Buckinghamshire SEN Conference June 13th 2017
In June Buckinghamshire County Council hosted a large conference for SEN schools in Buckinghamshire and the surrounding area. This was well attended with over 165 participants.
Partners in the project from both Sweden and the UK attended and spoke at the seminar about the GAMES project and their findings in each of the classes.
Workshop during Teaching Materials Fair in Gothenburg April 25th 2017
At the Teaching Materials Fair in Gothenburg, Games held it a workshop in Sweden for the second time during the project. Two seminars were held. In the first Maria and Angela from London University discussed their findings on game in education and teachers Ros, Jon and Paul shared their work and experience from using games in their schools in the UK. In the second seminar Tom from Stoney Dean School and Erik, Sara and Paola from Lexby School shared outcomes from the project Games from their respective schools. At the ongoing workshop at the fair visitors could also try Kodu and Scratch for themselves.
Amersham Workshop January 27th 2017
In January 2017 Buckinghamshire County Council invited schools to a seminar and workshop to hear about the benefits of using GAMES in the classroom both with mainstream and SEN teaching. Partners from both the UK and Sweden spoke to the schools relaying the ups and downs of introducing games into the classroom, but also giving teachers the opportunity to try the games for themselves, making it a real hands on experience. A wide range of enthusiastic schools attended, keen to learn but also coming with their own ideas and findings. These schools were then keen to keep in touch with the project and to take part by submitting their own case studies.
Dissemination at BETT Conference January 25th 2017
Although not part of the initial project plan, the BETT show, held at the EXCEL Centre in London, presented itself as a unique opportunity to disseminate to a wider audience the findings of the GAMES project. Negotiated and funded by Buckinghamshire County Council, we decided that this was an opportunity not to miss, as it gave us the opportunity to send the GAMES message to an international audience. Over 200 teachers from around the world attended the seminar, in the SEN area of the conference, with speakers from UCL and Stony Dean School. Feedback from the seminar was positive with many teachers requesting further information and to be kept updated with our findings.
Workshop during Teachers’ Night in Gothenburg September 19th 2016
GR Education organizes an annual science event called Teachers’ Night for 400 teachers together with Universeum Science Center and UR Educational Radio. During this years event the project Games held its first workshop for teachers on using programming as a learning tool. At the workshop Thomas Boardman and Neil Strain presented their work with students at Stoney Dean working with Kodu. Erik Martinsson presented Lexby school’s Scratch project and the portal with the students games. After the presentations the teachers visiting were given the chance to try out the different programming tools and reflect on the use of games in class. All the 70 attending teachers were handed an evaluation form to give their input to the project. Nearly all of the 30 teachers answering were positive to use games in class, but of course their is also some challenges. Here are the answers from the teachers.
What would get you to start to use games in your teaching? What do you need? What does your students need?
- The right tools and more knowledge of the range of tools that exists.
- More iPads, and time to get started and learn how it works
- Enough computers or iPads that works. I want to know and tested the game beforehand. And that I don’t have to create accounts for all students but instead they can create them themselves.
- I need more time to test on my own before I can tutor the students. The students need to understand that we play games in order for them to learn new things/increase knowledge.
- More knowledge about the game I am about to use.
- More training.
- That we see it as a pedagogical benefit with the use of games and not just recreation or entertainment.
- That I give the students yet another way to learn.
- Time to deepen my knowledge and that I get the resources to work in smaller groups. And also games made for Apple computers or iPads.
- I need time to get familiar with the material and how it works. The students need an introduction and the opportunity to practice before it is used in the lessons.
- Knowledge about how it works and that it is already installed and ready on the students’ computers.
- Extra allocated time for planning.
- Time to learn how these games works.
- Equipment and knowledge about different games so that I can make a judgement about their purpose. More equipment more SEN-students.
- The games should be constructed in a pedagogical way and adapted to the curriculum.
What possibilities do you think the use of games in education opens up?
- It increases the desire to learn.
- Increased desire to learn and more creativity amongst the students.
- The right game can make education more fun.
- Games can develop communication skills and gives the possibility for quick feedback.
- Invokes interest, commitment and desire to learn.
- Huge possibilities if games are used the right way.
- The possibility to get another way to learn.
- With deepened knowledge you get the opportunity to involve several subjects in your teaching, and work cross curriculum. Cooperation, reasoning and the opportunity to train several skills at once. Children who need to be acknowledged can get this in the game, with the chance to level up and feel successful.
- Creates interest amongst the students and they don’t notice that they are doing school work.
- Students who usually don’t shine gets the chance to do just that.
- The opportunities are plenty; cooperation, communication, creativity. But we are not there yet. You have to know the different digital tools in order to dare to let the children try this in school.
