Around 40 people ended up attending our workshop and we had a great time sharing our experiences. It was evident from both Rob Newberry‘s presentation on gaming and our presentation that educators are keen to get to grasps with the concept of gaming in education.
From discussions at the conference it seems that we all would love a utopian educational society where the learning was free, flexible, and students were given the scope to be as creative and reflective as they possibly could be. Even with such inquiry based curricula like the PYP, there are still many aspects of it that seem a little rigid at times.
Common threads in conversations regarding gaming in education suggest that it may lend itself to more creativity and freedom in learning. It must be said that at the moment Minecraft is the most open-ended experience a gamer/student can have on a computer. Worlds, mods, and plugins can make anything possible (walking on the moon? check!).
Companies like Valve have released Portal 2 for free to educators. I am currently having G5 students in with me twice a week to play the game. Reasons? None really, thought it would be fun and when I played Portal 2 a few years ago my brain got the biggest workout in a long long time. When they finish the game, I’m wondering if they will have the inclination to make their own rooms in the workshop. Valve have not fully thought out the educational realm as they have left out the most valuable (and enjoyable!) aspect of computer gaming…collaboration! Portal 2 had a fantastic co-operative mode but the educational version does not.
It’s a very interesting time to be an educator, let’s see where this roller-coaster (tycoon) takes us.
Presentation on Minecraft in the PYP here:
As always after these conferences, it’s the dialogue you take part in that leaves the most lasting impression. I left feeling more part of the Asian community of teachers and feel like we are doing something that is worthwhile and adds value to teaching and learning.