Wednesday 5 October 2016

Breakout Two/Three - Ulearn 2016

(note - this blog post is tagged breakout two/three because they followed on from each other)

My second breakout is called 
Curriculum for the Future: The Digital Game

Here is the official description of this workshop 
"Curriculum for the Future: The Digital Game is a free digital game designed to generate thought-provoking conversations about learning and curriculum today and in the future. This app is the first resource of its kind to be produced by NZCER in collaboration with Gamelab Ltd. The designers, Rachel (NZCER) and Dan (Gamelab) will introduce the game and discuss how it can be used in a staffroom or classroom to open up thinking and discussion about education."

For context, here is an explanation of the game. 
Curriculum for the Future Promo Video from Soulhaven on Vimeo.

My thoughts and reflections

This game is created so challenge the way people (adults and children alike) think about big issues. Yes, you, a child, are entitled to an opinion and you are allowed to fight for that opinion. It deals with greater issues as well like having to persuade someone to agree to your idea, while still respecting their opinion. It can almost become a manipulation of that person? 

How it can be used in the classroom...
Before the actual game was made, a paper version existed.. Using the paper version first would be great as it sets up the mindset and attitude needed to play the game without the impact and distraction of the digital aspect. When playing the digital game, it would be good to have students in groups so they have people to bounce ideas off and help them understand the concepts involved. I even heard other teachers discussing how they would do this with their staff as a PD. Great idea!

My third breakout is called 
Game design through the looking glass — game design for citizenship

Here is the official description of this workshop 
"A 25 minute taster session on one teacher's story about game design for citizenship using the context of the NZTA 2016 Game Competition. Asking, What does Game Design / Game Creation look and sound like in the classroom and how might this contribute to the conditions to learn about citizenship?"

My thoughts and reflections

This session was so good! I really wanted to see an example of how a teacher has introduced and used gaming in their classroom so I could have an idea for myself.
This teacher, Diana-Grace Morris, began in term 1 by getting the kids to play and evaluate games. Not digital games, normal games. Like knuckle-bones, chess and various other board games. I loved that she did this first, as it would set up expectations and mindsets of how digital games came about, are made the way they are, and used. Very important to establish before you introduce the new and exciting game-maker itself. Next, they began designing a game for the competition they were involved with. This competition also runs next year so will be awesome to be a part of next year for more prepared teachers (I need to get my head around it first!). Diana's class was split up into groups, whom each made a game. Diana talked about how in her class, she let the kids choose their own groups (she did this on purpose). Of course, the kids all went with their friend group. The kids soon realised that it just wouldn't work - themselves, and their friends, typically had similar interests. So, there was a group of writers, a group of coders etc. The kids then had to move themselves around so they could maximise their skill-set. This then meant working with people they typically wouldn't work with and building those social skills. In the end, each group was made up of a writer, a coder, a designer etc etc. I didn't think about the roles that would be required to make a game, so this was a good point to reflect on.

I loved this workshop because it gave me some kind of framework to think about how I could possibly include gaming/coding in my class next year. First, let them play games and evaluate them. Get the critical thinking happening before actually creating annnny game or code or anything. It takes time. Be patient. 

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