Teachers playing games
Teachers and administrators from multiple school districts learned how they can help engage their students through games and mobile technology.
Allegheny Intermediate Unit hosted Institute of Play MobileQuest CoLab workshops at its headquarters in the Waterfront in Homestead this week.
Based on the institute's summer camp experiences, MobileQuest CoLab offered educators the chance to master basic game design and then practice creative activities in small group settings.
The professional development program was free to school districts. Teachers at the AIU workshops were from Woodland Hills, Hampton Township, Cornell, Allegheny Valley, Riverview, Ringgold, Elizabeth Forward and Duquesne City school districts, as well as Propel Schools, Environmental Charter School and the Diocese of Greensburg.
“We spent a large portion of the week actually playing physical games and designing physical games,” MobileQuest CoLab director Nancy Nowacek said. “When the educators bring technology into the game-design process they have an understanding of how to design games.”
The Institute is a nonprofit design studio founded in 2007 by a group of game designers in New York City. It pioneers new models of learning and engagement, and created a New York public school called Quest to Learn with a game-based curriculum.
Some of the games used at the workshops include Ninja, Simone Says, Minecraft and platforms such as Gamestar Mechanic and digital tools like Playforce and Gamekit.
“I think it's great to learn different ways to incorporate fun activities like games and technology tools, apps on the iPad, things they can do on the computers to incorporate into the lessons and to align it with the curriculum that we teach,” said Elizabeth Forward Middle School computer teacher Chris Foster.
Elizabeth Forward students in all grade levels will be issued a computer when they return to school from summer break thanks to a leasing agreement between Apple and the district.
“I think some things that I will be doing would be incorporating more fun activities for the kids to be interested, to get them interactive, moving around,” Foster said.
“It's going to be an interesting concept we take back to the teachers,” said Stanley Whiteman, assistant to the superintendent of Duquesne schools. “I think it's a way to help students become engaged in a lesson and refocus on what's important to learn in a physical way in the classroom.”
Teachers will put into practice what they learned this week via workshops with sixth- and seventh-graders at Carnegie Mellon University.
“I think the students are going to enjoy it because they will take ownership of what they individually create,” Whiteman said. “I think that's the whole concept of learning. The kids are going to enjoy it and we want to make them part of the learning process and incorporate their thoughts and their ideas in how we educate ourselves in the 21st century.”
A majority of educators who participated in the workshops are middle school teachers. Duquesne City School District is currently a kindergarten through sixth-grade system. Its middle school and high school students attend East Allegheny and West Mifflin Area schools.
Whiteman said he plans to share the ideas with the principals of those two districts.
“I'm not sure exactly how much of this they're going to incorporate into their own program,” Whiteman said. “Maybe they already do things like this in those school districts that I'm not aware of, but I think it would be beneficial for them.”
MobileQuest CoLab was created and facilitated by the Institute of Play in New York City in partnership with the AIU, the Sprout Fund and the support of the Grable and Benedum foundations.
“The AIU has been such a great partner because they have so many school districts under their umbrella,” Nowacek said. “That's been really exciting to work with all of these teachers from so many different districts at the same time.”
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Propels leave the lights on to showcase their after-school activities
- 9-month probe leads to major heroin bust in McKeesport
- Allegheny County explores state of Mon Valley area health
- West Mifflin official: Buyer expected soon for old administration building
- W. Mifflin backs drilling at airport
- West Mifflin Area schools boost security in response to threat against student
- Wolf pays another vist to the Mon Valley as Corbett remains absent
- McKeesport Area student leadership group donates Halloween costumes
- McKeesport leaders sign pledge to be part of solution to violence