I have been lucky enough to have developed the use of the Nintendo Wii and DS consoles in our school. We have used the Wiis in our year group in a number of different ways across the curriculum. However the use of Endless Ocean as an integral part of our Sealife curriculum unit has really helped me better understand the role consoles can play in the classroom.
As you may have read in my call for Consoles for Classrooms, I believe that the console should have a well deserved place in the primary classroom as a media platform. But it is as much about seeing potential beyond the games. As soon as you get beyond the “console games engage kids” you start to explore ways to take the game out of the console. Make the most of the potential it has in the wider curriculum, in the unit or topic and in your classroom.
Endless Ocean was central to what we were doing, it wasn’t a bolt on or extra, we had planned for it to be a driving force. But I think what made it so successful and the unit to be so “joined-up” was the thought we gave to what we would do in addition to the game. You can see from the images of sealife work and our loooong display board that we fully embraced the opportunities Endless Ocean and Sealife offered.
The right sort of game will engage the children in your class – in my opinion you have to take that as a given. It is what you do with that engaged group of children that counts. Here are some take-aways:
- Games can be used in isolation – they can be just as effective in single lessons.
- Don’t dwell on just the game – think beyond it, how can you leverage that enthusiasm.
- Make time for your own play. Set up a different save profile, that way you can stay one step ahead.
- Plan ahead, but also decide not to plan! Discovery in gaming is an important part of the experience – sharing the unexpected with your class is amazing.
- Mimic the immersive nature of the gaming environment in your classroom.
- Build displays that develop with time as the unit/game progresses.
- Allow the children to play independently as well as in small groups.
I suppose the clearest message from my experiences I can give is to leverage the children’s enthusiasm in other learning opportunities and as the blog title suggests take the game out of the console.