Friday, February 25, 2011

InterroBang: Example of Game-Based Learning

I was on Facebook this morning poking my sister back and noticed an ad on the side for the game InterroBang. So, I decided to check it out. InterroBang is a game in which students complete real-world missions to win prizes, learn problem solving and connect with others to change the world. Gameplay is open to students in grades 6-12. In order to be eligible for prizes, students must register through their teachers or parents.

Missions are the central way that InterroBang is played. The missions are divided into four categories, or areas of inquiry:

   1. Culture
   2. Creativity
   3. Exploration
   4. Science

Each mission has a point value ranging from 10 points for an easy mission to 40 points for a difficult one. Students can complete missions by themselves or in groups. Every individual in a group receives the points from completing a mission. Students can add collaborators on the Play page from their class and even from their friends.

Student compete to win prizes including Xboxes and Flip cameras. To make InterroBang as fair as possible, the players are divided into 3 leagues: middle school, high school, and high school honors students. Students only compete against players in their League. Before prizes are awarded, the InterroBang team will contact teachers and schools to verify student status.

InterroBang was created and designed by Nuvana, with Founding Partner Microsoft Partners in Learning, with support from Exploratorium, Learn and Serve America, and ePals.

Interrobang Intro from Nuvana on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blackboard Offers Free Hosted Online Course System

Fully Hosted Online Course System for Instructors

By Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. announced the launch of CourseSites by Blackboard, a free, fully hosted and supported online course system featuring the Company’s latest teaching and learning technologies. The offering gives individual K-12 and higher education instructors an innovative, high quality cloud-based option to host online courses or add a Web-based component to traditional ones. The simple, easy to use system gives educators greater choice and flexibility for online courses in a system with cutting edge features that encourage experimentation. CourseSites is designed to support instructors who may not have access to a learning management system at their institution or school, or who may have access to an older platform system from Blackboard or a competing course management provider. There is no license fee, no hosting fee and no additional setup required for instructors to get started.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Integrating Technology in the Elementary Classroom

An assignment in my Educational Technology course has students search YouTube to find a video that demonstrates or highlights how technology can be used in the classroom. They are to embed the video in their blog as I have done here. Once they have embedded the video, they are to explain why they chose it and summarize what they learned from it that they could use in developing their unit plan. They should also discuss possible obstacles they might face using YouTube in their classroom.

The following video demonstrates how one third grade teacher integrates technology in her classroom using learning centers. A learning center is a self-contained section of the classroom in which students engage in independent and self-directed learning activities. They can also be used for small-group activities. Learning centers allow students to focus on a particular area of study. Centers area great way to integrate technology as well as parent volunteers.

TeacherVision provides additional information on learning and literacy centers.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why teachers should embrace Wikipedia

Teachers should stop banning students from using Wikipedia for class work and instead use the site as a tool to teach students how to effectively use Internet resources, according to education-technology blogger Christopher Dawson. Dawson argues that students -- and adults -- already are using Wikipedia, so teachers should show students how to verify what they learn there. Dawson also writes that Wikipedia can be used as a source for class assignments, just as traditional encyclopedias. ZDNet/ZDNet Education blog