- August 10th, 2011
- Derek Robertson
- Comments: 2 Comments »Tags: game based learning, games based learning, GBL, The Land of Me
This is the first in a series of five posts about the Land of Me at Port Ellen PS. The other posts can be accessed via these links:
This year we worked with the people at The Land of Me to pilot their software in schools in Dundee, West Lothian and Argyll & Bute. We have already seen some great work in the use of this software to support and enhance learning in Pre-5 and P.1 & P2 classes in Dundee and West Lothian and were also made aware of work ongoing in some of the Argyll and Bute schools via a class blog and a Made in Me’s Facebook page.
Janice McRae from Port Ellen PS on Islay was one of the teachers who came along to the Land of Me introductory session in Inveraray earlier in the year. As a result of her experience on the day and following on from subsequent discussions with colleagues and her own thinking about the needs of her learners she has put together the most inspiring learning experience set in The Land of Me, one that has encouraged parental involvement in so many ways and that has created a space in which her pupils can suspend their disbelief and embark on a learning adventure!
“We had three weeks of learning before we even looked at the software!”
I managed to get out to visit Janice and her class just before the summer break to see just what had been happening. You can listen to my chat with her about how she planned to use the Land of Me and how things progress from then on…
Planning for learning
What was interesting about how Janice McRae planned to use the Land of Me resource was that in the first instance she did not share it with her children for three whole weeks. During this time so much was done in terms of asking questions and initiating discussions in order to create the context for enquiry and curiosity that could then be further developed when the resource was introduced. Some of the questions that were discussed included: Who lives in the Land of Me?; What is a map?; How would we get to the Land of Me? As a result of these discussions some of the children suggested that they make the Land of Me in the classroom!
“Let’s turn the classroom into The Land of Me!”
The Land of Me is made up of a number of chapters that are set in different geographical scenarios. We meet the main characters Buddy Boo, Eric and Willow in the desert, on clifftops, by the riverside, in the arctic and other places too. With the help of her partner and many of the parents Janice went about transforming the classroom into The Land of Me with all the scenes represented in the software physically incorporated into the classroom. Parents helped make camels for the desert, brought in trees for Bramble Wood, built the cave where Granny Olive reads her stories and even made wooden cutouts of the main characters from the story.
With things in place both contextually and physically it was now time to go on a learning adventure…