Hi Gamestar Mechanic NYC Educators!
Our friends at BrainPOP are involved in a cool research study funded by Gates on how teachers are using digital games for formative assessment. Part of the research involves creating some case studies, and they’re looking for local NYC-area teachers to participate.
Here’s the criteria to participate:
- Teach grades 5-8 in NYC or the immediate area around NYC.
- Teach in the content areas of social studies/history, ELA, math or science.
- Able to use a selected game from BrainPOP’s GameUp as part of your regular curriculum in Winter/Spring 2014.
- Be willing to participate in a PD session related to GameUp in late January, 2014.
- Allow researchers to visit your classroom to observe use of the game, and participate in a debriefing interview about your experience with the game.
All teachers who participate in the case studies will receive:
- Premium access to the BrainPOP web site.
- A $250 expense allowance for your participation in the professional development.
If you are interested, you can read more here: http://create.nyu.edu/agames and then you should complete this application: http://create.nyu.edu/application
It’s a pretty cool opportunity!
I’d like to take a minute to share with you this case study on Gamestar Mechanic written by Peter Hall on Design Minds. Peter has been tracking the use of Gamestar in classrooms around Brisbane, Australia.
The case study does a great job of explaining what Gamestar is and how it can further systems thinking for students. There are two parts of this case study which are particularly poignant:
While Gamestar gives students many means to reflect and think critically about their work, getting students to partake in meaningful reflection is challenging “amid the seductive glow of the computer screen, truncated lesson times and distracted students.” Hall goes on to describe a shift in environment that can be a solution to this challenge: using physical games away from the smart classroom. Like Hall, I’ve observed successful courses in which students explore games through sports, board games, and word games as a counterpart to their digital game design work. Hall compares two groups of students, one who used Gamestar only, and one who mixed Gamestar with physical game activities, finding that the mixed physical and digital class had better opportunity for decision-making and discussion.
Another key point in this case study is about students excelling while using Gamestar when they otherwise are not engaged in school.
“Several teachers provide evidence of otherwise disenfranchised students suddenly becoming quite obsessive and productive when confronted with Gamestar Mechanic, empowered with their knowledge and skill to assist fellow classmates in conquering levels, collecting sprites or building games.”
I’ve also observed students who have trouble focusing, writing, or collaborating become engaged while working on game design activities, a testament that when kids are naturally passionate about a subject, they are more inclined to engage with it in an academic setting.
Thank you, Design Minds, for publishing such an interesting study on Gamestar Mechanic!