Reality is Broken?


Currently reading Jane McGonigal‘s book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How They Can Change the World and am amazed at how it mirrors the work I have been doing recently in Assessment for Learning.

Areas of commonality for both games and assessment for learning are:

Control – gamer/student is at the centre of the experience

Rules – gamer/student operates in a system where there are rules to follow/obey

Goals – gamer/student needs clear goals and actionable steps to reach those goals/targets

Feedback – positive feedback mirrors back to gamer/student what they’ve accomplished and is both qualitative and quantitative

Visible results – gamer/student needs & wants to see results directly, immediately and as vividly as possible

Is this why the Assessment for Learning work has resonated so strongly with me?


Is this why games based learning has held my attention for so long as the way forward?

Probably Obviously a combination of both!

Inspire Innovate 2010: Extras You Asked For :-)

Here are the extra planning and programming bits and pieces that you asked for in the workshop yesterday:

Planning Proformas/ Grids

Backward Mapping Proforma

Blooms MI Matrix

My wiiMusic Worksheets

wiiMusic booklet 1

wiiMusic booklet 2


Final Task Rubric  

My wiiSports Tennis Plan

Tennis Skills + Planning Sheet  

I hope that these  sheets help guide you in  planning and using games consoles in your classroom.  

Please link back here so we can all see what you have tried in your classroom.

Who says that learning is all not all fun and games????

P3240567    P3240566  P3240565  P3240562

If you need/want any other info or help or ideas please just leave a comment here 🙂

Inspire Innovate 2010


  1. Games are a shared experience.
  2. Games build community  – they are played socially at school.
  3. Meaning is constructed as a group – individuals contribute to group understandings.
  4. Language is played with – used in different ways to make different meanings.
  5. Language becomes more visible through a game – it has shared context, shared understandings and shared meanings.
  6. The experience, and the consequent language, is like “playdough” – it can be added to, moulded, pulled apart, re-arranged, viewed, discussed, evaluated, improved; first as a group, then individually; first orally and then written.
  7. Immersion in the experience is child-centred, lots of time is spent on student initiated and led exploration of the game and/ or the game world. Students become part of the experience: In the game directly: Participating in the game – manipulating the characters and events – “living the game”: As a springboard for real life, authentic learning.
  8. Learning outcomes are planned in detail – shared explicitly with students to support meta-language and deep knowledge.
  9. Learning indicators are specific and focused: one scene or setting, one character or one object.





Endless Oceans – Tom Barrett



Cooking Mama LTS Consolarium

Nintendogs – LTS Consolarium

Samba De Amigo – LTS Consolarium


  • Authentic, real world tasks
  • Rich tasks
  • Cross-curricula
  • Creative – many ways to fulfill the assessment
  • On and off the computer
  • Expands across KLAs
  • Whole class input
  • Contract work



Dolphin Island HSIE, S&T

wiiSports Maths – Tom Barrett

Drawn to Life English – Writing

Brain Training & Maths Training – LTS Consolarium


  • More focused on one KLA area
  • Individual, pairs, trios, smaller groups


Peter Richardson has a site that features a collaborative list of wii games and associated Year levels and activity focus.




Start with learning outcomes

Identify a game to support intended outcomes

Mind map, backward map, Blooms/Multiple Intelligences matrix.

Real world, authentic tasks.

wii’ve Got The Music 1

Future Directions in Literacy Conference – Sydney University

This term I have been using the wiiMusic Game with my class to develop knowledge and understandings about music. Here are a couple of posts from my class blog – 09AllStars – all about what we’ve been doing.

wii’ve Got the Music

We are studying music for the next few weeks, and we will be using the wii to help us explore and experience a huge range of instruments.

We used our Golden Time today for the intial taste of what the wii can do – everyone had a quick turn at playing an instrument and we all had a bit of a laugh as well.

Stay tuned for more posts on what else we are doing with the wii Music.






















Exploring the wiiMusic

Over the past week we have been playing the wiiMusic in small groups so that we can practise the activities and get better at the games.

