Monday 25 July 2016

Pokémon Go in Education

Pokémon Go is the latest craze to hit the gaming world. The location-based, augmented reality game has proved to be hugely popular across the globe and has been praised by some medical professionals for potentially improving the physical and mental health of players.

Pokemon Go Logo

No doubt, schools have been full of students searching for rare Pokémon during break and lunch times but can Pokémon Go provide meaningful learning experiences for students within the classroom? We think so and here are a few ideas how!

  • Encourage students to learn about the history and geography of the local area by creating a Pokémon-themed game map. Print out a map of the town and ask students to identify significant landmarks where they would place a PokéStop. They can then research the landmarks and justify their choices by giving information as to why the locations are relevant to the culture or history of the area.
  • Develop mapping skills by using Google Maps alongside the Pokémon Go app to identify all PokéStops within a certain radius and map out a route to visit each one. Students could try and find the route that will be quickest, shortest or most scenic! Add some maths practice by putting a time limit on their walk or working out how long each route will take to complete.

  • Google Map, Telford
  • Pokémon Go measures distance in kilometres, something especially relevant for eggs which are incubated until the player has walked a certain distance. Task students with converting the hatching distances from kilometres to miles. If they have eggs incubating get them to work out how much further (in miles) they need to walk before they will hatch.
  • Use the information found in the Journal and/or Pokédex to develop data literacy. Get students to analyse the Journal data collected and work out their average number of events per day or create a graph of their allocation of items from a PokéStop. The Pokédex provides information on individual Pokémon. Challenge students to calculate the total weight of the Pokémon they have collected or how many of a certain Pokémon you would need to stretch across the length of your classroom/football field/town/country!

  • Pokedex, Pokemon Index
  • Encourage digital storytelling by asking students to write stories about the Pokémon they capture in the game. Students can use screenshots of their game play in augmented reality mode to incorporate into their stories.

In Australia, Craig Smith, an academic specialising in Autism research, found that his students’ social skills had improved and they appeared more engaged with their learning though being allowed to use the game both in and out of the classroom. Speaking to The Independent, he said “We wholly embrace whatever it is that kids are interested in and use that as a window into their world and bridge into further educational opportunities for them”.
“For many of the children I teach it’s hard to engage in social activities – even going down to the shops can be socially overwhelming. But what we’re seeing with the Pokémon craze is the same students are making conversation and engaging in social activities through the game.”
Mr Smith’s iTunes U course, ‘Explore Everything with Pokémon Go!’ aims to inspire children with and without autism to practise social skills, explore senses, to learn and to teach others.

Monday 11 July 2016

Summer Holiday Learning – Ideas to Keep A Child’s Brain Active During School Holidays

The summer break is nearly upon us and teachers and students alike are looking forward to a well-earned break. 6 weeks of lazy days and lie-ins may sound appealing but, in reality, children quickly become bored and restless. We have come up with a list of ideas and activities to keep kids active and learning during the holidays. We would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

  1. Special Events/National Celebration Days etc. Fill them in on your calendar and plan ways to celebrate!
  2. Learn to cook. A brilliant way to get children to follow step by step instructions, measure ingredients accurately, and learn about health and safety in the kitchen. Also, great for older students going off to uni!

    Baking Cookies
    Children Baking, Outdoor Cake Stand
  3. Read a book and then write a spin-off, sequel or prequel using the characters from the story. You could also create a picture/puppet/physical version of a character or scene.
  4. Create musical instruments using stuff from around the house. You could even start up your own band, record your performances and upload to YouTube!
  5. Make BFG Dream Jars. With the release of the new BFG film just around the corner you could combine a cinema trip with this fun activity! It's also a great excuse to read (or re-read) the book.
  6. Plan (with your child) a family activity day. Decide on budget, research possible events/locations, create an itinerary, plan for meals etc. On the day, take lots of photos and collect memorabilia to put in a scrapbook.
    Family Adventure, day out
  7. Have an indoor balloon rocket race!
  8. Make a recycled paper bead bracelet. Eco-friendly and fashionable! Experiment with other accessories and creations.
  9. Start a summer book club.
  10. Design some frugal fashion. Using newspaper, bin bags, masking tape etc. then have a fashion show.
  11. Make blow painting pictures or a button tree. NetMums has a fantastic list of arts and craft ideas. We particularly love these Superhero capes!
  12. Paint some plant pots and then plant seeds in them. You could plant a sunflower at the start of the holidays and see how much it grows!
  13. Write letters to family and friends and post them. You could even find a pen pal overseas and find out all about them. Take the time to hand write a letter or postcard and enjoy a stroll to the postbox to send it off.
  14. Make your own boats from old tubs, straws, lollipop sticks etc. then see if it floats (in the bath or elsewhere).
  15. Make a den or a fort 
  16. Why not host your own mini-Olympics
  17. Make a marble run. Use cardboard tubes, boxes etc. Make it as long as you like then have fun rolling marbles through.
  18. Make fruit (and veg) ice lollies. You could use some of these delicious recipes!
  19. Get into Geocaching. Go an adventure with the whole family and see what you can discover.
  20. Learn to code! Create stories, games and animations and share them with people around the world. Great for a rainy day.
Why not create a summer blog! Upload photos and videos of what you are doing during the holidays to share with friends and family. The 'My Diary' area of My Learning is the perfect tool for creating a blog within a safe environment. Check and see if your school is signed up!