In the Halls of the
Games that have strong educational content or have been used
successfully in classrooms.
A list of all our lesson plans.
An index of how our games compare to the US National Education Standards.
Our trifold brochure with overviews of the educational content of our most popular games.
Conferences that teachers might be interested in.
Connect with other teachers through the EDU Discussion Mailing List.
A virtual "meeting place" where all teachers are welcome.
with ideas, thoughts and comments you may have.
The Teacher's Lounge
Welcome to the Teacher's Lounge! It's where we can all sort of
hang out, get rejuvinated, grab a few ideas and a cup of caffeine
and go back to our classrooms, ready to teach again. I've been in
many different schools in my career and they all have some place
for teachers to kick back – one school I subbed at even had
a couple of quiet rooms with cots and alarm clocks for when those
nap-attacks would hit in the middle of the day.
But most are
places of noise, work, planning, discussion – a downright
busy place. That's the sort of Teacher's Lounge I envision here.
I'll be tossing things down out on the Table-o'-Stuff here in the
Looney Academy Teacher's Lounge for your perusal – when you
have time. That's part of the joy of having a monthly column –
I get to leave stuff up here long enough that you busy teachers
might be able to find a small chunk of time to read things
through. Then, it will be archived back in the Academy Library for
you to "check out" later. So, on to the first topic.
Playing Games is
Good for Students!
My friend Judy, who is a physics teacher in Omaha, tossed
something my way and I thought it makes a great topic for my first
column. Recently, the National
Science Teacher's Associaton (NSTA) reported
that the Federation of American
Scientists (FSA)and the National
Science Foundation (NSF) support "Edu-Gaming" in
schools. Their report is based on solid research into using video
games in the classroom, but a lot of their findings can relate
directly to using all sorts of games, such as EcoFluxx
as the learning tools. In publishing their findings and
recommendations, scientists said that:
"... games require players to
master skills in demand by today's employers – strategic and
analytical thinking, problem solving, planning and execution,
decision-making, and adaptation to rapid change. They can be used
to practice practical skills and important skills that are rarely
used, to train for high-performance situations in a
low-consequence-for-failure environment, and for team building.
Games offer attributes important for learning – clear goals,
lessons that can be practiced repeatedly until mastered,
monitoring learning progress and adjusting instruction to learning
level of mastery, closing the gap between what is learned and its
use, motivation that encourages time on task, personalization of
learning, and infinite patience."
Games are good for kids! Who knew? Well, to be honest, we knew.
You, me, all of us. The right games, in the right circumstances,
with the right teachers can be the best way for kids to aquire
knowledge and skill sets they never knew they had to learn. How
important is it for a doctor or pharmacist to read all of the
directions? How much have skilled laborers (construction workers,
auto manufacturers, electronic parts makers....) had to be able to
adapt to new and rapidly-changing technologies? How much does
team-building affect job performance in the corporate world? How
easy is it to actually TEACH any of these skills? And how often do
kids use all of these skills in games?
By the way, in many teachers' opinions, Fluxx
teaches all of the above skill sets. You have to read the card
completely and follow all of the directions to be able to play the
game. You have to adapt to new and changing environments. And you
build a comraderie among students that rarely happens in a lecture
Labs games are excellent choices for many teachers –
we've seen Chrononauts,
all it's variants), Treehouse
be used in classrooms across the country. And of course we want to
see the use of our games in classrooms increase. But not just for
us – for the kids. We've seen this again and again as
students learn best when
relaxed. Playing games and having fun relaxes kids and lets their
brains function in ways that stressed brains don't function.
students rarely want to repeat
lessons - but love to repeat games. How wonderful is it to see
lessons being learned and reinforced without any effort on your
students will also teach other students games, whereas
they are rarely willing to teach their peers standard content.
And we all know how much we learn by teaching what we know to
someone else! Teaching others to play games help cement learning
into a student's brain.
If our goal is to build future citizens who are self-motivated,
life-long learners, then we need to teach all the skills they'll
need in their future lives. Games can help do that. Our games as
well as other great games that are out there. Don't let nay-sayers
tell you that games have no place in the classroom. Take a page
from the NSTA, the FAS and the NSF and tell them that the games
that you've picked for your classroom are simply some of the many
high-quailty tools that you use to produce high-quality graduates.
And then go play with your students!