Research Library Update: Open-Ended Video Games: A Model for Developing Learning for the Interactive Age

In “Open-Ended Video Games: A Model for Developing Learning for the Interactive Age” by Kurt Squire you see a pretty clear model for how Civilization in particular, and games in general, can be tools to engage students and propel their learning outside of the classroom. To read my thoughts on the article and download it, check out the Research Library page.

Questions I Would Ask…..

I’m going to try something.

If you’ve been following me on Twitter lately, and reading this website lately, you would see I am doing a LOT of reading, and thinking about emerging technologies and their use in the classroom.

I have a lot of questions. 

So here is my experiment.  I am going to post some questions to someone who I think can answer them. And then I am going to wait and see if they do.  The title of this experiment is: Questions I would ask someone if they had the time to answer them. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I don’t want to be annoying. But I do want to engage in meaningful conversations and be someone who is looking for solutions instead of just pointing out the problems.

I know who my first target is and I’ll have something posted in the next day or so, once I finish reading a few more things he has written. Stay tuned.

I Am Building A Research Library, And Need Your Help!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Some of it coming from other engaged colleagues who are trying, like me, to expand their horizons and learn, as well as other material as part of my own personal growth plans.

I am going to really start pushing the envelope in terms of ideas I have for integrating technology into elementary education. I think there is untapped potential in emerging technology and devices that we aren’t even close to adopting in classrooms. I’d like to make the case for those.  The plan is to build a small print library of reading with notes by me included – something I can put in a stakeholders hands and say “THIS is why we should do this“. I will also house a larger digital library online here.

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Apple Distinguished Educator 2017: Video Script

I learned a lot going through the process of applying for the ADE program in 2015. My application was not successful, but in reality I knew it just was not yet my time. I also knew that I had the next two years to really focus on stepping my game up. In the last two years we have done some incredible things. Teaching is hard, teaching exceptionally though – with passion and purpose; with direction and cause – is so much harder. I’d like to think I teach exceptionally. While the work never ends, I am proud of where I’ve gotten to so far.  Here is my script for the video I am creating as part of my application for the Apple Distinguished Educator class of 2017.


Teaching is hard. Teaching exceptionally is even harder.

Over the next few minutes I’d like to share with you how using Apple technology has given my students the opportunity to do amazing things, how I have used this technology to transform my own practice, and how, through speaking and leading training sessions, I help teachers move from teaching, to teaching exceptionally.

If you interviewed parents of the students I teach one thing that they would all tell you is “I never thought my kid would ever be able do that!”  I have to remind them that children have an incredible capacity to learn – all you need is the right teacher, and the right tools, to make it happen.

From using Pages and Keynote, to coding using Swift Playgrounds. From our Grade One, Two, and Three students using their one-to-one iPads to take and edit photos, to our Grade Four to Eight students using their one-to-one Macbook Air’s and iMovie for green screen filmmaking and stop motion. Apple products are a critical component to my teaching and have revolutionized the way our students learn.

Part of this revolution includes ensuring that our teachers are well trained and confident.  As a Technology Integration Specialist, I spend much of my time working with teachers; giving them ideas they can use to engage their own students. We’ve created AWESOME assignment presentations using video, and introduced augmented reality to our students to supercharge engagement – there really is no limit to what we’ve been able to do together.

I’ve had the incredible opportunity to speak at education conferences and events around the world such as ISTE about game-based learning, and technology integration strategies such as SAMR.

I’ve never been more excited for the future. I have the skills, I have the tools, and I have the passion. There has never been a better, more important time to not just teach, but teach exceptionally. I hope you consider my application for the Apple Distinguished Educators Program. thank you for watching.

Game Based Learning Required Reading

I’ve been consumed by creating a required reading list for my graduate degree in education.  While the list after the break is by no means complete, it is what I believe to be a substantial base from which to inform your practice as a game based learning teacher or researcher. If you are a parent and have a student in a class with a teacher trying some of these techniques out, what better way to really understand why your child is playing Minecraft in class than by doing some reading?!

I’ve provided links to Amazon for all the books (just click the title!) and all the papers / articles / reports are available as PDF’s online.  I would LOVE your feedback on this list in the comments section, if you have any additions!

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Game List

One of my favourite questions I get from parents is “what games should I let my child play?” or a variant of that question.  I love it because I see parents are starting to realize that there is some value in gaming and game based learning and that not all games are time wasters and, in fact, most games – even if the child is just wasting time, have educational value. Feel free to read my paper on the value of games here: http://www.mrwashburn.net/virtual-worlds-and-real-life-an-autoethnographical-journey-in-online-gaming/#sthash.qse901nm.dpuf

To that end, I am going to try to maintain a games list here and update it either as I learn about new games, or through feedback. Continue reading