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TED Talk Tuesday: Games and Fun

In today’s TED Talk Tuesday, Jane McGonigal offers the premise that games (video games) can change the world in meaningful and positive ways. She builds her case convincingly.  I am currently reading Daniel Pink’s book Drive.  There are some similar ties between the two ideas.  Blissful productivity, we are more productive when we do things that we have to work at, and think about. When we have some direction and there is meaning behind it. The principles learned through gaming can be used to solve real world problems. I can’t help but wonder what implications this line of thought has for education. How can we change the daily school “game” so that students don’t just sit on the sidelines, but experience “epic wins”.  We all want to know that what we do matters and matters deeply.  Games give us this feeling that what we are doing is having an important effect. Learning should be an act of play.  It seems to me that if we can tell a difference between learning and play we aren’t doing one of the right.  Consider babies in any species, how do they learn to do life?  Through play. I’m not sure that I can envision what this looks like in the practical sense in the school setting. But I think that McGonigal has something here. What do you think, what could games and fun do for education?  How can we use from what we know about games to change education and, in doing so, change the world?

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NASA @ Home and City space is everywhere you look

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 27-04-2011

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What it is: NASA has such cool exploratory websites for kids. NASA @ Home and City is no exception.  On this site, students get to explore 3D environments where they discover common household and city items that have roots in space exploration.  Students can click on various objects in the house or city to learn more about how space travel impacted the items creation or use.  Each item has a brief description and a short video included.  If students are particularly interested in an item, they can click to learn more about it on NASA’s Spinoff database site.  Students can take part in a Spinoff challenge where they explore technologies and answer questions; when all have been answered, students will unlock special downloads.

How to integrate NASA @ Home and City into the classroom: NASA @ Home and City is a great place for students to learn more about space as well as how the science and discoveries made in space impact their daily lives.  I love the way this site encourages students to discover and uncover learning.   NASA @ Home and City would be a great website for students to visit in partners or small groups on classroom computers.  Each student can take a turn exploring for the group and acting as guide.

If you don’t have access to classroom computers, explore the site as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  There is enough content for each student to have a turn directing the exploration.  The  3D feel of the house and city would be fun on the big screen!

I like that this site is appropriate for a wide range of age and developmental levels.  Young students will enjoy exploring and viewing the videos for information, while older students can really dig deeper with the Spinoff challenge and additional information links.

Tips: Make sure to rotate around the home and city, there is more to explore!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  NASA @ Home and City in your classroom!


Comments (3)

Thank you for locating such great resources. I really appreciate your suggestions for how one might use them in the classroom.
I plan to direct small groups of students to this site, have them do some guided exploration and reading, then complete response tasks. Response tasks will be matched to the abilities of the groups.

Kelly, here is the NASA’syoutube video that goes along with the NASA @ Home and City site: http://youtu.be/S2QyMybXioc.

This video explains in a little more detail many of the space technologies from the @ Home and City website. I use the parts of video as both an introduction to the lesson, and as an extension for those students who want to know more.

Thank you Ryan, outstanding!

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