Just had the most interesting classes with my 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.

Each student went to

It’s an activity where they have to make several choices based on the assumption that they have recently lost their job and home, and are a single parent with $1000. We had the most amazing conversations and I learned so much about the insights they possess. I highly recommend it.

Teachers’ Systematic Guide to Integrating Games: Day 4 ISTE 2012

In this session I was unable to find out the presenter’s name, but I do know she was associated with PCaRD, a teaching model that provides guidelines for teachers to integrate games into student-center pedagogies. These games can be used for instruction, student learning, and assessment. 

The PCaRD model consists of four steps: Play, Curricular Activity, Discussion, and Reflection. These steps require inquiry, communication, expression, and construction from the students who experience the game-based learning model. 

The presenter listed the different role a teacher must take for the PCaRD learning model:

  • To create naturalistic game-playing environment
  • To observe students’ game play
  • To develop cases based on students game play experience , big questions of the subject-area
  • to bridge students pedagogical and school knowledge
  • To develop prompts & prompts & questions that allow students to articulate the social, affective, cognitive and motivational nature
  • to facilitate a large-group discussion

To experience this learning model, the audience tried a Web-based game called Spent. This game was provides you with the opportunity to make real-world decisions. The role  you take up for this game is a single parent who is raising a child with very little money. You are required to find a job and make decisions when different events occur in your life. Students are asked to make difficult decisions based on a circumstance that they are in.  

The objective of this game was to see how people live on a small budget, learn statistical facts about people who live in these conditions, and gain empathy for people who struggle daily because of their situation. It was quite nice to see ourselves discovering information and ideas through discussion when we played the game on our own (no teacher giving instruction). After playing the game we came into groups and discussed what parts of the game fits into the three kinds of knowledge: foundational (math/social sciences), humanistic (empathy, charity), and metacognitive (reflecting on the decisions you make). 

We also discussed the different curricular activities we would create if this game was used in our classrooms. Students can create and plan non-profit organization that specializes in educating people to budget their problems, or help low income people in their area. Students can then reflect on what they learned through blogs.