‘ The Lure of the Computer’ By Alyce Gardiner Northcote Intermediate School
Background Information <ul><li>I was involved in a focus group for teachers of Years 7 – 9 Social Studies to discuss and develop a new internet based game called ‘Electrocity’. </li></ul><ul><li>The purpose of the game is to increase environmental awareness around issues of power supply and the effects on the surrounding population. </li></ul><ul><li>As our Integrated Studies topic in Term 2 was ‘Save The Earth: Waste & Recycling’ I decided to introduce the game to my class to see whether they would learn anything whilst playing this game. </li></ul>
Curriculum Links <ul><li>It fitted with our Integrated Studies topic ‘Waste & Recycling. </li></ul><ul><li>Free & Internet based www.electrocity.co.nz </li></ul><ul><li>We were also learning about report writing so as a homework task I set the students the task of playing the game 3 times and recording their results at the end of each. </li></ul><ul><li>They then needed to write a 1-2 page formal report about the game, what could be learned from this game, what improvement they might suggest and their personal opinions about it. </li></ul>
ICT Used <ul><li>I first introduced the game to the class via my laptop set up in the Library with projector. The class was immediately highly interested in the ‘ game ’ and could hardly sit still and listen for want of getting off to a computer of their own to begin playing. </li></ul><ul><li>I went through the basic instructions and then let the students go play independently. </li></ul><ul><li>I kept my target reading group with me at the laptop and let them take turns in playing a game as a larger group as there is a reasonable amount of reading required to play the game. </li></ul><ul><li>After the introduction in class time I decided to make the game a homework task. </li></ul>
Comments from the Students….. There should be more games out there like this so that parents can be proud to let their children learn and play on computer games at the same time!”
“ This is a good game to play because you learn about taxes, how to care for your environment, why you need coal and gas, how to save and reduce the amount of unrenewable resources, how to keep people happy in case you’re ever in charge of a team or a group, how to earn money, how to save money, share markets and trading shares and how to be fair to other people. So, basically all the things you need to run a town or city.
Everyone should play Electrocity because they learn all these valuable life lessons that you would definitely need when you leave home, get a job and become an adult.
My all round judgement on Electrocity is that it is a very well thought out game and is perfect for young minds like myself.
“ Electrocity is a game that makes you think about the environment you live in.” “ I enjoyed Electrocity because it is a lot like Sims. I learned that making a city, getting electricity and balancing stuff out is a lot harder than I thought.” “ Electrocity is an amazing computer game. It is the most fun homework yet. I liked it so much I stayed in during breaks to play it. Electrocity introduced me to many things about cities, the environment and responsibility.” “ The competition between students was amazing.”
Comments “ Its all about finding the balance between growing your population and money issues.” <ul><li>“ Electrocity increases your general knowledge extensively and is incredible fun.” </li></ul>“ In my opinion, Electrocity is excellent. However, it could have used that 10-12 year old boys touch. Just some small stuff like hybrid cars and sponsored concerts to add to the games already high ‘wow factor.’”
“ It is amusing and you can play it over and over without getting bored. You can also try out new things each turn like different ways of making money, lowering taxes etc.” “ I think this game is very fun with friends and also, as you play you get better and better.” “ I learned from this game that you don’t just sit and do nothing as a mayor, you have to work on new stuff and create a nice place to live in.”
2 / 29 give it the thumbs down! <ul><li>“ I think Electrocity is a dumb game because all you do is buy stuff and you don’t really learn anything.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ This game and all other games are not good for students and is a waste of time. I have learned nothing from this game. I would have much preferred to do something more meaningful with my time.” </li></ul>
My reflections….snoitcelfer yM <ul><li>This was an extremely motivating learning experience for all the students in my class, but especially so for the boys. They were desperate to stay in at break times to play and would come to school each morning and discuss games they had played at home, scores, strategies and who was where on the scoreboard. They learned a lot from each other through these conversations. </li></ul><ul><li>The fact that it was a nationwide competition between Year 7-9 students with $10 000 of HP Computer equipment in prizes for the winning city also motivated the boys. At 1 point one of the students in my class was in first place. Sadly though, we didn’t win </li></ul>
So, what next? <ul><li>Using the ‘lure of the computer’ can this extra motivating factor be transferred into the Maths (Algebra) Curriculum? </li></ul>
Learning Objects in Algebra <ul><li>These can be accessed through www.nzmaths.co.nz or www.tki.org.nz </li></ul>
Game on! <ul><li>Obviously, the students loved going to the computers twice a week for maths. The other 2 lessons we stayed in the classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>I bookmarked the games I selected through our school intranet so they remained on task and played the intended games. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning objects initially sustained their interest but they still preferred playing ‘Numbers Up’ because it has an element of competition to it which the “Learning objects’ did not. </li></ul><ul><li>As for enhancing student achievement its hard to quantify but they definitely were more motivated. </li></ul>
And Finally…. ….. <ul><li>Educational games are out there to be used and enjoyed. If the children perceive it as fun, rather than work they can be ‘tricked’ into learning! </li></ul><ul><li>Our current topic ‘Child Labour’ even has a Simulation game on the ‘Born to be Free: World Vision website where you take the role of a Social Worker in a village and prioritise the childrens needs and go around helping them. I’m introducing that this week! </li></ul>