Books to Read:
Here are the authors/books I’ve read recently that influence me (these links take you to Amazon and no, I don’t get a kickback):
What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy - by James Gee – this is foundational, academic work, but an easy read.
Don’t Bother Me Mom — I’m Learning by Marc Prensky – this is the book I’d give to parents, administrators, and fellow educators as a starting point.
Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World - by Jane McGonigal – explores taking the passion that gamers bring and applying it to solve real-world problems.
Got Game: How the Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever - by John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade – in-depth discussion of how gamers will change corporate America.
Fun, Inc.: Why Gaming Will Dominate the 21st-Century - by Tom Chatfield – explores the components that make video games compelling as models for business and education.
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future by Daniel Pink – this book really hits at the heart of what needs to change in our education system.
Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning - by Marc Prensky – in this book, Marc shares tips and strategies for using a partnering model for classroom instruction that capitalizes on students’ passions.
Tribes by Seth Godin – a very interesting (and short) read about how the connectedness of the ‘Net has allowed people with similar interested to form community. I’ve seen so much of this in the gaming community. Your students are part of these “Tribes.”
Everything Bad Is Good for You by Steven Johnson – a very interesting look at how media consumption has likely altered how we think and work. Maybe playing video games and watching LOST isn’t so bad after all.
Sites to Visit:
Sources to Explore:
Videos to Watch:
Jane McGonigal – Video Games Can Make A Better World
Stuart Brown – Why Play Is Valuable, No Matter Your Age
Tom Chatfield – 7 Ways Video Games Engage the Brain
No Future Left Behind
WoWinSchool – Student Perspectives
Games to Play and Build
Guild Wars 2Fantastic alternative to World of Warcraft that has no monthly subscription fee and emphasizes personal story and collaborative teamwork across servers. The emphasis on guilds and their role in the world makes it ideal.
World of Warcraft - the world’s most popular, fantasy-based, online roleplay game. Now nearing it’s seventh year of production, this game still boasts over 10 million subscribers. It’s rich in challenges, story-driven adventure, and opportunities for developing leadership, teamwork, and digital citizenship.
Minecraft - an amazing, independently-developed game out of Sweden. Imagine a virtual world made of individual building blocks (LEGOs) that multiple students can explore and create in together. Costs about $20. UPDATE - MinecraftEDU offers bulk licenses at a discount to educators!
Lord of the Rings Online - free-to-play (basic) – online roleplay game set in Tolkien’s fantasy world.
Teach With Portals – Valve Software’s initiative to offer Portals 2 (and future resources?) to schools for use in the classroom. The site also serves as a hub for teachers to share resources related to the game.
Dimension-U - The first “educational” game that I’ve seen that actually begins to bridge that gap between “educational” and “real” games.
Have students build and develop their own games:
Scratch andSqueak - visual programming environments – great for all ages. Gamestar Mechanic - awesome game design system that allows kids to build and share their own Flash-based games. Kodu - a simplified version of Microsoft’s XNA programming environment used to make XBox and Windows Mobile.
Funding Ideas For Schools
Kickstarter.org - a crowdsourced funding site where individuals contribute to a project they’d like to see happen.
Donorschoose.org - a crowdsourced funding site designed to connect donors to classroom teachers.
TheLudusProject.org - part of the Breneman Jaech Foundation. It’s goal is “to support advancements in the research and application of games-based education and digital literacy.”
Game Reviews for Educators and Parents: