I would like to introduce to you Marc Faulder who is currently a newly qualified teacher working in Foundation 2 at my school. Last week I challenged Marc to attend TeachMeet Midlands and present about his brilliant work he is doing with the XBox Kinect and the game Kinectimals. He did a great job with his presentation and has followed it up with a guest blog post explaining his ideas. I hope that soon I will be linking back Marc’s own blog where he can continue to share his ideas and classroom work. Over to Marc…
My blog post follows on neatly from the themes discussed by Tom Barrett in his work with Nintendo Wii’s Endless Ocean. I took on the challenge of introducing Games Based Learning to my Reception class, and to myself! I used an X Box Kinect because game play without a controller seemed ideal for Foundation Stage children. After a 2 – 3 week project on animal homes using Kinectimals as a stimulus, I have reflected on the impact that Games Based Learning had on children’s enquiry. My reflection is structured around four themes; organisation, planning, supported play and Kinect sensitivity. I hope that the successes, difficulties and solutions I found help with any Games Based Learning planning in your classroom.
- Originally game play happened in a whole class
- In twenty minutes only 4 children had a turn: class lost interest
- Moved X Box to a separate classroom, and groups played on Kinectimals on a large screen TV.
- When returning to the classroom, the whole class discussed progress each group had made in the game – sometimes through role play which was effective.
- Originally my planning was very structured.
- I should have given children more time to explore game play, like you might give children time to explore a new book.
- When planning group activities on Kinectimals, I planned for specific events in the game.
- I found that not all groups would unlock that part of the game, or they would choose to explore another part of the game.
- Planning became much more open ended and child lead.
- I attached questions relevant to any aspect of game play – what is this place like? Which animals live here?
- This kind of planning required more resourcing.
- As well as game play, children in the group engaged with objects and artefacts that might be found in that environment on Kinectimals: shells, sand, logs, leaves, pine cones…
Supporting Children’s Play
- Back in the classroom, children would recreate game play through their child initiated play.
- They made the water tray a rock pool home
- They fed our Tigger teddy or lion puppet carrots and water – as that is what their Kinectimal ate in the game.
- Children used the resources from the group time in their own activities
- Writing became incidental; they wanted to write ideas down from the game to share in the classroom
- The camera was sensitive enough to recognise large scale movements the same as small scale movements – any sized kick or throw would give the same response in the game
- But the camera isn’t sensitive enough to prevent adults from intervening.
- If a child was struggling to play the game, I could crouch behind them and either move their arms for them or use my hands to model the actions required
- Transition between players was mostly seamless. Players can step in and out of the cameras viewpoint and the X Box would continue the activity that was being played.
- There is also a swap player function during game play, but we never had to use this.
Games Based Learning isn’t about playing on the game every day, for long periods of time. I’ve realised that the game is used to inspire children’s interest and is a great format to let children take control of planning and learning. As game play doesn’t occur at the pace I played it, I had to be much more open with my planning and support learning through children’s interests. I have learned so much about my teaching and children’s learning through games.