Software Evaluation

Sarah Cirella shares a screencast that she recently created reviewing software games for children. There are different characters to help, objects to click, missing words to find and a series of challenges. They discussed who the game might be appropriate for – what would be important at different ages

this game requires children to be able to use a mouse or track pad and to be able to understand the story and the concept of how the game is actually played. The only thing is if the child playing is between the ages of 6-8 we would recommend that an adult play with them, as some parts can be difficult (I played with my 6-year-old niece and she needed help, despite her stating otherwise).

She mentions the things they enjoyed, the good and not so good aspects including use of language

In full

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The Anatomy Of A Puzzle-Based Learning Tool

Jared Cosulich blogs about a fractions puzzle game he is exploring. He unravels each area with a series of screenshots and explanations, including the simulator, option set, goal, feedback loops, explicit content, appropriate challenges,  editing / selecting levels and an escape valve:

The Escape Valve
The Escape Valve is simply a mechanism that makes it possible for a student to declare that a challenge is too hard and get additional help with it. This project will build out libraries that will make it easy to include a hint system that gives students one piece of the puzzle, allowing them to work their way closer to a solution. This technique only works if there are enough puzzles of similar difficulty so that a student can get hints on one and still be able to assess their proficiency by taking on another level of similar difficulty.

In full

More kindergartens using technology to encourage learning through play

Samantha Lee writes about a project in Singapore where children are becoming movie directors

The kids write their very own movie script for their stop-motion animation video. With a S$4,000 Innovation Grant from the Ministry of Education Singapore they bought a laptop, digital camera, projector and a screen for this project. The kids then use Lego blocks and other recycled materials as props and photographed the scenes, eventually stringing the photos together to moving illusion (like how we flipped the end of our books to create movement). Through this project, the children learn the basics of animation and understand that Television is really about moving images. They also get to be introduced to technology early in life and be comfortable with technology in future – a basic expectation we have for the generation of tomorrow.

The children use a mix of lego and other recycled materials to create the scenes.

In full, Photos on Asia one

Addressing the Alliance for Childhood at the European Parliament

Lisa Jordan, Executive Director at the Bernard van Leer Foundation has posted her speech on her blog, describing the potential of digital games and apps with children under eight years old partly due to the ability to scale the learning opportunities.

In the Netherlands and elsewhere children do not enter a structured learning or play environment before the age of 4. And when they do, play is relegated to recess

More screen time is clocked by children of low social and economic status than of those in middle or higher social classes. Video games are played by more than 90% of school age children. What we want is to make learning fun through quality game design. Fortunately there are many game designers out there who want the same.  This is not to disguise learning within video games but to infuse learning throughout video game design.

In full

A turning point for education? Trends to watch in 2012

WW Education Insights questions whether 2012 will be a turning point for education. Whilst the blog is a Microsoft one which features Microsoft related initiatives, they note a number of trends including data driven learning, a fresh look at methodologies, the impact of devices, digital curriculum and others

While many schools will use the opportunity to save money on traditional textbooks to fund devices, schools have to think about this holistically and not just buy a device to replace a textbook. Digitizing textbooks in and of itself is not transformative, but by focusing on the entire learning continuum and how digital curriculum and content created by students and teachers can be connected to back-end systems that can link the student outcomes to assessments, personalized learning and increased student achievement…now that’s transformative change

In full

 

Interview with Koreen Olbrish on New Approaches to Learning

by  Janet Clarey

Koreen Olbrish, who founded Tandem Learning, talks about new approaches to learning including alternate reality games (ARGs) and virtual worlds. Koreen also gives three examples from recent projects she completed.. This video was shown at the Bersin & Associates IMPACT 2011 conference.

Janet Clarey is a senior analyst for Bersin & Associates, and conducts research for their learning practice.