Monthly Archives: December 2011

Mobile Labs, New Methodology, and Games

I don’t visit my own blog very much anymore.  Seems like I don’t really  have much new to add to the conversation about games in the classroom.  I still love them and think their role will continue to increase.  Just for any loyal followers of my escapades over the past several years I thought I would give an update as to my activities.

My school now has a mobile laptop lab that has found it’s “permanent” home in my classroom.  This has been a great addition.  No signing up weeks in advance for a computer lab, no sharing the computer lab with other classes or individual students needing to finish a last minute project.  Laptops in my room, with my students….

The first use of the mobile lab was to play Making History last Spring with my AP World History students.  We played the game after my students had taken their AP test from the College Board and they needed a change in routine.  As every year I have played this game in the classroom….the kids loved it.  Of course we always go to war very quickly…..thus the war also ends quicker with a devastated Europe.  Not a heck of a lot different than real history except the timeline speeds up considerably.

Secondly, the mobile lab allowed me to teach my sociology class this semester in a very environmentally friendly way.  We were a paperless classroom.  Tests, assignments, PowerPoints, etc… all produced on the laptops and emailed directly to my school email account.  This was a nice first run through of going paperless and I will continue to do this with my second semester class as well.   Also, while teaching sociology, in the midst of classroom discussion of topics including teen driving statistics, alcohol and drug use, and crime and deviance (to name a few) the laptops provide instant ability to find hard statistics from reliable sources to help kids make their anecdotal evidence cold hard facts.  Or sometimes they found their arguments were not supported by statistics.  This new way of working the room was interesting.  Sometimes discussion took interesting turns but all in all it was a very positive experience for all.

And finally, teaching the tech generation is sometimes very interesting.  Simple tasks like attaching a file to an email is not something that all Seniors know how to do.  And to be quite honest the spider web of information in cyberspace is sometimes overwhelming for them.  Separating the wheat from the chaff seems to be easy for most but if your world centers on facebook and twitter then the entirety of the world wide web is intimidating to some.  I found that the tech generation is not always as prepared for the use of technology as one might expect.  New machines, new ways of teaching the same material, and games in my room…..all of it still boils down to students wanting to learn and teachers wanting to teach.  When the two meet in the middle great things can happen.

Have a Merry Christmas!