SIm City Hot Tips

In the session tomorrow I am going to give the students post it notes to use while they are playing to write down any “hot tips” they discover to share with the class! We will then put these up on to the “Hot Tips” charts which I have created and displayed. I have divided them up into 7 categories; Getting started, Safety, Traffic, Education, Land Value, Environment and Health. These are the six categories that the mayor’s approval rating is based on. I am hoping to encourage the student’s to share their strategies and improve everyone’s games in the process. Fingers crossed!!! Tomorrow I will also try and video and interview some of the students while they are working!

simcity wall

Hopefully these charts will be filled with "Hot Tips" after tomorrow!

Sim City… the beginnings…

Well, we are two weeks in to our Sim City serious games project. After a few teething problems we have settled in to a good routine. We have 27 copies of the game and have loaded it on to all of the laptops in the 5/6 area. We are then able to pool the laptops and have a 1:1 program running. All of the grade 5/6 classes have embraced the game. Our first session was somewhat experimental, we allowed students to choose if they wanted to work with a partner or not and then gave them free range on the game. In the first session we allowed students to go “crazy” with the game, getting all the UFO invasions, fires, volcanoes and general total world de-nomination out of their systems. We explained that the first session was just a trial run and we wouldn’t be saving their attempt. I was so impressed with the way the students embraced the challenge; without a lot of intro they took to the game like ducks to water. I let them know that I didn’t have all the answers about how to play the game and we would need to help each other, problem solve and READ the manual!! It was lovely to see the collaboration that took place and to see the children so engaged in the game. I think that the game has a good level of challenge – it is accessible but also quite challenging! Session two began with the hope it would be the real thing! This game would work and they would also be on their way to creating a successful city! Unfortunately most children did go bankrupt but this has been a good talking point! We will be working through these issues in our next session. We have been compiling a list of “class tips” and will spend a bit more time reading through certain sections of the manual. Looking forward to many more sessions on Sim City.

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Creativity Quest

In this blog I will endeavor to document my quest to improve how I use creativity and ICT in the classroom.

I think creativity is one of the most important things we can teach our students; I really like the idea of being a facilitator and not just a teacher who stands up the front and “tells” students exactly what they have to do and how it should be done. This approach requires the teacher to “let go” of the control and also be prepared for a variety of responses and quality. The task may not always generate the response you may have expected and that is where the joy is found! I am constantly surprised and amazing at the stuff children are capable of when we let them. I am also blown away at the joy at which most students approach creative tasks. It can also be met with some apprenhsion, particularly when students have been used to a culture of “right and wrong” and when they are scared of risk taking. I think creating a cultural of creativity is essential for powerful learning to take place.