Archive for January, 2009
- January 27th, 2009
- Derek Robertson
- Comments: 5 Comments » Tags: Tags: Consolarium, Professor Layton
: Categories Orkney
I had the very great pleaseure of contributing to the Orkney Learning Festival that took place at Kirkwall GS in Oct 2008. This was a great occasion and it showed the excitement and passion for teaching and learning that there is in Orkney’s schools.
I met Joanna McLeod, a teacher from Firth PS, and she expressed an interest in getting involved in one of the projects that I was looking to start. This project involved the use of a game called Professor Layton and the Curious Village for the DS. I had twenty DSs and 20 copies of the game to give to a teacher to see what, if any, use and impact on learning that this game might have. I had mentioned the obvious links to problem solving that the game offers what with there being over 180 maths puzzles but I also talked about the opportunities for imaginative writing, animation, art and design and other curricular areas to be explored. If you look closely at the beautiful animations in the game then you might see a style that is redolent of Sylvain Chomet’s movie Belleville Rendevouz. Joanna, as it turned out, has an animation degree and trained in this area so she was very aware of his work and of the history of animation and she was keen to see what she could do in this area as a result of using Prof. Layton as the stimulus.
A few months later and a return trip to Orkney was organised. Yet again I was deighted to see how a teacher had used this device to great effect and how it had been used to enthuse and excite a class full of children. The main work that had been done with the game involved the planning, storyboarding, design and sharing of animations based on the theme of Winter. The children used the Custom Animation function within Powerpoint and they used this to great effect. What was particularly pleasing to see was the zany and original ideas that the children came up with. One movie was called, The Good, The Normal and The Hairy! Where they got that name I don’t know but it certainly caught my attention. Each group had a ‘puzzlemaster’ and their job was to ensure that there was some maths puzzles in the game so that when others played it they were faced with a challenge as well as enjoying the narrative of the story and the aesthetic of its design.
The children also talked most eloquently about the maths aspect of the project. They talked about how engaging with the puzzles in the context of the game was really motivating and how, if they couldn’t solve a prob lem, they would work with their peers to see if they could solve it together. One child even said that it felt like he was having ‘adventures in maths’! Now, as we found with our Dr Kawashima work (still digesting this interesting claim from France, although there is not much available to read as yet it seems), here is yet another games based learning scenario in which schoolchildren are saying it’s cool do and be good at maths. Again I ask, is this not what we want?
Hopefully I’ll get al the video footage edited (along with everything else that I have still to finish) and get it online soon.
One last thing…if you ever get the chance to go to Orkney then you must take it. I managed to visit Skara Brae, Maes Howe and the Ring of Brodgar prior to catching the flight home today. Have a look and see what you make of this beautiful and mysterious place…
Thanks to all in Orkney and at Firth PS forMore