The New Craze… PokemonGo

Having enough playful addictions in my life, I really haven’t bothered to get into this new craze, though my FB feed has random comments, and I am amused by the stories of people walking into poles while playing it (yes, I am a tad sadistic..). From what I understand, the app uses GPS and local maps, placing creatures at random locations that people have to hunt down and “throw a ball” at them to catch them??? (To be honest I don’t completely understand the process…)

Though the game itself does sound a bit ridiculous to me, it has had the effect of getting otherwise sedentary children out into the world and moving, so I can’t be too harsh on it. It also got me thinking, “Can this be used in education?”… From the limited research I have conducted (the last 30mins since thinking of this) it appears a lot of people have had the same idea, maybe it does have its merits.

As I have said, I don’t know much about the game or how much control can be taken over it but, as a HPE teacher how cool would it be if I could manipulate the map and restrict it to the school I work in. Dividing my classes into teams, providing challenges for each lesson. Students working together in a group to achieve the lesson goals while competing against other teams in the class. A win win for all as I get students moving while they are having fun…

Does this option exist?

Classcraft.. Someone try this for me…

Classcraft… I found this gem while looking at gamification resources. Basically it is set up as a behaviour management tool, but could be used for anything really (I need to explore it more).. There is a paid version and a free version. There is not much difference between the two, the paid version gives you the ability to reward gold as well as experience and students can use the gold to upgrade their avatars.

So basically each student creates an avatar. They can choose from a Warrior, Healer or general (anyone play WoW..). They get a certain amount of “Life” for each character. Every time a student does something good, like turning up to class on time, being prepared, keeping quiet, they are rewarded with experience points (XP). As they gain XP they move through levels and different abilities are available to them, like the ability to shield another student from damage, a hint during an exam. They also receive Action Points (AP) which they “spend” to be able to use their new abilities.

If a student misbehaves they lose Health Points (HP). When a student gets down to 1 HP they are randomly assigned a consequence from “The Book of Lament”. Each day all students regain a certain amount of HP, meaning they may have to be good for a number of days before they are back to full health.

As well as individual achievements, students are placed in teams. When 1 student loses points, everyone in the team loses points. One student’s actions could send the whole group to The Book of Lament. Team points can be earned as well.

The game allows teachers to create different settings for different classes and also allows parents to be involved (homework points). It is fully customisable.

I have yet to be able to try this game out, it would have been perfect at my last placement.. If anyone gets a chance to try it, or has used it, please comment below….

I’m Back….

This blog was originally created as a requirement for my ICT class at uni. Since finishing that class I have not posted at all, I’m not sure if anyone has from my class. I got a notification the other day saying someone (I’m guessing from the new class) has started following me and I thought, maybe I should keep this up.

To be honest, I haven’t stopped looking for ways to incorporate ICTS into my classrooms. I still explore the different groups I have joined, and constantly search online for new resources.┬áThere is so much out there that I just did not have time to properly explore and implement..

So for those of you still following or just starting, don’t be disheartened. You are not going to understand if all in one semester. The idea is to get you thinking and get you connected to the communities that can help you to learn…

Goodluck…

 

Do I Really Want to Remember This….

My professional experience is over and it is time to complete my final assignment for this course. Working through the pathways, I have been asked to list all the successes and failures I had while trying to implement ICTs in my lessons.

To start with, I had some rather spectacular events in regards to ICTs that stand out as failures, I remember them well, though most revolve around my inability to use equipment. The successes, on the other hand, are more difficult. Not because I didn’t have any, but because for 16 lessons of English I did nothing but use ICTs. My mentor is a firm believer of the whole lesson on power point. Every lesson I did was run on power point, very successfully. So how do I choose an event that was successful? The only thing I can think of is the one-off use of something different, for example, the use of an Edpuzzle.com classroom I set up for teaching reproduction in Sex Ed, or the power point game of Family Feud we played in English.

Power point seems to be a staple in this prac, and thinking about it further I guess I can at least answer another part of my assignment: on reflection I explored and self-taught myself how to do more with power point. I had teachers in the HPE staff room that really are not power point savvy, but were responsible for creating the content for Sex Ed. I created a power point presentation to show her how to embed videos into a presentation, something I didn’t know before hand either.

So I guess whatever happened on Prac has taught me new things about the ICTs I was using… Now, to translate that into assignment 3.

