Game Based Learning – Week 9

Gaming is one of the biggest impacts within our society. “In 2017, 32.4 million people play games in the UK. Spending $4.2 billion this year, they make the UK the 5th largest games market in the world.” (Ukie, 2019) Millions across the world play video games daily with many making millions from this. Gaming brings fun to a screen for many individuals and for myself, was one of the many things I did growing up.

Firstly, I had a Game Boy which led to a DS which then lead to a Play Station, Wii and then lead to replacing the PlayStation with an X-box. My brother and I both experienced the fun from these devices and also loved being in each other’s company whilst playing them. It was exciting and enjoyable, especially on the rainy days. One of my most favourite games to play was the Sims on the PC. I loved the idea of creating my own person, designing a house and actually playing each day controlling their actions as though they were living life. This was why I enjoyed playing Minecraft when it was first brought out as it contained survival which meant a challenge. It was different and easily had a ‘hooking’ effect on us.

All the games which I played growing up were fun and positive memories which I can keep. The ones I will cherish are the family times we got together and played Wii games; jumping around the room in fits of laughter at each other’s actions. Even though the majority of my childhood was surrounded with boys, a little part of me still enjoyed playing games as it was such a positive experience for me even when I got a little fed up playing FIFA.

Today, we entered the world of Minecraft to see whether or not it could be used when teaching. I was quite excited to play it again since it had been so long since I’d last played it. In today’s session we had to come up with ideas in which we thought Minecraft could teach children and give them a better understanding of a subject, topic or issue. My self and Lynne firstly played the game and experimented with the items which we could use. We chose to do this first so we could see the different variety in choices and to give us a better idea of what the education edition offered.

The Minecraft Education edition was very similar to the original, the difference, was there were educational elements embedded within the game: like the elements of the periodic table. We hit a ‘light bulb’ moment after discovering this and came up with our first idea of using the periodic table to enhance science comprehension. We thought that they could separate the elements into metal and non-metal elements. After this they could then try to find as many of these elements in the game. Having the chance to go and find the elements was one of the factors which I thought would integrate more fun into their learning as each pupil would find different things and learn off of each other where to look. The learning outcome chosen for this was:

• Through exploring properties and sources of materials, I can choose appropriate materials to solve practical challenges. SCN1-15a

Above is our mind map and planner table which contains the rest of our ideas which we felt could enhance learning within a classroom as well as the learning outcomes for each of these activities.

Summary of ideas
• Health and Well-being: The pupil would try to survive a day by cooking their own meals, for example. This would let them realise how difficult it would be to survive without the luxuries we have today. With the food, certain ones give you more energy than others so would allow the pupils to develop their understanding of how important it is that we eat a balanced diet.
• Maths: The first idea we had was to create your own house and focus on the different shapes that you would be using and then when decorating, thinking of the different ways you could add symmetry to the layout and pattern on the house that you created. The second idea was to use the maps within the game to locate each pupil on multiplayer using the language of North, South, East and West to help guide each other through the world.
• Literacy: Creating your own story within the game by choosing your own characters, creating where they would live and then explaining why they have decided to put them there in. This would be followed by a story board or by a creative writing piece.

Gaming was and still is popular for children to play regularly. A report in 2011 found that gaming is greatly popular within the United Kingdom with nearly 86% of children aged between 5-7 year olds and 90% of children aged between 8-11 year olds using technological devices often (Ofcom, 2001). For the most part, computer games and mainly consoles are basically engraved within the 21st century; younger generations (Ofcom, 2001).

During my two weeks placement in October last year, I vividly remember one pupil who would talk, non-stop, about gaming every day. This could have been viewed as addiction. However, she knew every-single detail about that game, characters, levels and the plot of the story. There was not one thing she would forget. It was as if she was in the game herself. This, for me, encourages me to want to use technology within the classroom since they pick up so much information without realising and gives me another reason why we should use gaming to enhance certain aspects of learning.

Reference

• Ofcom. (2001). Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes. [Online]https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 12/03/2019]
• The Association for UK Interactive Entertainmenthttps. (2019). UK Player Demographics. [Online] ://ukie.org.uk/research [Accessed: 12/03/2019].

Animation Part 2 – Week 8

Our younger generations are enveloped in technology. It is everywhere around them and continues to evolve regularly.

