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Tag: games

0

It's all about Apps: One That's Free Today!!

Since I am being asked to recommend apps for schools and districts, I thought it would be a good idea to put together some reviews of interesting apps. I also am finding that some apps are free for a short time. Here’s a fun app: Dr. Seuss Band that is free just for one day: Today at Oceanhouse Media

Dr. Seuss Band

Oceanhouse Media

Anyone any age will love this. You can build your own wacky Dr. Seuss-like instrument and then play it by pressing the appropriate buttons. This is the Dr. Seuss equivalent of the Rock Band/Guitar Hero games combining hand-eye coordination with musical fun and it works very well, although it might be tough for younger kids.

There are in-app purchases with Dr. Seuss songs. Get this app today and then see if you want to purchase anymore apps. I’m thinking that they can all be unlocked just by completing certain accomplishments in the app.

From iTunes:

Experience the excitement as Dr. Seuss Band transforms your device into a vibrant, energetic musical instrument that all ages will enjoy! Jam along with playful Seussian melodies or create your own whimsical masterpiece. As you play, you’ll unlock new instruments, silly effects and catchy songs. Contains over 120 combinations of sounds, so you’ll always have something new to discover!

 

Features:

  • 2 Ways to Play – Go for high scores in the Music Game or use Free Play to compose your own tunes.
  • 10 Original Songs – Play along with the soundtrack from The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss’s ABCs, Hop on Pop and more!
  • 5 Unique Horn Instruments – Play Seussian versions of the Trumpet, French Horn, Clarinet, Trombone and Flute.
  • 10 Crazy Horn Effects – Customize the sound of your horn by adding fun effects like a Fish Bowl, Train Whistle, Reverb and more!
  • Mix and Match Horns – Swap parts of the horn while playing to create over 120 Horn Combinations!
  • 3 Difficulty Levels – Choose Easy for beginners, Medium for experienced players and Hard for experts.
  • 26 Unlockables – Achieve high scores to unlock Songs, Horns and Effects.
  • Gamecenter Leaderboards – Compare your high scores with the competition.

 

Additional features:

  • Beautiful 3D artwork inspired by Dr. Seuss
  • Whimsical music and sound effects
  • Suitable for all ages

 

Some of the criteria I use for reviewing apps:

  • age levels
  • age appropriateness
  • skill and reading levels
  • skills attained
  • independent learning
  • content or standards met

 

My Dr. Seuss Band review:

  • children of all ages who love Dr. Seuss
  • visually intuitive
  • increases music abilities
  • encourages independent learning and collaborative play
  • meets NETS for students on creativity, collaboration, and independent exploration

 

I encourage you to try this and download it today. If you get it for free, you own it forever. How cool is that? Get it here: Oceanhouse Media

1

How Games Prepare Learners to be Leaders

The digital native has been part of the gaming world most of their lives. Can games help prepare them for their future?

From “The Gamer Disposition” by John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas, I realized that there are multiple characteristics that can also prepare gamers to be leaders in the business and education worlds. The multiplayer online games expect users to be quick, be able to adapt and evolve as games change, and know the rules, tips, and even make the rules as they progress through this new type of social system.

Brown and Thomas share five key attributes as character traits that players bring into their games:

  1. They are bottom-line oriented. Games have embedded assessments where gamers compare with one another where they rank, their title and points, and they share with each other how they can improve their ranking.
  2. They understand the power of diversity. Teamwork is the only way a gamer can work in this social system. They need to talk to each other and determine what strengths each member has on their team so they can improve their score.
  3. They thrive on change. Games are evolving during the game. Gamers have to think on their feet while they make quick decisions and actually have to be in charge of managing change.
  4. They see learning as fun. The fun they experience is learning how to overcome obstacles, seeking out problems and then letting other gamers know the strategies they used to solve the problems.
  5. They marinate on the “edge.” Gamers look for alternative strategies and innovative solutions for a better way to solve problems. They are making it up as it happens so they cannot only understand the game, they can reinvent the game.

Consider in the World of Warcraft, a Guild Master has all the fundamentals of a leader. They create a vision with a set of values that attract others; find and recruit players that fit with their vision; they form apprenticeships for new players; they coordinate and manage how the group is governed; and mediates any disputes.

