Saturday, December 14, 2013

Digital Storytelling meets Social Studies

For the last three weeks we have been studying the American Revolution in fifth grade.  For this project based unit each group is working on one individual and one event to teach their fellow students, and our culminating project deadline is quickly approaching. 

The variety of projects is inspiring as is the enthusiasm to create the digital story that will be used to communicate their knowledge to fellow classmates. 

Finger Puppet Newscast

From finger puppet newscasts, dancing raps, game shows, reenactments, court proceedings, debates and television specials the creativity is amazing.  Student who are typically quiet and reserved are directing classmates as they stage scenes, special education students are participating equally among their peers and being valued as equal members of the group.  Musical talents and art abilities are be utilized and all groups are performing well beyond original expectations.  The issue now is the students not wanting to rush the finalization of the project they are concerned that the video be of superior quality to show the world.

Each student has actively sought out parent permission to post the videos online for the world to see and students are spending time at home researching, editing and collaborating through group google documents.  

All this technology is happening in a classroom where the only technology in the past has been the use of the media lab on a once a week to learn basic functions of power point and word documents.  Now each student routinely uses their individual email and google drive and the teacher has vowed to use digital storytelling several more times this year. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gaming as Collaborative Learning

For this class assignment we took our game playing to another level as we played Kingdom Rush collaboratively to discover additional benefits of gaming in learning environments.

For me I found that my two sons were invaluable tutors, patient and supportive helping to encourage and motivate me while providing constant problem solving suggestions and reminders of where to look for additional resources.

Having the support and encouragement of fellow classmates helped to keep me going on the game when I felt I could go no farther.  Commiserating over frustrations and celebrating successes made developed a sense of community and the feeling that I must work through my frustration as the rest of the community was as well.  When I had others checking on and asking about my progress I felt the responsibility to try harder and not give in so easily.

I am a person who does not like to fail and not knowing how to do something correctly can be very frustrating for me personally but with gaming it is different games are fun.  Games create an environment in which it’s safe to fail and fun to collaborate.  

Here are some interesting articles I found on the subject of collaborative gaming.

Dimension-U Article about online gaming platform and learning resource 

Girls and Games: What's the Attraction   "62 percent of gamers play with other people either in person or online, and 47 percent of all gamers are girl"

  • First, they focus on well-ordered problems, not facts and information.
  • Second, they give players good tools with which to solve the problems (including other players in multiplayer gaming and facts and information as tools) .
  • Third they have clear goals, but, nonetheless, encourage players to rethink their goals from time to time. 
  • To see number 4 - 12 click on link above......
What part of collaborative gaming do you find the most beneficial?