Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gamification in the Classroom

Gamification has been on my mind lately.  One of my goals for this school year is to include more gamified learning in my classroom.

Maybe you saw Jane McGonigal's inspiring Keynote at ISTE?  I think the potential for games in education is limitless!

Today I watched Alice Keeler's fantastic video on Gamification (see below).  She explains the difference between games and gamification.  I love that there were immediate takeaways: in my math lesson on estimating differences today, I created many more interesting "epic" story problems to correlate with the math.  My students loved it- we had a great lesson today in part due to this video!

Sidenote: I came across this video through the Innovative Learning Technologies Special Interest Group (SIG) from ISTE.  Check out a list of all the SIGs here.  Excellent resource!

I also came across the website Educade, which is devoted to gamification in the classroom.  I love that it includes lesson plans with gaming ideas!  This would be a great resource to gather your lesson "hooks".  I also would like to incorporate Minecraft and MakeyMakey into the curriculum this year, so this site offers guidance from educators who have completed projects.

Class Dojo

In the past, I have used Edmodo. My students gave it the moniker "Kid Facebook", and they seemed to enjoy it.  I liked the badges.
This year I think I will rely more heavily on Class Dojo.  I like the avatars, and I plan to use this abundantly for positive behavior rewards.  I also like that you can automatically email parent reports!  I would also like to utilize this resource to track skills- not just behavior.  I like the idea of leveling up and competing against themselves.

How are you using gamification in the classroom?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Google Tools for Educators

As a google certified teacher, I present frequently on Google Tools for Educators.  Check out my presentation from Lipscomb University's Ignite Session and learn new simple tricks that will make your life much easier!

Click here for the handouts that go with this presentation.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Creating a Webquest

Have you used Trackstar to create a webquest for your class?  You can also search for webquests that other educators have already created!
It's simple to insert a few websites.  I like that the students explore ALL the sites in one window.  It doesn't open multiple browsers or tabs.
We have some time at computer lab, so I want my students to explore plants.  You could also use this during center time.  
If you want to use my webquest on plants you can check it out here.
I also have a webquest on Johnny Appleseed if you would like to use it.