Campaign: Building from existing games

Grandmas Games

Grandma's games is a Global winning project, Innovative Teacher (Washington D.C. by Microsoft). Project aims are to overcome the negative aspects of the passive cyber games with creative usage of technology and developing old forgotten kids games by moving their body and learning in the same time. Grandma's Games have manual guide for teachers which would help revive the child games played in many countries many generations.

Please check this link, they learn with fun, convert measures and play

The final finding of the research done by the students found the grandma’s games as forgotten. To this aim, five schools from different regions with different ethnic backgrounds built and shared their knowledge of the grandma’s games with videoconference classes, creatively designed a learning portfolio with the games’ rules and recorded videos for each game. In terms of educational goals, students learned how to write research report conducted by interview, how to share knowledge with their peers, how to be a peer coacher, how to calculate the perimeter of polygons drawn in the schoolyard, etc. If their grandmothers played Plocka, and drew with sticks on the ground, students learned about the chemical composition of cement and the chalk with whom they draw. Throughout playing they learned to discuss and form opinions, make decisions, develop critical and creative thinking to solve problems. With grandma’s games they memorize and reproduced movements that sharpens their senses, develop different motor skills, combined movements and aesthetics, and learned to be tolerant, self reflective while building a sense of “a fair player”. The project brought “I can do that”- a spirit of the liveliness in all schools, got back the grandma’s games to be played nowadays by all children regardless of their body weight. It was not hard to achieve the set of planned educational goals but the difficult challenge is to reduce the time spent in front of the TV and computer. We do hope that through the kind of activities teachers/parents/community will continuously “somehow” influence and change the mindset of children about that the Internet/computer is the only extraordinary tool for them to learn and explore the world around them while educators recognize that “technological literacy” as a prerequisite for their students to compete and thrive in today’s knowledge based economy.

The project introduced new ways of learning which focused on “learning by doing” and all participants of the project were driven by the motto “Let’s play games, let’s be friends, let’s learn together!” Both teachers and students learned new things in a more different way, in a different context e.g. by the game Grandma’s Fingers students learned about the abstract math terms like open/close curve but in a more tangible way. Moreover, all games integrated learning concepts in a cross curricula context. The teachers recognize the meaning of the games as personal development cycle of their students. All project activities made a great fit with different subjects and the innovative use of technology enabled the quality connection between the world in which the students live and the way they learn about the world. Moreover, the teachers were eager to put into practice the use of technology like: create Bing map with the origin of the games; design and record videos with Movie Maker; compile the games’ rules into a calendar in Publisher, etc. This is all about turning the project into a cultural journey and intercultural dialogue amongst all colleagues. This project raised an interest amongst the mayors of municipalities who expressed interest in expanding the project to other schools of other municipalities. This especially maximizes the efficiency by the use of videoconference tools that could bring all schools together no matter of their geographic position.

Project activities took place in several stages including teachers and students from five quite different schools, from the rural place to the main city. Most of the project management activities like forming the teams of teachers, mentor students took place after-school classes while conducting research and interview (using MS Office) in a native language class; illustration of grandma’s games (drawing in MS Paint) in art class; writing the games rules as student homework, sharing the collected information in Power Point presentations (set up Live e-mail accounts and exchange amongst students from different schools) in a work with computer class; game rules presented from a classroom (using a videoconference tool of MSN) in a an environment class; drawing the geometric shapes for playing activities in the school yard (forms drawn with chalk on cement) in a Math class; performing and video recording the old grandma’s games in the school yard in a physical and health education class, processing the video recording material with Movie Maker as homework for student mentors; designing the calendar with 12 grandma’s games (using MS Publisher) in an informatics class. All final e-products of the project are presented in OneNote. For successful completion of the project, Computers, LCD projectors, digital/flip camera, Internet connection, speakers/microphone, mutual assistance and coordination are needed! The key learning impact for teachers is that collaboration and team work with other schools from different background is a key for the success, this is the best way we could facilitate and share our best knowledge that comes from different perspectives.

Project goals The overall aim of the project is to achieve a set of different learning goals of the national curriculum through traditional children gamес. This is one way of bridging the new IT generation with old traditional and enriched values of our predecessors. Our goal is to recognize the meaning of the game as a great knowledge transfer tool and as a form of personal development of our kids. Moreover, this kind of games had a positive effect on children’s mental, emotional and social development; all of them played carelessly, equally and together without prejudice to their weight and intelligence. They were followed by the motto "Hey Look, I can do it" (this was a saying of Shaip the most obese kid in one of our classes). The game has no language; it is universal and understandable for all children. The grandma’s games we implemented as a learning technique where the students through paying-moving-memorizing-reproducing-interacting-competing and creating products (scores, rules, figures, combinatory, etc) develop sharp senses that resulted to critical and creative thinking.

The planning and origin of the project At our parental council meetings, as one of the main parents’ concern emphasized that their kids most of their time spent in front of PCs or TV. So, in this way we start developing our idea to animate our students by bringing them play and learn outside in the school yard and in meanwhile use the IT as a tool for communication and learning. The difference we brought was that we used computers as a tool for learning while grandma’s games as a working method. Moreover, the idea came as well from our daily self-reflection (first as parents and then as teachers) that our kids more and more have online friends than real one to whom they can talk, play and build the childhood. The grandma’s games are a holistic approach while working with the students at this age, all of this in correlation with the curricula. The impact of the games in comparison to the nowadays access of advanced technology enables more ecological and healthier patterns of child development.

The curriculum context of the project The project activities, in line with the curriculum, enabled students to develop interest in the use of native language as the primary means of communication, learned about artistic expression, get known with old tradition as the most characteristic feature of the national identity. While collecting the grandma’s games through the survey questionnaires they developed listening, writing, communication and comprehensive skills. They enhanced the oral expression while telling the games to their student peers via videoconference classes. In addition, students apply the standard linguistics norms (phonetic, morphological, syntactic, lexical, and spelling). In the Art classes, students developed their sense of color, line, forms in open space; broadened art literacy through illustration of the games; developed their creative abilities and acquired experience for unity in composition; gained new technology skills like draw in MS Paint. Mathematical concepts were adjusted according to the cognitive developing skills and abilities of the students. For example, the game DAMA (Lady) is correlated with other subjects and develops perception ability (particularly visual and tactic ), orientation in space and time, process thinking, ability to analyze, synthesize, abstractions and generalization in deciding the next steps in the game or solving specific problems. Concerning the curriculum, the games offer an opportunity to encourage affective and motor development, enhance self-esteem, develop perseverance/responsibility, accuracy and work habits. Students collected, classified, compared, present and interpret data. The logic thinking of games strengthen the behavior and competitive skills amongst students.

The technology context A mixture of MS applications and tools used: designing and reporting research/interview survey (MS word and Excel); illustration of Grandma’s games drawing in MS Paint; writing the games rules in MS Word; presenting the games using MS Power Point; exchange of collected information in between schools via Windows Live MSN (@live account and videoconference); programming a robot Pippin; video recording and processing the games played in the school yard with Movie Maker; publishing the calendar and poster with 12 grandma’s games using MS Publisher ; presenting the games pictures using Auto Collage and Photo Synth; and a final Grandmas’ games portfolio published in MS One Note. Some of technologies like Movie Maker, Win Live videoconference, MS One Note, Publisher were introduced for the first time to this age group students and that is why we organized the students’ mentorship groups who were in charge of performing the set of activities by use of those technologies and then transfer the knowledge to other students. For the first time we introduced Kinect where children not only had fun playing one of the grandma’s game in Kinect but also learned in very innovative way.

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