Monday, June 19, 2017

Virtual Learning = Simulations?

Virtual Learning = Simulations? - Mon., June 19, 2017

Years ago when I was a young teacher I wanted my 6th grade students to get the "feel" and try to truly understand the concept of power and resources.  We divided the physical classroom up into regions and each region had specific resources.  One had the door, another had the water fountain, another had the pencil sharpener, another had the dictionaries, one had the calculators, etc.  Throughout the day we did regular class activities, and it wasn't long before the students in one "region" figured out they didn't have the resources they needed.  It's hard to describe here, but my students got it.  They got an early, primitive lesson that really stuck with them as we went through the year.   I learned then that if I wanted them to get big abstract concepts, I had to make it real.

So it's 2017, how do we make it "real" if it's virtual?  It's not REALLY real, but yet students think differently than we do now.  Our school uses a program called "Dreambox" which is game-based learning for Math and the students have excelled with it.

I think virtual learning is for classrooms what TV was in the 80's.  A way to bring the real world into the house, the classroom, the phone, the device of the students.  Learning can be anywhere, anytime, so virtual, game-based play must be developed and available for all students everywhere and not at a huge cost.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Vacation from Reality- Sun., June 18, 2017

Sun., June 18, 2017 - A Vacation from Reality

So in the Games and Sim course I'm taking, I've become an avatar and get to explore Jokaydia Grid which is beautiful and perfect and safe.  I was flying (1st hint I wasn't in Vermont anymore), and then accidentally landed in the water/ocean.   Rather than drowning I simply walked on the ocean floor to land, which was quite odd, but kind of nice at the same time.  There was no "risk," no "accident report" that had to be completed and sent to the SU and VSBIT.  It struck me then that the true draw for virtual games is that it is a "vacation" from reality.  The world is perfect, neat, no grass to be mowed, no barking dogs, etc.  Often when people are stressed, strategies recommended to them are mindfulness, yoga, walking in nature, bubble bath, massage, prayer, etc.  I've NEVER heard gaming recommended, but I'm going to add it to my list.  For a short visit, I'm taken away to land with no worries where I can relax and be safe.  Of course, you have to go to the right game to make this happen so I'm going to start a list of "Vacation from Reality" games for recharging the stressed, exhausted educators!