Note: If anyone is interested in the Edpuzzle classroom I set up, the code is dJ8k6D. Go to the site, click “I’m a new student”. Create a login (does not require much, email is optional). Click “Join a class” and add the above code. There are 2 videos for reproduction and one for STIs. For each video the questions must be answered before the video will progress.

If you try it let me know in the comments and I will mark it and give you back to results so you can see what your students would see.

Stickers work.. Who would have thought it…

Not ICT related, but wanted to share this gem with my fellow students, future teachers and anyone else working with teenagers… Remember back to Primary school when you were so excited to get a sticker for good work from your teacher? It rings true for High School too. Before Prac started I ordered stickers, but not just any stickers, Scratch ‘n’ Sniff stickers. I got pizza, bubblegum, fruit salad and chocolate. For the first week I didn’t know how to approach putting stickers in student books. My mentor told me to just walk around checking books and “slipping them on”.

There is no “slipping it on” when you are trying to place a sticker and find a space to do so while the students is writing, but I managed to do it and was amazed at the result.

The first time I used them I stuck them on and informed the students if they scratched them they would smell. My first English class were smelling the books through the rest of the day. Once students realised what I was doing I had one student, who barely does any work normally, grab her friend’s book to copy the work so she would get a sticker.

I have one week and one day of prac to go and more than 50 stickers left. There will be some very happy students smelling their school books for a while.

If you want to grab some Scratch ‘n’ Sniff stickers (and there are so many more flavours to choose from) you can get them from Silly Milly Moo‘s.

Engaging Students with ICTs

After my first bumpy experience of using ICTs in the classroom (the ill-fated IWB vs TV experience and the laptop that doesn’t like me), things progressed well. I complete all my English lessons using power-point presentations, which help to keep me on track. I am going really well with my HPE lessons, but the behaviour of my English students was less than stellar. I never liked the idea of sending a student out of class to a buddy room, so I generally put up with a lot of misbehaviour to keep students in class and having the potential to learn something. I finally cracked and sent a student to the Buddy Class. At my school, if a student is sent to the buddy classroom they must have a re-entry interview with their teacher which decides whether they return to normal classes or not. I had this interview on my own and had a productive talk with the problem student (though he was quite difficult his first lesson back). Trying to be a nice teacher I asked what I could do to assist him to want to behave.. This lead me to my last lesson with them…

I posted a few weeks ago a webpage with power-point games, namely Family Feud and Jeopardy. May I say, my mentor is jealous and wants the game. The students loved it (my god are they competitive). I used the game as revision for a “YOU DO” component of an English lesson. I wanted to students to see that English can be fun. I even had lollipops are reward for the winning team. It was a lot of fun, they were really engaged, and students that don’t normally participate were getting right into it.

Now to find other games I can use…

Reflections of Prac..

Week 1 and 2 have passed and I feel I should give a rundown of how it all went…

Let me first paint you a picture of my initial frustrations… So I meet with one of my mentors (by the way, I have 3) before Term 3 ends. It is a quick meeting during which he informs me all rooms have either an overhead projector or a TV to hook into. He also tells me they have interactive whiteboards. At this point in time I did not know to ask what kind, but I was excited to use one having completed some of our learning pathways on the subject. Not knowing the brand did make it difficult to know which program to learn, so I thought I would wait till I was at the school to find out…

First day, my mentor tells me that in fact, no there are no interactive whiteboards. Well shit, that put a dampener I all my ideas. My English mentor tells me she does everything (lesson plans and all) on power-point presentations. At least here I can use ICTs in the classroom.

My first HPE lesson was in a classroom with an interactive whiteboard and a TV, which really meant nothing as there was no cord to connect to either. After going through the formalities of introducing myself to the class and marking the role a cord had appeared. Wanting to try something new I decided to use the IWB. Nice in theory. The projection onto the screen was too bright to be of any use during the class. So I switched to the TV. Not a simple task, we had to move the TV close to the power point in the wall (which required it to be so close to the teacher’s desk my mentor and student helper had to crawl under the desk to escape). Then, the TV would not turn on… At this point I decided technology sucked and went back to the normal, easy whiteboard. The TV eventually worked and I finished the lesson.

Since then I have had great success with technologies apart from one slight hiccup.. Every teacher has a laptop on which they mark the role. This is a task I complete for all classes I take. It has become apparent that one laptop does not like me. EVERY SINGLE TIME I go to mark the role on this one laptop the damn thing freezes on me, EVERY SINGLE TIME. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that I will no longer touch that laptop to mark the role…