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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Using popular iPad games as a stimulus in the classroom!


From the first moment I walked in the classroom with the class set of iPads, I was mithered by the class to play their favourite games, "Can we play Angry Birds? Can we play Temple Run?" they would plea. A carrot to dangle may have been my first thought. "If you finish your work you can have a go at the end," would be the response of most, but what if these games became part of your lesson???

Needless to say these games are fantastically addictive and great fun. I have to admit, when I first purchased my iPhone 3GS, I had completed Angry Birds within a couple of weeks. Temple Run is still one of the games I regularly play when I have a couple of spare minutes. Most teachers may see these games as a distraction to learning, whereas I see them as an opportunity to harness and enhance learning.

I have found that the most engaging lessons I teach are when the children believe they're not working, when they are having fun and the focus is something that interests them. Recently I did a literacy topic using football as a focus. Although it was greatly successful; I had feedback questioning how engaged children, who had no particular interest in football, were. This got me thinking about finding a focus that all children can relate to. These games provide the perfect stimulus to enthrall and fascinate all children in your class.

So why these games? Well, both these games can be the perfect stimulus in most subjects. When I first started thinking about using these games I put together a little mind map of ideas, it was only after finishing and seeing all the ideas, did I realise the scope of the curriculum covered and the amount of time that could be spent using these games as a focus. There may be other ideas I haven't thought of yet and may pick up as I go along. Here are the mindmaps:


The main reason that these games lend themselves so well to many parts of the curriculum is that: a) There is a story behind both games and b) They involve scores which generates numbers, numbers and numbers.

Angry Birds has a very complex subplot that can lend itself to so many potential literacy focuses. Are the birds right to take revenge? Is destroying the pigs the right method? Are the pigs in the wrong? It would also provide some fantastic PSHCE discussions about anger management as well as other things.

Temple run has a story behind it but one we do not know. The game comes at the end of a story where he is escaping the temple, but why? What does he have? Why is he there? What is he running from?

I am currently in the process of trialing some of these ideas when I am working in the KS2 classes at my current school. I will still be trying to use the iPads to accompany the lessons and enhance the learning however I can. Any lessons I do, I will link them below to a more detailed explanation. 

Updated - The Impact

  I was always a little apprehensive with this approach as to whether the game aspect would distract children and leave them more focused on the game than the learning objectives. However using these games has had the opposite effect. I have never seen the classes so focused and enthused to learn. They are relishing in the fact that either at the start or end of the lesson they get 5 minutes to play their favourite game. I have yet to meet a child who doesn't like the games. 

I recently had a student work within the classroom and he was astonished at the level of concentration and the eagerness to answer questions. The added incentive of using the iPads as way of presenting some of the tasks has also helped with behaviour and engagement. I feel having a focus which has ALL the children's attention rare and so it has to be harnessed and valued in the write way. The children can relate to the learning more and it is something they can all access. I don't honestly think I would get the same level of engagement, enjoyment and concentration from the children using some of the ideas I have done in previous years. 

Please read some of the children's thoughts and ideas on using this topic:

Thanks to @StephenConnor7 who has shared what his class did with Temple Run and the impact it had - Read about it here.

Angry Birds

Literacy

2013 01 16 11.16.18 295x300 Generating Wow words about Angry Birds!
2013-01-16 11.43.43

2013-01-22 15.14.45
     

Numeracy
Other Curriculum areas

2013-01-14 14.11.55

2013-02-05 16.03.40


Temple Run

Literacy
2013-01-08 11.46.49


Other Curriculum areas

  • Thanks to Mr Chippindall (@DrChips_) who has put together a step by step guide where children can make their own version of the game Temple Run - see the lesson here.
Obviously you wouldn't expect to do all these activities with one class and some will suit certain year groups better than others. One thing is for sure, the children would be completely hooked by having these games as a focus in the classroom.




6 comments:

  1. Great blogpost did not thought it would be so cool when I read the link.More benificial need of cheap tablets for kids on valuable quality things. Our site gives you the built in games, WiFi, camera, touchscreen with flash player.

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  2. I love what you're doing in your school. You have inspired me to a whole new level.
    I am a fan of your website and creativity. May-NZ


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  3. This is genius. It's really an effective way of studying.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Hi, love the ideas. In my school we have used Temple Run to teach averages. The children took it in turns to get three scores. They then had to calculate their average score to see where they ranked in the class.
    Also have you checked out the free app called Doceri? This app allows you to mirror your desktop via the Smartboard; allowing more 'hands-on' learning within lessons.

    Tom

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