Zombies iMake – Featured by Apple

We are over the moon. Just released Zombies iMake and we are featured in Halloween and under new and noteworthy. A lot of work was put into making it creative, imaginative, free with inapp yet not a must. I hope you guys download it, and if you can give it a review
(honest one of course)

Zombies iMake - Create Monsters and Zombies
Zombies iMake – Create Monsters and Zombies
Posted in Educational Apps | Leave a comment

Using Digital Games in Class – Doing it the right way

 

Game-based learning is far from being successfully implemented anywhere in the world. A recent article shows some of the main obstacles, but as we know from actual work inside the classroom, there are many more.

Here are 3 suggestions, based on years of professional experience and research, for teachers who believe and wish to use games in their teaching process.

iPadinClassroom

1. Re-Target the Game

It is very hard to find good games, which are both entertaining and coincide with the curriculum. Most apps are just exercises with bells and whistles. The solution: re-target popular games.

Almost every game is based on math. Every action being taken by the player is defined by numbers, positions, and algebraic equations. Find good games, which are not too messy, not to fast, (sometimes only few parts from the game are relevant) and use it in class. For example, use Angry Birds for two elements inquisitions,Scorched Earth for angles, perfect balance for calculating territories, and 2048 for Exponentiation.

2048*2=4096

How? Isolate the part which requires math and show it on the screen. Let students make their own calculations and show their solutions and proposals for the next move. The effect is astonishing as they excitedly attach paper with pencil, behaving like real engineers.

Here’s an exercise you can try in class:

- Play Scorched Earth and divide the class into 3 groups.
- Let them play with exact weapons only.
- You decide the amount of power of each shot and they need to decide what the right trajectory/angle is to make the shot.
- For lower grades ask them only to use correct mathematical language,
for older grades- let them make the actual calculations.

(It takes a little practice but today, I can engage almost every game I like with what I teach).

scorchedearth

2. Force the Math Out of Them/Separate the Head from the Hand Technique

Many games are fun to play and beautiful to look at, but can be played by intuition and not logical thinking, which generally make them not “good” for our goals.

Use the “Separate the Head from the Hand” technique.

Here’s how it works:

When lower grades play Angry Birds, one student (or you) control the game with their hand, letting another student give exact, “correct mathematical” directions, like “add 15 degrees”, etc and not “move it more to the right”. This, in effect, separates the head (giving the commands) from the hand (executing the commands).

The effect is magical, as they all start to use mathematical language in seconds, turning the entire class into one big active player. They either try to help, or they give feedback with sounds of pain and excitement. When they engage a store and suggest what the player should buy ( I use it to teach names of numbers for second and third graders ) they get very emotionally involved – “NO! SHOULD HAVE SPENT 1350 ON WATER AND ONLY 500 ON DIRT BOMBS!!!”

Bonus: you can “audition” students so that only those who can master the attributes of the square can play level 5 next class – this usually causes them to use their break before class to review the attributes like crazy.

This also answers the problem of high cost today of game based learning as governments do not yet support this as a public educational market.

You only need one version of a game to engage a whole class with game based learning.

screen-shot-2011-02-13-at-12-38-17-am

3. Homegamework

While in class, manipulate the games and separate head from hand in order to work the logical part of their brain. It’s is no less important to have intuitive math for everyday needs. After becoming aware of the math behind popular games, give them a challenge to advance to new levels until next time.

You get better results. Seems like playing Angry Birds after class makes them more anxious to return to class and to show their knowledge to their friends (although different capabilities are being used at home than at class).

Yes, there is a problem.
Yes, we’ve always had this problem.
Yes, we can have game based learning in our class as a main learning pedagogy.
Yes, we teachers must design our own apps because others don’t understand our education systems.

No, there is no replacement for the teachers in the learning process. We will always have to choose the right tools, to fit it to class, and to escort the process of creating knowledge.

photo by:
Posted in Educational Apps, Games | Leave a comment

The Key Challenges of a BYOD Program

Editorial Note: We have yet another guest post this weekend. We’re open to article submissions like this one from Reese Jones. If you have an idea for an article that you’d like to share with other parents and teachers reading iMagine Machine, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Our society is rapidly adapting to the digital age. Everyone is connected—via a desktop PC, laptop, or smart device. According to statistics, around 80% of our population own mobile phones. With these numbers, educators saw the potential of mobile technology and thus, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program was born. However, with the high cost of technology, the BYOD program is still faced with a lot of challenges. Issues like Internet safety and security, network compatibility, and even affordability can affect the program’s success. Since education is geared towards a digital future, is a BYOD program for everyone? Is it just a trend or a necessity?

 

girl

                                           Some rights reserved by flickingerbrad

 

Accessibility and Equity

One of the biggest challenges faced by the BYOD program is affordability. In some rural districts, not all families can afford a computer and a broadband connection. Also, some schools have a very limited budget and manpower when it comes to technological upgrades. Despite this challenge, the education system must move forward with the times—this means going digital. In an article published on O2 (http://www.o2.co.uk), today’s youth, 25% of students in the UK alone believe that technology can help them prepare for the future. Children must learn how to use it before they can learn with it. By forging educational partnerships with companies and foundations, school can now extend financial support to students who are unable to purchase their own smart device.

 

Internet Security and Safety

In a recent study, most IT managers are still apprehensive when it comes to adopting BYOD. One of the most common reasons is because the scheme can’t support security, encryption, and remote wiping. Other reasons include: malware infection, unsecured connections, and unlicensed software. To control a school’s network, anti-virus programs and Internet firewalls must be installed to protect both student and equipment. Web protection and Internet filtering software can also be installed to prevent students from accessing prohibited websites while in school.

girl2

All rights reserved by empirical_perception

 

Distractions and the “Mine’s Better” Syndrome

Kids will be kids and they will play games, text friends, or watch videos on their smart devices. In a generation where entertainment is just a click away, there will always be distractions. Also, not all devices are created equal—some may have better devices than the others. This can be a nightmare and a source of conflict between students. Since these can be potential problems when implementing the BYOD scheme, teachers can turn these challenges around to their advantage. Games, videos, and social media sites can be used to engage them to learn. By encouraging students to share their devices with each other, it will foster camaraderie amongst themselves. Cyber ethics and etiquette need to be taught to these kids and turn them into better cyber citizens.

Learning is about engaging the student and teacher to learn from each other. Tablet PCs, laptops, and smartphones are our future’s new methods of instruction. Changing the methods of teaching encourages the students to learn more and express their ideas. On the other hand, teachers become learning managers and students become proactive in the classroom. BYOD will be the future of education and it needs to be taken seriously. These challenges can be resolved if we change our attitude toward technology and embrace it totally.

 

Note: This has been a guest post by Reese Jones, a freelance writer based in London. She loves to try educational and gaming apps such that she can share and enjoy them with her many nephews and nieces. When not busy playing with the little ones, Reese can also be found writing about the latest gadgets and tech news. She also regularly contributes to TechieDoodlers. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Posted in Education | Leave a comment