I found a blog post about Games for Change on the Education Ad Infinitum website created by Stephanie Krajicek. This website offers a wide range of online games covering topics such as civics, economics, and the environment. Right away, the game "What Race Am I" caught my attention; I'm currently building a curriculum for a class centered on culture and I thought that this game would be a great conversation-starter for my low-level seniors. I downloaded it onto my iphone and played several times. Another game that caught my attention, but I haven't downloaded is "Real Lives 2010," a real-life simulator that randomly selects the country in which the player is born and provides tons of information about that person's environment and culture. Unfortunately, this is one of the few games that is not free. Still, there are a lot of games offered with legitimate educational outcomes. These aren't games to kill time, nor are they games "just for fun." These games are engaging and thought-provoking, everything an educational game should be.
You've probably seen this strange little code boxes cropping up in advertisements and online. They're QR codes (Quick Response codes) and apparently they've been around for a long time, but have only recently become popular in the United States. Essentially, with the help of free software programs, Smart phones can scan the codes and get links to related videos, images or websites. For example, if you have QR software downloaded on your phone (I use QR Reader for iPhone) and you hold your phone up to the code to the left, your phone will be directed to meandmylaptop.weebly.com This is great for advertisers who want to link consumers to advertisements; however, it can also be useful in education. One way that QR codes is currently being used is to create scannable answer keys and scavenger hunts. My own goal this year is to have my seniors do some writing in response to places in the community. Once the writing is finished, I would like to post QR codes in these locations that links people to the student writing (which will be hosted on a web site). Imagine going into the local store and finding a QR code that links you to a short story, poem or narrative essay inspired by that store. I'll be sure to post an update on this idea after I've completed the project in December. Until then, be sure to watch the video embedded below. It does a phenomenal job of explaining what QR codes are, how they are currently being used, and how you can generate your own QR codes.
More information about QR codes:
Tom Barrett has added Interesting Ways To Use QR Codes to his website. View the slideshow HERE.
Jessica Pilgreen is a National Board Certified secondary English teacher, a Doctoral candidate at UMSL, a Google Certified Educator, a PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator, a mom, a wife, and a self-proclaimed ed tech enthusiast!