Recognise this? Your pupils approach you chattering enthusiastically about their latest game on the iPad or that brilliant Lego creation. Minutes later, when you want them to be enthused about their school work, that spark has all but vanished. Channelling the eagerness into their work is possible if you choose your resources carefully.
We’re firm believers that including digital or gamified learning experiences increase a student’s motivation. Why not use tech trends, such as augmented reality and game based learning, to your educational advantage? We’ve gathered some inspired ideas to help you incorporate the latest kids’ crazes in the classroom and really boost engagement.
1) MSQRD (pronounced masquerade)
MSQRD is a free app for ipad or iphone. It uses facial recognition to apply animated masks over your face. You can transform into an amazing variety of characters, which provides some super fun learning opportunities in class. Imagine your class creating screencasts, story recordings and video poetry in character.
It’s worth noting that some of the masks could be a little scary for younger children. The app rates itself at 9+, so it’s more suited for a KS2 classroom.
iPadEducators has loads more ideas for using MSQRD in the classroom.
Minecraft has taken the tech world by storm since it’s launch in 2011. The game involves a virtual land where users can dig and build to create their own worlds and experiences. It allows them to discover and explore varying terrains and habitats and gather useful resources. The opportunities for encouraging creativity and imagination using Minecraft are endless across all subjects.
Mr P’s ICT blog shares heaps of super imaginative ideas for using Minecraft in the classroom.
Goosechase allows you to create your own tasks, missions and scavenger hunts for your class. Each mission is worth a set amount of points decided by you. Students can then decide which missions they want to attempt based on points and descriptions and submit their findings by photo, video, GPS map location and/or text. Or you could set different missions for different groups allowing you to differentiate projects based on student interest and ability. Scavenger hunts could include nature walks or geometric shapes searches for example. Their submissions are stored in the game for you to have an overview of and you have the power to award bonus points, deduct points, or delete submissions.
4) Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go is one of the latest “augmented reality” games to sweep the nation. The aim is to catch randomly generated animated Pokémon in the “real world” around you, usually at famous landmarks and historical markers around town. This allows players to learn about their community and its history, but also gets them moving while they are learning mapping skills. By saving screenshots of their Pokémon catches to their camera roll, students can have access to them later to use in classroom projects, such as creating a digital story about their adventures.
On Teaching Ideas, there are masses of beneficial ways that Pokémon Go can be adapted for learning across all subjects.
They are everywhere and probably sticking around so maybe it’s time to embrace the emoji and put them to good use. Whilst they are often overlooked as just a fun, insignificant images, they can be a powerful nonverbal cue to help communicate feelings. And with the ever-growing collection of emoji images representing all aspects of culture it’s easier than ever to think of useful ways to include them in lessons.
Erintegration has come up with oodles of great ideas for using these fun little characters in class.
Who doesn’t love Lego? It’s visually appealing, super fun and has endless possibilities. Even in the classroom Lego can provide limitless learning opportunities across a range of subjects.
Edudemic shares 12 ways to use Lego in the classroom to give your imagination a nudge.
There are many misconceptions about comics, predominantly that they are for out of school recreational reading. In fact, they have enormous value in the classroom: they spark engagement and can form the basis for many learning opportunities.
Teacher and author Mat Sullivan busts a few comic book related myths for us, and has an abundance of genius ideas for integrating comics in the classroom.