In recent years computer Games Based Learning, or playful learning has started to gain more cohesion in classrooms as a powerful learning and teaching methodology. There are so many different games and ways to bring gaming into your lessons just like Alice Leung, the 2012 Microsoft Australia Innovative teacher winner, did with her science and physics classes. To check out how Alice has been using games check out the newspaper article from yesterday.
Games based learning has always offered a lot of opportunity, and here in Microsoft innovations such as the Kinect is clearly accelerating innovation in this area. Kinect is a console adapter for Xbox 360 and any Windows PC – it has a dual camera system that enables users to control software through their gestures. It’s an immersive experience, and learners can use their whole body– arms, legs, hands, and feet – to interact with software, and devices. Kinect for Windows has great potential to transform how we all interact with our computers and finally classrooms can have real interactive whiteboards! For anyone wishing to take Kinect a step further and begin to develop classroom apps and software, check out this curriculum download from Rob Miles in the University of Hull in the UK.
There have been many different ways that teachers have implemented a Kinect into their classrooms but some real simple ways to integrate it into you curriculum are:
- A bowling game used for numeracy – children counted how many pins were knocked down and how many were left
- The creation of avatars to teach life-skills
- Students used Kinect to conduct quizzes on eye and hair colour
- Students developed their kinaesthetic intelligences through a dance game
- Kinectimals was used to develop sentence construction and punctuation skills
- Kinect Sports can engage individuals who have traditional not enjoyed physical education
There are so many more examples of real integrations into lessons some of which are available in the links through this post.
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There is no doubt that there is an increased requirement to expose children to computer programming throughout K-12 schooling. Computer science, coding and programing have been traditionally seen as a niche area for specifically interested people. This is no longer going to be the case. Jobs in the future will increasingly look for computer coding literacy at least. As technology advances, so the skill set of users and developers must too. Kodu enables key concepts and ideas from coding to be introduced to children in K-6 by visualising the processes of coding and enabling the students to create their own worlds.
Teaching with Kodu is not just about programming. It is a great way to develop a number of 21st century skills as it is perfect for focusing on cooperative learning and developing creativity.
Even humble Microsoft Office 2010 or 2007 can offer a fantastic platform for game based learning. For anyone who remembers Clippy trying to help them in older iterations of Microsoft Office, well he’s back and this time he’s learned how to teach! Ribbon Hero 2: Clippy’s Second Chance is a brilliant way to engage students in the core digital literacy skills of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Discover all Office features by actually using them, with a hint button to fall back on in case you get stuck. Race for a high score with colleagues, classmates and friends, or even put your score on your resume to show off your Office skills!
There is a multitude of information out on the web about Kinect and learning but below are some of the Australian projects and research that have taken place with Kinect, Kodu and game based learning.
Just Press Play research work via Microsoft Research – Unlocking academic success with frame games for learning.
The Partners in Learning Fostering Innovation website has plenty of resources and links to information about gaming.