Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Create EduGames Online

Gamestar Mechanic is a game-based digital learning platform designed to teach the guiding principles of game design and systems thinking in a highly engaging and creative environment. Gamestar Mechanic was designed with the understanding that game design is an activity that allows learners to build technical, technological, artistic, cognitive, social, and linguistic skills suitable for our current and future world. The built-in curriculum in Gamestar Mechanic lets learners exercise these skills by creating games. Knowing how to put together a successful game involves system-based thinking, problem solving, collaboration, art, storytelling, and digital media literacy. The basic level is free but you can upgrade to a premium version for a small monthly fee.

There are two ways to use this site. Students can play pre-made games that are curriculum related or they can create their own games with the help of a tutorial. For teachers, librarians and parents, the Learning Guide provides rich game design content as well as a set of sample lessons and resources that can be used in conjunction with the Gamestar program. One section of the guide showcases lessons on connecting more traditional academic content to game creation. Each entry contains a story, with observations about the real world that then take shape within game creation activities. A brief class activity outline offers ideas for ways of engaging students in game creation around the entries.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Using Apps

Educational organizations are finally embracing apps for smartphones such as the iPhone and tablet computers, such as the iPad. Learning with apps is often more convenient in this mobile world. Many of these apps are free to use for educational purposes.

For example, an app to get students thinking about how biomechanics and anatomy are related is the Vernier Video Physics app. Students can videotape animals using the app and analyze how the anatomy might be different between animals and why. It's a neat way to use a comparative approach to learning about anatomy. It's available for free from the Vernier app store.

Other apps to teach anatomy include XRayFX Lite, 3D Cell Station, 3D Head and Neck, 3D Body Systems Quiz, 3D Brain and Anatomy Lite. If you teach about Global Warming there is an app for that. So look for new apps whenever you visit your favorite science sites.