Bam! radio network is a great resource for teachers. Bam! (acronym for body and mind) includes programming from education organizations sharing thoughts, ideas and strategies in the field of education. I think podcasts are a great tool in certain circumstances. You have to remember who your audience is since most people are more visual learners and may not focus as well when simply listening to a podcast. Would I use them in the classroom, maybe…I think it depends on the length of the podcast and if I really feel that it is the best way to convey the message across.
The podcast I listened to looked at how to use game-based learning, specifically alternative reality games (ARG), in the classroom to enhance student learning.
What is ARG you ask? Basically, it’s an interactive story where the players, aka the students, use multimedia and technology to find hidden clues and puzzles and solve them to get to the next part in the plot. Now, this is a very simplified definition of ARGs. The podcast goes on to describe an example where the teacher uses Homer’s The Odyssey as the basis for his game, having students go on their own odyssey by solving puzzles and clues in order to slowly get to the end.
Our culture is in a bit of a sensory-overload at times and I think some teachers have a hard time keeping student focus in the classroom. I think gaming in the classroom is a great way to maintain students’ interest, especially if the material appears too dry and dull. I think the struggle comes when identifying whether the students are actually learning the concepts or just playing for the sake of the win or the rewards.
If you’re interested in reading more about ARG in the classroom, here are some good places to start:
- Alternative Reality Game by Alphonso Gonzalez
- Alternative Reality Games in the Classroom by Anastasia Salter
- Turning Your Gamified Classroom Into an ARG by Teched Up Teacher
- Secret Agent Students: How to Bring an Alternate Reality Game to Your Classroom by Chris Aviles