- Most of all the opportunity to let the students themselves adapt the level of difficulty.
- Increased motivation and participation.
- The students can use more of their imagination.
- It gives a good opportunity to capture the students interest.
- Develops logical thinking and are a joyful complement to ordinary teaching. They can learn from each other.
- I am convinced that you can reach and inspire many more students.
What challenges do you think the use of games in education have?
- To involve learning as a part of the process.
- To make it relevant for education and not just a “fun element”.
- That it is too difficult and time consuming. I am as a pedagogue not familiar enough in games for education. For example I was supposed to play Codemonkey with my students but it was not clear enough how I was supposed to get student accounts for all students and it created a barrier to big.
- To get the students to develop thoughts, ideas, knowledge and not just so that they want to progress further in the game.
- It is important to connect games to the curriculum.
- Your input as a teacher is important. Be prepared!
- To create an interest, perhaps the students don’t understand that games is a way to learn.
- The biggest challenge is in the new way of thinking as a teacher. It should not be that you add another part of teaching, but that you integrate the possibility to use games such as Minecraft or other games.
- One challenge is to stay with what the task/work is supposed to be about. Short limited lessons can be a problem since many students need extra time and attention to get started and understand new things.
- To turn the experience from the game into knowledge.
- The courage to break boundaries, we need to see the future as it is and not how it used to be. The school is not always on par with what is going on outside the building. The principals must invest in quality in education for pedagogues and students.
- Functioning IT tools, charging stations and scientific proof of the use in order for it to be “accepted”.
- The challenge is that more pedagogues need to dare to go outside their comfort zone and use digital tools to a greater extent. Even in areas they do not know from the beginning.
- Many children already have too many hours in front of a screen, in school and at home. You need to think about this.
- Where does the line go when it is only for play? Or maybe it is not a problem?
- To think outside the box. And technical competence.
- That you as a pedagogue dares to let go of some control and invite the students.
What did you take home with you from the workshop about Games?
- That a padlet is not the best pedagogical tool.
- Tips, ideas. Already I have an idea I have tested.
- Fun idea to connect Scratch to a fairy tale.
- Interesting with Kodu, but I would rather test Scratch.
- That I would like to take up teaching using Scratch again.
- Everyone can do this.
- Pedagogical tools. That technology doesn’t always work when you want it to J
- Not much since I cannot use these products on the Apple products we have in school. But it was interesting.
- How it gives different students the opportunity to meet on a platform where they can be/become more equal.
- That there are many positive benefits from using games and especially for a certain group of students that really needs it.
- A feeling that the district West Gothenburg’s investment in iPads for students is not based on experience.
- The possibility… The work with coding I did not understand much about.
- That it suites SEN-students really well.
- That you by playing can increase the students input.
- Kodu – a good alternative to Scratch.
- Fun, but a bit too childish for older students. I need to update my knowledge and learn more.
- I became more convinced that this is an inspiring way of work, for both students and teachers.
Transnationational meeting in Gothenburg May 12-13 th 2016
We started up the meeting with a discussion about the project so far in both countries. Teacher at Stony Dean School started a blog to write about the learning process:
The teachers at Lexby are using a google site to show their planning and work:
Tomas Lidén – a project Manager with focus areas on equality, game based learning and sexual health, at GR presented the Swedish school system for the projekt partners.
At the visit at Lexby school students showed their work and invited the guests for lunch at school restaurant BAMBA. After lunch Erik showed us a math and programming lesson with 9 th graders.
Dissemination at fair for teaching materials in Gothenburg in April 2016
During a two day fair for teaching materials students and teachers from Lexby school worked with programming in Scratch and held seminars to show their work with programming. At the fair the students showed visitors their work with making a game based on a fairy tale they had written during swedish lessons.
First transnational project meeting in UK 20th to 22nd of January 2016
During three days in late January a Swedish delegation visited Buckinghamshire in the UK. It was the first meeting between the Swedish and British partners in the project GAMES.
During the meeting the timeline and activities were set and the work of contructing a framework for the evaluation process began. On the second day the delegation visited Stoney Dean School and spent the day with Thomas and Neil and many of the students. In addition of a tour of the School they got the chance to participate in three ICT lesson, focused on editing, e-safety and the game Kodu. The swedish visitors also got to meet the schools pet dog; Tutes. His job was to be a calming friend for the students. The Stony Dean School had a lot of creating going on; cooking, crafting, exploring etc. It was the perfect start to the project and the delegation left Stoney Dean with a lot of inspiration.
The next project meeting will be in May. This time the UK partners will visit Sweden and Lexby School in Partille, just outside Gothenburg.