I am a gamer.
I should rephrase that. I am a retro gamer who loves a good modern side scroller or top level RPG. I really enjoying watching my students develop 2D side scoller games. They are paying a big tribute to the NES and Sega Genesis – namely my youth!
Some of the extra-curricular activities I have with my students include playing Clash of Clans and Chess With Friends. I say extra-curricular because our intelligent IT department has managed to block Game Center which won’t allow us to play Clash at school. As I type this I am emptying my Elixir Collectors and requesting troops. Looks like I was raided last night….
Clash has been around for a while now so I won’t divulge too much about the game in general but rather how I am playing it with a group of students.
I started Clash a few months back. I spent the first week attaining a level that would allow me to start my own Clan. That was a big task! Once my Clan was started, I asked a few students at school if they were playing Clash.
Student: “Yeah that game is sick”.
Me: “Maybe you can join my Clan?”
Student: “You have Clash? What’s your Clan name?”
Long story short. We now have a Clan of 15 members (including one student’s father!).
Let me tell you about our clan.
Our Clan is collaborative. Our Clan shares troops with each other. Our Clan models winning strategies by sharing replays. Our Clan offers feedback through strategic tips and tricks. Our Clan is supportive of each other. I’ll admit I didn’t know what ‘farming’ was in Clash until recently. I learned it from my students (and it’s a great strategy!).
Interesting. The paragraph above sounds to me what most teachers want in their classrooms.
So to those opposed to video games in school. Play them together outside of class. It doesn’t have to be in real time. Clash and Chess with Friends expect you to put the game down. You play these times of games over long periods of time at your own convenience. I usually play now (6:30 am) and after school briefly (4:30 pm). It doesn’t consume a lot of my time at all.
The reality here is that I can now bring Clash into my lessons. These Clan members would love to write about it! Maybe I’ll have them recount a battle. Or perhaps persuade me to buy another Builders Hut. Better yet they could write an explanation of what ‘farming’ is for those new to the game. There would be a mini lesson in purpose and audience here as newbies wouldn’t know the Clash lingo like we do. Most importantly – think about the boys in your class who are reluctant to write.
Let me conclude with a summary.
My students were already playing Clash. I knew this and started it myself. I built my own clan and invited them to join. They are much further advanced then I am. New students are joining everyday and learning from the original Clan members. Advanced Clan members can come and go as they see fit. We talk about it everyday at recesses.
Sounds like scaffolded DI to me.
What games do you play with your students?