All posts in the ‘East Ayrshire’ Category
- February 17th, 2011
- Derek Robertson
- Comments: 3 Comments » Tags: Tags: east ayrshire, edutalk, exergaming, games based learning, gametolearn, Just Dance, Wii
: Categories East Ayrshire, exergaming
In 2008 the Chief Executive of McDonalds UK argued that ‘Computer games were to blame for childhood obesity’. More recently a research study carried out by the World Health Organisation that was featured in the Journal of Paediatrics has named computer games, along with TV, as a main cause of childhood obesity – reporting:
“…over 70,000 teenagers from 34 different nations are overweight or obese. It called a sedentary lifestyle – ‘spending three hours or more per day watching TV, playing computer games, or chatting with friends’ – is the main reason behind the figure.”
The folk devil image that has been associated with computer games is one that the team at the Consolarium have always been aware of and keen to explore and possibly deconstruct in a sensitive and honest fashion. We argue that games should play a part of a rounded and varied range of experiences for young children’s development and that a diet solely of sedentary game-play is possibly not the best way for young people to spend their time. To this end we have been keen to explore how the increasing active physical participation offered by technologies and games consoles might be used in an appropriate and realistic way to impact in a positive fashion on levels of children’s physical activity.
Having previously been unsuccessful in our efforts to explore dance mat technology our imagination and ideas were pricked when we heard about the Just Dance title for the Wii. The actual experience offered by this game coupled with the contemporary music (as well as some 70’s classics) was such that we were of the opinion that this game might just be something that would work in schools…
At SLF10 the Consolarium team’s area at the LTS stand proved to be very busy with a lot of interest in the games. The team whole-heartedly threw themselves into demonstrating the games that we were promoting as appropriate and successful learning resources, one of which was Just Dance. Have a look at some of the Consolarium team in action playing this game alongside the BrainPop robot and a very talented young dancer:
Our intention was to identify and work with interested school partners who would be keen to explore just how this resource might be of use in relation to engaging teenage girls with physical exercise. Having spoken with many PE teachers over the past few years about the use of GBL in their domain they often talked about the promise of using a dance related game linked to a game console as something that they thought might encourage teenage girls to become more interested in and motivated to participate with physical exercise. Also, we were encouraged by initiatives such as Girls on the Move and by the many references to Dance and girls uptake with PE that were made in a recent HMIE publication about PE in schools.
Sometimes serendipitous moments lead to great things and as it so happened a group of girls from Doon Academy came along to the Consolarium stand at SLF10 and took over! Four girls used the Wii controller whilst the other eight stood behind, without controllers and danced and danced and danced. In that moment our Just dance in schools initiative was born. Discussions with Fiona Ferrie, the PE teacher from Doon Academy and Alison Crawford from East Ayrshire Council led to a number of Nintendo Wiis and Just Dance games being loaned to the Secondary schools in that authority. The focus would be on the resources use with girls in PE. Post SLF10, the resources were despatched and the project was underway…
A couple of weeks ago I made my way down to Doon Academy to see just how Just Dance had impacted in the life of the school. I was full of hope that this resource would be a great success but as with all things the idea and the practical application in reality do not always match up! This was not the case here. What I witnessed at Doon Academy was up there with the very best successes that the LTS Consolarium team and their school partners have ever had.
I was met by the class teacher Fiona Ferrie and taken to the PE department to see S.1 girls using Just Dance in their PE Lesson. Have a look at the girls in action with the resource:
The PE teachers at the school remarked on the remarkable impact that this game was having teenage girls’ attitudes to physical activity. What they were seeing included:
• At least a 50% increase in girls from 3rd and 4th year taking part in PE
• A decrease in notes from parents asking for their daughters to be excused from PE
• A decrease in instances of girls not bringing their kit for PE
• A collegiate group of learners engaging with the PE in a supportive fashion with no real interest in high scores or competition
It seems that the positive impact of this resource and its practical application also seemed to have worked on the boys in the school too! Their involvement in any Just Dance related activity seems to be just as, (if not more in some cases) wholehearted and committed than that of some of the girls! This is quite evident in the following videos that show a Just Dance event that took place in the school library. Have a look at the dance crazy pupils of Doon Academy dancing to Eye of the Tiger:
Here they are dancing to a Katy Perry number:
I had a brief discussion with Fiona Ferrie at the end of my visit to try to encapsulate just what had been happening in her school. Have a listen to what Fiona has to say about her experience with Just Dance in her school:
(Transcript to follow)
It seems that this resource has helped encourage a whole school approach to activity through dance. It seems that even the school dinner ladies are using the resource and want activity as part of their daily working lives!
At the Consolarium we are always trying to explore ways in which technologies and games can impact favourably of learning. An awareness of issues of concern about games and technologies are always part of what we do but our job is to see how we can enhance the learning experiences and opportunities of our pupils. Our experience continually shows that thoughtful and realistic application of games by class teachers working in schools throughout Scotland can help enhance teaching and learning. The Doon Academy example is just another example in a long line of work that we have done that shows just how technologies can enhance learning.
Thank you to everyone at Doon Academy and East Ayrshire Council for their support commitment to and with this project.More
- April 15th, 2008
- Derek Robertson
- Comments: 1 Comment Tags: Tags: Consolarium, games based learning, Kawashima, LTS
: Categories Aberdeenshire, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, Nintendo, Western Isles
The past two weeks have been rather hectic, with the promise of more of the same next week. I’m writing this post from the Western Isles EDC offices in Stornoway having completed another leg of the LTS extended Dr Kawashima project.
Last year we carried out a small-scale intervention using Nintendo DS & Dr Kawashima in a P.5/6 class in Dundee. Thew results proved to be so interesting that we managed to access funds that has allowed us to extend this to 16 schoolsd with Nintendo with 16 control groups. The methodology is very similar to what we did last year with the exception that we only have Nintendo groups and control groups this time around and the fact we are using different measures to the Burnett Self-Scale that we used last year. So now things are well under way…
We had a great start last week in Aberdeenshire schools that are taking part. It was an experience, to say the least, to have some headteachers waiting at the front door for my arrival and then to be welcomed with the excited exclamation, “It’s the Nintedno man!” The pre and post tests went like clockwork, no small thanks to Anna Rossvoll, Alison Butcher and Caroline Denning from the ‘Shire’s ICT team as well as Elizabeth Cole from HMIe. What a team!
This week has seen me carrying out the needful in the Western Isles with my colleague from the University of Dundee, Dr David Miller doing likewise in the participating Dundee schools. Next week will see us both doing the same in our partner schools in East-Ayrshire.
I’ve always said that teaching is a great career but it’s an added bonus to see the gleeful reactions and to hear the gasps of disbelief when we tell ther children that they are getting to use the DS in class, and that we are giving them one each for the 10 week duration of the project. Good times.
We’ll all be back to visit the schools to carry out the post-tests in 10 weeks time and then for the analysis…More