scottish Schools.
Games such as Endless Ocean can provide a powerful stimulus for creative writing and are really empowering for young people. Other games designed to improve your vocabulary include My Word Coach for the Nintendo DS. We are about to start and extended project on this with Drummond Community High School in Edinburgh.
The consolarium has also done some work using narrative driven computer games to encourage reading and also to act a springboard for other learning activities. Most of this work has been based around Hotel Dusk - the quality of the writing in this particular hand-held interactive detective story is excellent.
We have successfully used
We have successfully usedMy French Coach for the Nintendo DS in the secondary context and will be looking at this in more detail after Easter.
Exergaming seems to be a really big 'buzz word' at the moment. There are a number of games that encourage exercise at my school we made good use of the wii and also dance mat technology.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the presentation or if you require more information about anything.