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Raising Gaming and Social Awareness Through Globaloria

Written by Linda Biondi
August 11, 2010

The facts:

65% of students classify themselves as a “regular or occasional” player of video games (Jenkins, 2005)

84% of 12 to 17-year-olds own a video game console (Jenkins, 2005, p. 48)

58% 12 to 17-year-olds play video games for at least one hour every week (Jenkins, H. (2005). Getting into the game. Educational Leadership, 62(7), 48-51.)

Gaming (both video games and computer games) has changed from the early history of computer games of  Pacman, Space Invaders, Centipede, and Frogger.  As popularity increased, so did the complexity of the modern video games.  

Alex Jensen, in his study “Getting Into the Game,” analyzes why gaming seems to be more compelling to students than the work done in the modern day classroom. He found that gaming:

  • Fosters authentic engagement through immersion
  • Sequences tasks to allow early success
  • Lowers the threat of failure
  • Creates a social context, connecting learners to peers who share their interests
  • Are multimodal  (2005, pp. 49-50)

Globaloria  is a program that teaches children from ages 12 and up how to create educational games and interactive simulations. These students work independently or in teams to develop their own games from “start to finish”. Technology based, the curriculum is a hands-on online curriculum using Adobe Flash. Students will learn how to use a wiki, post prototype videos, simulations, graphics, and write research.  Skeptics may say, “Where is the teaching?”All program are research based and require a great deal of writing No only do the “Globaloria techs” write their programs ,they also participate in on-line blogs receiving and providing feedback to other “gamers”.  Unique to the program is that it is adaptable for students at all levels and pre-requisite in web design or programming is not necessary.

Globaloria is an engaging, student-centered delivery mechanism to teach STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Along the way, students also learn game design, programming, wiki formatting, writing, and multimedia production skills.

It is important for educators to work along with our students to help them create their technological identity and not be afraid to learn from them. By collaborating with the students it will help them develop the “a critical eye with guidance from adults. Mustacchi (2008, p. 68).”

By using Globaloria, teachers will have an opportunity to expose their students to gaming creations from children around the world; teach them how to think and react critically; and to make other students aware about social issues that are passionate about. The games are by students and for students. Who knows what will make other students want to learn but by other students?

Students at Capital High School who have been applying Globaloria in their classrooms  have felt empowered by their efforts. “I do consider ourselves innovators…Globalaria hes helped us become consumers of the technology we are working on but also inventors and producers of it…We are leaders of the nation.”

Globaloria is one example of how teachers can help their students develop critical-thinking and leadership skills. As educators, we need to remember the unique role that we have in the classroom.  Technology is more than just using word processing or Internet searches.   For the teacher who is  a “technology novice”, remember to take the first step and remember that you colleagues and students can help you as you take the next step and the next step.

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