Lynette Barr, a grade 6 teacher at Pentland Primary School in Bacchus Marsh, embeds games into every part of the curriculum, devoting 20% of class time to games-based learning. Since her students’ writing was not very descriptive, she turned to Super Scribblenauts on Nintendo DS. Some students work with online maths-based puzzles, others chart bowling scores in Wii Sports for a maths activity.
Lately, the class has started exploring maths by running, jumping and throwing in Olympic sports on Xbox Connect. The teacher wrote a program “using Connect sports linking with Olympic sports, that works with the maths and the numbers from the children’s results . . . They have become really good at picking out the learning that’s occurring when they play games like this and link it to what we are focusing on”.
The reporter writes that what happens in that classroom is “symbolic of the way technology is changing the school experience”. I would say that this is symbolic of how the “school experience” (*)can be changed by a bit of money (DS, XBox etc… are far from being surely available to all children) and, above all, by the presence of a competent and motivated teacher. There are thousands of classes worldwide where all students have those gadgets, but nothing changes simply because the teacher is still stuck to paper, chalk and blackboard. What do you think?
(*) “school experience” sounds to me a bit too much like “user experience”, as in “giving fancy names to how you’d use our product, so you’ll feel good buying it”. But hey, that’s what the source calls it.