Games as Learning Tools

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Regarding games, there is a lot of them in different platforms. Mainly, I can give examples from both iOS (most of them exist on Android as well) and PS3 games.

There is a simple game named as “Labyrinth 1/2” on most mobile platforms. Thanks to the game, one can move a steel ball through a labyrinth avoiding pitfalls. The game is really good on sensors and sensitive so that one must be careful not to move a lot and coordinate the ball. In its second version, it is much more puzzle-like and the gamers should try to solve them in addition to the coordination of movements. The game can played through various platforms and can be checked via the following link: http://www.labyrinth2.com/. Moreover, Labyrinth 2 gives a person options like challenging friedns and even him/herself. Also, the gamers can create their own labyrinths and upload them in addition to downloading from others.

“Cut the rope” is another game for the gamers to solve puzzles and move a ball so skillfully that it drops into the mouth of a frog at the end. To do this, the ball should be directed well without falling into the ground, but not frog’s mouth. This game is existent on both platforms and it has tens of levels to challenge the gamers.

One more game on mobile platforms is one of the popular games of Zynga and this game is draw something/ draw/ draw 2. It gives its gamers to create cool effects with dozens of new tools, patterns, stamps and colors – allowing them to transform even the simplest drawings into masterpieces. The purpose of the game is to help other players to guess what you have driven or vice versa, so it also enhances mutual learning in terms of especially drawing skills, colors and items etc. The description and more infromation about the game can be accessed through the link: http://zynga.com/game/draw-something-two

In addition to the games on mobile platforms, there are also games with rich content on platforms like PS3 or Xbox. Regarding PS3, it is possible to say that there are tens of games which could be really educational and entertaining at the same time.

First of all, a game named “Little big planet 1/2” is a very comprehensive game in which you have endless opportunities. First, the gamers can choose a toy or mascot (called sackboy) with which they can progress through a variety of levels which are ordered around a globe. In this game, you can dress your toy in the way you like and you can do many things there. There is always feedback given to you by an old wise person or by colorful texts. Like a real person, you need to walk your toy and achieve a variety of levels to get the most points. The movements of the toy is actually very real-like and you need to learn a lot about gravity, jumping, running, holding ropes etc. For more information, you can go to the link: http://www.littlebigplanet.com/games/littlebigplanet-2

One more game which is created for fun and entertainment for the whole family could be really educational with kids/children. The game titled “start the party” by Sony runs with the help of PS move, which makes it really ground-breaking. You can select different types of games like baloon shooting, haircutting, painting and flying etc. The gamers play all the games through PS move with which they move their hands and body instead of hitting buttons with joysticks. Especially the painting game is really cool since one ends up with really good images of different things although what they paint is images or shapes like triangles, lines, or squares. What makes the game even more education and entertaing is you can watch yoursefl with your PS move on the screen thanks to PS eye webcam. Moreover, you can play the game alone or you can challenge your friends by playing together with themor online. Here is the link for more information: http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/09/03/start-the-party-review

All in all, as Prensky has also emphasized a lot in his various articles and talks, games especially meaningful and well-designed ones give people endless options for entertainment and a great opportunity for education. The games mentioned above can actually appeal to almost all the principles listed by Gee such as:

Discovery principle
Multimodal principle
Situated meaning principle
Probing principle
Practice principle
Identiy principle
Active, critical learning principle
Comitted learning principle
and Psychosocial moratorium principle

Thank you for reading!

An amazing poll app: “Socrative”!

A lot of people make use of state-of-the-art apps to enhance their teaching and classroom management. iOS is, as known and appreciated by most people, has so many apps that smoothly run and make educators’ job easier. One app that could be highly appreciated by so many educators and that is available on all platforms in addition to its web version is certainly “Socrative”. I am sure that a lot of people use apps for polling and they can really make your life easy in class.

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Some examples of how you can use them in class:

1. Simply, you want to choose a class representative or assign someone a task, and you would like it to be fun and to use technology for it. If you do not want to use technology, you can write the names on board and want everybody vote openly or in a closed way. However, using Socrative or similar polling apps, you simply ask your students go to socrative.com and tell them your room number or name. Then, as a teacher at that moment you enter the names quickly on Socrative through its web version or using Socrative Teacher app. Then, while Ss are voting, you reflect it on the board with a projector, then it is magically beautiful to watch a bar chart showing the number of votes for each candidate.

2. Another example is that you are at the beginning or the end of the lesson, you want to ask students’ opinions about the class as a warm-up or wrap-up. Simply open Socrative Teacher app, tell your students go to Socrative and your room. Then you start an exit-test for a pulse-check and then watch it happening.

3. There is no limit for your creativity, but you can also prepare any kind of test in advance using Socrative quiz templates and then do it in a space race format where you can watch groups race against each other by answering the questions.

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All in all, polling apps and tools are really effective and convenient instruments for educators and Socrative is a good model among them. Go to socrative.com or download the apps and see what you can do with that.