Archive for March, 2010

PD thoughts

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Throughout the PD meetings I attend I am coming to find that not a lot of teachers have a PLN or are not very into the PD event being attended. Because of this I have ventured out of my district, state (yep good bye NC) and country (hello Canada). I believe it is important to expand outside of all borders and share educational philosophies, resources, tips and advancements in content delivery. There is a real business model here in the US and a lot of the rhetoric infiltrates the conversations especially data driven gains in student growth and the money or the actual survival of the school is at stake. Because of this focus nearly all PD meetings are about reading data discussing data and writing goals to better student achievement. At least that was my experience for the past 5 years.
Don’t worry though there is a ray of hope in here… I was able to choose to take a PD seminar and got to attend a Blackboard site development workshop. It consisted of short how to lessons followed by 10 to 15 min of work time to fine tune what you had just learned. We attended 5 sessions like this and then our final session was a 3 hour free for all on the site where we could create and post and organize the content. Even amongst the varying skill levels a lot of great content was generated. Now because of the session I have a direct online link to students as they have access to all my assignments and notes. The 3 hour block at the end was the key to its success. During this time I had learned enough to really get in to the program. Great use of time and as a class we are now connected to other social media sites and collaborating outside of the classroom environment. Really beneficial!

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Value in Gaming

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The day my infantry soldiers and I landed on the beaches of Normandy is a day I shall never forget. My hands were shaking and my ears ringing with the sounds of angered pain. I nearly drowned as I climbed over the side of our death trap beach lander and plummeted into the murky crimson waters of taken land. The weight of my gun and field pack held me solid on the shifting floor beneath me and I fought with every shifting bend of my frame to release the hold the weight had on me. I do remember it was quiet under the surface, much quieter than the howling of war that raged above. With the last gasp of air in my lungs I pulled myself onto the beach and found whatever I could to hastily construct protection from those who brandished ill will.

The story above is an excerpt of my time as a OS officer during my tour while playing Medal of Honor Rising Sun. It is a retelling of my experience playing the game. I know it is just a game however, much like reading a good book its message had an impact on my actual life experience.  I would never have been able to have had the experience of the beach landing just watching it via propaganda videos. While playing the game the controller shook and vibrated while the digital surround sound added to the auditory experience captivating my senses. I even felt connected to my fellow virtual soldiers and made sure to keep them safe.

As my years of life have progressed I no longer seem to have time to save the world but I will never forget the time I spent trying. Gaming has value for me in every sense of the meaning and authenticity to actual events both positive and negative is required for true impact within the experience. There are definite concerns as to age appropriateness of games but this can be alleviated by matching games to curriculum standards. If a high school student can watch Schindler List they should also have the opportunity to play a WWII first person game.