BlogRoll – The Minecraft Teacher

June 5, 2013

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Joel Levin has a great blog where he chronicles his use of Minecraft in the classroom.  Find more information here.


Colby Dauch’s visit to another dimension

June 4, 2013

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Colby Dauch, President and Chief Game Designer of Plaid Hat Games, (Summoner Wars, Mice & Mystics, City of Remnants, Dungeon Run)  just posted this fantastic piece about life, work, and inspiration…

My Visit to Another Dimension

A while back a man sent me a video of his elementary school class at indoor recess.  It was a window to another dimension. In this other dimension Summoner Wars is insanely popular.  There were a couple dozen games of Summoner Wars being played simultaneously.  The handful of kids not playing Summoner Wars were watching others play.  I had a hard time registering what I was seeing.  I know that there are thousands of Summoner Wars players.  I have even seen several games going at once during a tournament setting like GenCon.  Those experiences are uplifting, but they also feel like drops of fandom in a greater ocean that is board game and card game fandom.  This image of a class full of kids ALL playing the game was something different.  Read More…


Destination Castle Panic!

November 23, 2012

My wife and I are first time managers of my son’s Destination Imagination (DI) team. DI is a creative, problem-solving team competition for kids. In our case, kids in grades 3-5.For the first meeting our goal was to introduce the kids to each other and stress the teamwork necessary for a successful team. Destination Imagination supplies many ‘instant challenges.’ Instant challenges present the kids with a problem that can only be solved using teamwork.

Rather than use a DI challenge I decided to use the cooperative board game Castle Panic. In Castle Panic players must work together to prevent goblins, orcs and trolls from destroying their castle. This is accomplished by playing cards that damage the monsters as they move down the board.

Each player takes turns playing as many cards as they can to rid the land of the monsters. Unfortunately not all cards can injure all creatures in all areas. The castle has four zones circling it. Swordsman is the closest, followed by knight, then archers and finally the forest.

At the end of each player’s turn the monsters move one area closer to the castle, after which they break down the walls surrounding the castle and finally the castle itself.

Each player may trade one card to another player during their turn. This is where the teamwork comes in. Players must think ahead, work together, and trade the appropriate cards to insure others players have what they need to damage monsters on their turn.

It was amazing to watch a group of kids that just met break the ice and begin working together, strategizing, and trading cards. As the the monsters began breaking down the walls and threatening the castle, “We’ re gonna die! ” and “Trade me this card, trade me this card! ” could be heard throughout the house.

Give it a try at your next group meeting when you need to break the ice and let me know how it goes.

Destination Imagination Site

Castle Panic Site

Tabletop episode of Castle Panic

Institute of Play – Introducing Playtime Online Webinar

October 19, 2012

PlaytimeOnline-483Join Institute of Play next Wednesday, October 24 at 4:00PM EDT for the first Playtime Online webinar, “What Can Game Designers Do For Students In Schools?”

Now more than ever, policy makers, parents, educators and others are exploring possibilities to improve student learning. For the past 4 years, game designers at Mission Lab within Quest to Learn have been closely collaborating with teachers, designing, play-testing, and producing game-like curricula, games and other materials to maximize learning for students. In this Playtime Online session, Mission Lab designers and curriculum specialists will discuss game-like learning experiences at Quest to Learn, emphasizing the value games and game-like materials add in the classroom and the powerful effect that these materials have on student learning. They will also discuss the experience of bringing their professional skills to bear within an unique collaborative environment.  Read more.


Free Science Lesson with LEGO MINDSTORMS on Farming

October 10, 2012

lego_logoThis week’s free lesson is on farming! Using your LEGO MINDSTORMS, simulate the planting of crops by farmers, followed by applying fertilizer with chemical sprays. Develop an understanding of how crops are sown and cared for on a large scale through the building and programming of a control system to place objects at regular intervals, followed by accurate delivery of fertilizer. Discuss the changes in farming practises and research potential future farming solutions.

Click here for this weeks lesson.


Education Nation: Why educators aren’t sold on video games

September 27, 2012

Video games are increasingly popular learning tools in classrooms, but not all teachers are sold on the benefits.

Day two of NBC’s Education Nation summit highlighted the potential for video games to tailor material to a student’s individual level and allow teachers to track student progress. But while games can provide valuable information about how students learn, there is still little evidence that video games positively impact student achievement. And many teachers are skeptical about incorporating games in the classroom, even if it means students would be more invested in lessons.  Read more…


Free Science Lesson Plans with LEGO MINDSTORMS!

September 17, 2012

lego_logoLego UK is offering free Lego Mindstorm lesson plans. This week’s FREE Science Lesson Plan focuses on environmental pests. Read more…