Tech-ED

Enhancing Education with a Touch of Technology

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Day 4: Zombies, Run

Yes, I took a hiatus from writing about Zombies,Run! for a while now and there is no good reason for that other than mental health.  Zombies,Run on the 4th day ended my mission, and now I am convinced that it is a good app for exercise. I know I said I would give it 5 days for a trial, but the creators that came up with the story re incredibly clever. That is the main draw, is that I can escape my run into this world that is laid out to me in my ears.  Not many people can describe something so well that you forget about what you are doing and lose yourself in the story.

The game has become a book and I am the main character. Yes I am running, and yes it is a little cliché since it is about zombies and that phase might have passed onto something new; however, the game is fun and well funny. The story line continues and I still find myself slipping into the jungle surrounded by a city wall that protects me from the zombies. After 4 days I give this fitness app my approval for beginners.  It is fun and fantastic to take you through your run into another world where Zombies dictate your every move.  The game play is really nice since well you exercise the whole time.

The game continues after your runs too. You can use items you collect to upgrade your city.  I am not sure how much this does for you running, but it will help you and the people you meet survive the zombie assault! Get ready, run, and build you city to defeat the Zombies (if you can) and survive as long as you can! Good luck and boost your life and your miles with Zombies,Run!

Gaming: Bridging to a Better Education

For a long time games have been this separate piece of our lives, that we don’t recognize as being apart of our lives. Many people see them as something they don’t understand, but all along they have bridged into reality. As soon as we talk about them in our daily lives they become a part of our day by definition they are not compartmentalized. The play is compartmentalized, but the actuality is they have been bridged to reality since shortly after their conception.

Games are fantastic, there is a plot for players to follow or a brief introduction if the plot doesn’t matter. Most games are actually measured by gamers in hours it takes to complete the game. Much like a college course you are wanting to take and conquer.  As we all know you gain skills/experience/weapons as you face harder challenges/enemies, and there are twists and turns throughout the game that can alter your path. Many times we all try and find all of the secrets of the game that players must spend time study maps and pay attention to every detail of the game experience.

This is a great time to see education slowly embrace the concept of gaming. It is incredible that the idea behind gaming makes sense, but how can we leverage that in education.  Students are uninterested, yes they are gaining knowledge, but are they truly thinking about the concepts and not just passing tests. With the embrace of design thinking, roundtable discussions, gamification, technology integration, and everything else education is embracing students are more engaged than before. This has intrigued me to watch this happen since it makes sense thinking back to my education.

The only thing that some schools have done is taken this to the online realm, and why shouldn’t we? Students today need to learn how to parse through information that in their life will be continuously thrown at them. Here are some ideas to set your class up as a game more so than it already is:

  1. Plan you curriculum out that you acknowledge a completed unit/level of the class. Many times we do complete them, but then we move right on to the next thing. Take a class and signify this with something fun that is not a test.
  2. If you are online or have a blog/wiki for your course use badges as students get skills. Class Badges is a great starting point.
  3. Teach them the ability to find false information. Use social media to teach students what is important information, show them hash tags, talk to you librarians about internet searching.
  4. Use the things they are interested in to teach them life skills. Do you know about everything Google can do? I surely don’t (more to come on this) but there is plenty to keep us all busy for a while 🙂
  5. If you really want to go 100% gamer turn your class into a LARP. Once students enter your room they are different characters on different missions but all have to work together for a common goal.

A great quote that has resonated with me brought back from a conference. Teachers are like cavemen coming out of the cave, its scary but a necessity for survival. Our students are already using the tools of today and tomorrow, why would we shut that off to teach them about today and tomorrow?

Day 1: Zombies, RUN!

I stretch, take a few deep breaths on a cool misty morning, wondering how this run will go today.  I feel heavy as if the world is on my shoulders, and suddenly it is. I get a radio transmission, that I can’t respond to because the mic is broken.  Great, what a way to start off a Monday. I hear that a city is dependent on my ability to out run, out smart, and out last a horde of ZOMBIES!

As soon as you start-up this running App it grabs you and doesn’t let you go, like a starving horde of zombies. The story starts off with some gripping radio transmissions as you run, soon enough things start to happen, bad things.  The only way to be sure of your characters safety is to run. As I used the App I was starting to get pulled into the story line very quickly. I was running and hitting markers on my route that I might have dreaded prior-to listening to the story of how I can help save a village from zombies.

The app is fantastic so far. Day 1 complete, and the run went well and I was able to forget some aches and pains as I ran. It actually made me want to keep running since my loop was shorter than the 30 minute option I had to choose from on the running options. Three miles later, I could have easily kept running to listen to see what developed. I am actually incredibly excited to see what lies next for me as I gather important items in the story for the town during my run.

If you are about to download the App wait! Make sure to register online first. Also, if you are an avid runner and want to track more precisely everything you are doing this might not be the app for you.  I plan on running tomorrow with my Nike App in the background to track my miles more accurately while I am running. I ran 3 but only tracked .22 km. I am glad the missions are not distance based!

We will see how tomorrow fairs for the 5 day test!

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