In ongoing conversations about gamers, the question that keeps rising to the top is “are gamers born or made?” Thomas and Brown reframe that question in the context of the challenges emerging for the 21st century workplace. It really doesn’t matter what skills you have to play a particular game; it is how talented you are in attracting the right people to work with you on your quest.

If we take this a step beyond to education and what classrooms look like today, gamers or those with gamer characteristics are lost and their talents are not tapped. This is the same with teachers who think out of the box, who develop an open environment where there are no right or wrong answers and allow creation of questions that encourage more questions. This is happening in pockets within public and private schools with creative and innovative teachers and administrators who are willing to take some risks that demonstrates that this type of learning environment engages students in the learning process and motivates them to want to learn more.

How do we tap teachers’ and students’ talents?

This post is not about using games in the classroom. It is how to identify the characteristics of gamers and transfer those disciplines to the classroom. A teacher can be more like the Guild Master who runs a democratic environment where there is shared leadership and ownership in what is to be learned. Consider that certain games’ characteristics include non-monetary performance incentives, data transparency, temporary leadership roles that give people the chance to practice their leadership skills – make it easier to be an effective leader. [Hemp, 2008]

One implication for real-world organizations and schools: There may be large and untapped reservoirs of leadership talent that you don’t know you have right in your classroom, school, school community, and the global classroom.

So should we think about these characteristics for future teachers and administrators? Will ongoing assessment strategies look like these games so students rank themselves, compare their results with other students, and work collaboratively to help improve the results?

Maybe the same can be true for collaborative professional development. K-12 and Higher Ed is also in a state of flux. Things are going to change. Why? Because of the economy, job loss, changing demographics, and a huge need for thousands of high quality teachers in the next few years. High quality teachers does not mean teaching to the test. Teacher education institutions can be the playground where the faculty and students do the research and development to design these new learning environments. Let’s rethink what is a school. How about a P/K-20 learning work and play center? Maybe consider the school as the learning center for the community open all hours of the day where all stakeholders are involved in the design and implementation of the curriculum.

Resources

Brown, J., and Thomas, D. The Gamer Disposition. Harvard Business Review. Feb. 14, 2008. Online. Available. March 9, 2008.

Hemp, P. Does your Leadership Strategy include the World of Warcraft? Harvard Business Review. Feb.19, 2008. Online. Available. March 10, 2008.

This post was first posted on Rethinking Learning March, 2008 and even more relevant today.

1

Unplugged and What Happened?

I went away last weekend with some women friends and there was no Internet or cell reception. I handled it but didn’t think I could. I actually enjoyed not being connected and played games. I played scrabble face-to-face and not on Facebook. I learned a new game called Quiddler. Then sprinkled in Upwords. We played as soon as we got up and all the way until the wee hours of the night. A marathon of games. While I was gone, I received over a thousand email messages, was added to 35 Google+ circles, was mentioned and linked in several blog posts, missed 3265 tweets, and not sure what else.

So this morning I just saw this Inforgraphic by Kelly Hodgkins on “what happens in 60 seconds on The Internet.”

inforgraphic

— Shut down your Internet for sixty seconds and here’s a sampling of what you will miss:

  • 1500+ blog posts
  • 98,000 new tweets
  • 12,000 new ads on Craigslist
  • 20,000 new posts on Tumblr
  • 600 new videos (25+ hours worth) on YouTube

I bet most of this is spam. I received a lot of spam. I think we are so connected that we almost go through the shakes if we realize we are not connected. A few weeks ago, I answered a poll about which technology can you not live without — Internet, cell phone, TV, Laptop. I chose cell phone. Then when I didn’t have cell reception, I didn’t know what to do. I was thinking “who is writing me? what if I miss something? Did I get a text?”

Barbara Riding the Tricycle

 

After a few hours of playing games, going for a walk, eating a nice dinner, I just enjoyed myself. While we were out at dinner, two of us pulled our phones out to see if we had any bars. We did and quickly checked our email. Does this sound like an addiction? I do have to say I was more relaxed than I had been in a long time. We slept in the next day all the way until 9am. Maybe I need to rethink my life and get a balance so I unplug more. I’m a digital pioneer who’s been plugged in for a long time. I wonder how the digital natives will do without texting. How long would they be able to go? I did use my phone to take pictures.

Thank you Marilyn for taking me away to Aptos and letting me just be. I even rode her tricycle.