Kinectimals Inspiring Writing

This year was the forth time I have used Kinectimals with a class to inspire their writing. And this year staff in our unit said this was the best writing we have seen all year! So I thought I would share a few ways in which game play has inspired writing in my classroom.

Kinectimals

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This an X Box game and it is also an app game available for iPad. You adopt a tiger or a bear on an island called ‘Lumeria’ and meet a character called Bumble who has been looking after the animals since the explorers left many years ago. It is an adventure game where you lead your animals through different tasks and challenges, find treasures and discover new parts of the island. It’s also a virtual pet style game so it is self paced and children can navigate the island themselves, moving around the place instead of moving forward in game play. Graphically it’s stunning, very beautiful and the story is captivating.

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What is Games Based Learning? My reflections from TeachMeet

I haven’t felt the need to define what Games Based Learning is on my blog as I’ve been too busy trying out different strategies and resources. However, at TeachMeet Play in February half term, I presented for 7 minutes (yeah right, more like 30 minutes!) on these strategies and what Games Based Learning meant for me. Alongside me at the event, Ray Chambers (@lanky_boi_ray) and Bill Lord (@Joga5) also presented and discussed their experiences of gaming in the classroom. We all work with different age groups so our reflections and advice vary which has provoked me to write this blog post.

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Thinking Outside of the X Box

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My partnership with European Electronique has encouraged a lot discussion and research in to the possibilities of using game console hardware beyond the box they come in. I have seen Raymond Chambers (@lanky_boi_ray) speak and followed his blog for a year or so. Ray uses the Kinect Camera with a laptop and creates his own apps for secondary students to use in his ICT lessons. After many chats with Ray he has kindly produced a spelling app based on Letters and Sounds for my class.

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Project Based Learning using X Box Kinect.

I began my journey in to games based learning about a year ago, and I often get asked “how does it work?”. I still don’t have a clear answer, but I do have interesting stories to tell about children’s interactions with games in the classroom.

I have recently partnered with European Electronique (@euroele) who are an ICT solutions company with an interest in promoting games based learning. This partnership has helped to define my ideas about games based learning, so this blog post offers another perspective on what games based learning could be.

In my previous post on games learning with the Kinect in a Foundation Stage setting I spoke about organising game play in smaller group situations and engaging children in activities related to game play. This idea remains the most effect use of gaming with children.

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Games Based Learning: Using X Box Kinect to Support Play in Foundation Stage 2 #gbl

My reflections on using Kinectimals and the X Box Kinect in Foundation 2 was originally published on Tom Barrett’s blog, but I thought I would publish it to my own blog now that it’s up and running. Be sure to check out the discussions about this post of Tom Barrett’s blog though. I have added a few extra points in this post though and included some extra footage. Enjoy.

If you haven’t come across Kinectimals or the X Box Kinect before, then have a look at the official trailer for the game here. Gameplay works without a controller, there is a camera attached to the X Box which detects your movements and the animals in the game respond to them.

My blog follows on neatly from the themes discussed by Tom Barrett in his work with Nintendo Wii’s Endless Ocean. I took on the challenge of introducing Games Based Learning to my Reception class, and to myself! I used an X Box Kinect because game play without a controller seemed ideal for Foundation Stage children. After a 2 – 3 week project on animal homes using Kinectimals as a stimulus, I have reflected on the impact that Games Based Learning had on children’s enquiry. My reflection is structured around four themes; organisation, planning, supported play and Kinect sensitivity. I hope that the successes, difficulties and solutions I found help with any Games Based Learning planning in your classroom.

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