Some time ago we were invited to Be Very Afraid 5 at BAFTA with Stephen Heppell to share what we had learned from providing groups of children with a Nintendo DS and Nintendogs. (Just a wee reminder that at this point in history there were no iPads and I had just received the first iPhone as a Christmas present.)
Piloting and further roll out led to a research project. I learned a great deal about signature pedagogies through this project and this is the presentation I gave when I spoke with David Miller at the Game 2 Learn Conference in Dundee.
After many years I still hold on to these thoughts from those developments
- The importance of play and child led learning. Children require space and time to learn. Observing from a distance and judging when to support and when not to is an art!
- Shared devices require and enable collaboration. Enabling space for ‘huddles’ and the opportunity to move between ‘huddles’ builds capacity and confidence.
- Summarising, making time for explanations, creating ‘how 2s’ is a valuable skill. There is a great example of this in the Moshling Zoo prezi.
- A game can provide a challenging text. The incentive to read for information motivates children to decode.
- And to name but a few it involved children in thinking strategically, planning out scenarios, collaboratively solving challenges in teams while having fun – essential life skills.
I further confirmed this for myself when I had the opportunity to develop some of the CfE capacities through the use of Moshlings Zoo for the DS with a Primary 1.
The rewritten CfE technologies outcomes now include explicit mention of computational thinking. I have had the fortunate opportunity to focus on developing these concepts and approaches this past year. I have found the Barefoot Computing resources particularly helpful. I really like using the concepts and approaches poster to unpick the learning throughout the process. The game play and consequent creativity through the DS projects most definitely involved creating, collaboration, debugging, perseverance, evaluation. The bullet points above continue to permeate the pedagogical approach I develop with the children I teach.
I still think these are my top 3!!
- I think we have a moral obligation to be aspirational for young people, to have high expectations of every individual.
- We need to create learning spaces and experiences that enable autonomy.
- The context and process of that learning should be awesome.
Triple A learning!!