The first question, which I am going to discuss is, how does technology help diminish problems for pupils with learning difficulties and in particular, animation? “E-Inclusion aims to use digital technologies to minimise problems that pupils with learning difficulties experience” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.55). We can admit that pupils feel more comfortable and focused when it comes to the screen since it has this ‘hooking’ affect which can cause them to become engrossed for hours on end; even older generations can see why children admire it fondly. The other reason and the most important one is that it is a part of their everyday life, hence, why they do not categorize technology as a different ‘subject’ (Beauchamp, 2012).

As my group was carrying out our tsunami animation I could see why it could build the confidence for those with learning difficulties. Some children prefer to work with their friends or on a new project which fascinates them. Even though it is a time-consuming process, using sound and video should be able to magnify information processing and secure the learning which the pupils are experiencing (Jarvis, 2015). In my own opinion, I believe that animation is exciting since you are able to create something new and have fun whilst carrying out this procedure. It is also beneficial for the pupils who are shyer in the class as it gives them another way to communicate their ideas. This alone, is a great way to build their confidence not just in the short-term but will have effects in the long-term also (MovieStormLTd, 2011).

To start off our animation we delegated each of our tasks between the five who were in our group – this allowed us to have a structure during the process of our animation. The materials that we used (having organised this beforehand) included:
• Tissue Paper
• Cocktail sticks
• Coloured paper
• Coloured pens
• Cotton Wool
• Lego figures
• Lego helicopter
• String

As we begun creating the scene, it seemed like the animation itself would run smoothly and would not give us any problems. However, we felt like our animation did not have a good flow since it was ‘laggy’ at parts. This made us feel like we were not doing the animation correctly and learned from the other groups that you must take as many photos of the movement as possible; even if it does take longer than anticipated. Our final product was still admired by our class but we felt like there was room for improvement due to having struggled during the stages of making the animation. Personally, my group and I felt as though the area that we made the animation caused difficulty to be around our setting. If we were to do an animation again we would use a cardboard box for example, so that our animation was in a set space making it more flexible for us to move our scene. Even though the points that I have discussed were negative, I still feel as though we have accomplished something. We were successful when thinking of our ideas and coming together as a team even when it was not going to plan. Below is the animation which we created:

Our animation was a challenge but we got there in the end and created something which portrays why we should use animation within a classroom. Personally, I feel like pupils will be able to engage in ways they never knew they could and will realise, like our group did, that not everything works out the way you may have wanted it to at the beginning. It will also set them up for problem solving since they will need to come together as a group and patiently work through this task. Our tsunami animation was inspired by the film ‘The Impossible’ leading the following outcomes to suit best for our animation:

• I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts. TCH1-1a
• I can recognise basic properties and uses for a variety go materials and can discuss which ones are most suitable for a given task. TCH2-10a
• I can extend and enhance my design skills to solve problems and construct models. TCH2 -09

Overall, I feel like animation will be beneficial in a classroom since it will encourage pupils to work with each other but could also be seen as something that may cause conflict within the class. As a growing student teacher, I believe that if I were to do animation with my class I would do it as a project so that the full class were not only working as smaller groups but also together as a class. This would mean that each group would do a section each and in result the whole class will have created the animation together. This could also promote inclusion within my class since all pupils will be taking part. ICT will allow my class to “achieve something that would be very difficult or even impossible to achieve in any other way” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.54). By giving the class the chance to create their own animation and feeling like they have achieved something is what I aim for; allowing them to feel successful with themselves.

In a classroom, we can use animation to enhance learning as well as give the pupils a chance to improve on other skills like their problem solving as well as their team working skills. For teachers, it can also build their confidence since they may not use technology as much as our digital natives would (Prensky, 2001). “Although teachers may be worried by new technologies… we need to be sure that this is not transmitted to young children, or that other obstacles are not put in the way of their natural curiosity and willingness to explore new technologies” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.66). In terms of my own confidence throughout this experience I feel like this quote is something which I can relate to. The reason for this is at the beginning of this session I had disbelief that our animation would work due to all the difficulties we faced with the app and simply having lack of experience using it. However, I do agree with Beauchamp as I now feel more confident after having completed today’s task. In the future, I hope to continue to develop my ICT skills within this department so that I can use this in a lesson as I did enjoy creating the animation.

References

• Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.
• MoviesLTD. (2007) Using animation in schools. [Online]http://cloud.moviestorm.co.uk/edu/Using%20Animation%20in%20Schools%20-%20A%20practical%20handbook%20for%20teachers.pdf [Accessed: 27th February]
• Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.MCB University Press.