We have been playing lots of different instruments and hearing and accompanying many different tunes. Its quite hard at times to play tunes that you haven’t heard before. We have found that you get better – and it becomes easier – the more you practice and the more familiar you are with both the instrument and the tune.

We have found out about “pitch” by playing the “Pitch Perfect” game – you have to listen carefully to match the notes that are the same, or put the notes in ascending order by listening to them. Sometimes this is hard, and the timer is counting down so you have to hurry!


wiiMusic – Perfect Pitch from KimPericles on Vimeo.

We Love the wii :-)

Future Directions in Literacy Conference – Sydney University

I have used the wii in my classroom quite a lot over the past two years, here are notes on a number of games I have used  with my Stage 3 (Years 5 & 6 ) class.

Pwii – Tennis

Here’s a blog post my class wrote when we used the wii for our PE lessons.


We have finally started our “PWii” lessons. We call them PWii (rather than PE – physical education) because we are using the Wii to play tennis.

                                              Sandy Tennis 2




Each group of students has written up a lesson on a tennis skill, and they teach the rest of the class how to do the skill. We play outside using a wide range of bats and racquets to learn the skills we need to play inside on the Wii.

Tennis skills 1           Tennis skills 2        Tennis skills 3




Each pair plays the Wii in the classroom, and we choose the “best of 3 games” option. When everyone has had a turn we will each play other students and have a “Round Robin” tournament.

                              Playing Wii         Playing Wii 2  




We hope to put together either a wiki of our work or at least a page to show you what we’ve been up to  :smile:

                                                     You win     




wii Tennis was the first experience I had with using the wii in the classroom. The class was really excited about using the wii as no-one had one at that time and so enthusiasm was at an all time high!

The game linked into the curriculum through English (Talking & Listening, Reading and Writing) as well as PE: 

  • we researched the types of PE skills necessary to play tennis
  • divided these up and pairs or trios of students then devised lessons to teach the skills to the rest of the class
  • together we used the internet to locate some appropriate warm ups, stretches and cool downs to use at the beginning and end of the lessons.
  • we located videos of how to perform the skills in tennis so that the students knew what they were to teach
  • students wrote up their notes into lesson plans
  • talking and listening skills and strategies were discussed with the class and a set of “Super Speakers” and “Great Listeners” charts were constructed to remind students of the expectations of the groups when students were teaching lessons
  • small groups of students taught these skills over a period of 3 weeks out in the playground
  • inside, the wii was set up and groups of students rotated through it playing tennis  – to get the feel for the game and the skills they were teaching
  • after all the students had taught their lessons we arranged a tennis tournament inside the classroom, using the wii


Mario and Sonic at the Olympics

It was a bit of a surprise to find ourselves using this game for poetry! However, a stand out of the game were the different characters and their individual responses to winning or losing the athletic events. Each of the characters were different colours and we discussed how the colours reflected each character’s personality.

Then students thought about the colours themselves, and how each colour looked, felt, smelled, the emotions it evoked, and even the tastes it reminded us of.

Lastly we put both aspects together and wrote poems that showed how the colour and the character  linked together to really show what the characters were like.


My colour jumps with joy and relief!

My colour sounds like a creaky hall way.

My colour feels optimistic.

My colour feels like the mysterious night sky



My colour is dark as the night sky.

My colour sounds like storms on a rainy day.

My colour is as evil as the grim reaper.

My colour feels like a touch of death.

My colour is the colour of horror.

My colour tastes like a shadow waiting to be unleashed.

My colour smells like darkness.

My colour is mysterious.


My colour is black.

My character is Shadow.      





My colour feels like the mysterious night sky





Literacy is my home, my comfort zone: I know what to do and what to expect.

So I’ve been a bit uncomfortable for the past few weeks, as our wiiMusic unit develops and grows.

Enabling the students to discover, explore and make connections with what they know and are familiar with about music and what they are learning about music through playing with the wiiMusic game, is a vital part of the learning cycle.

We have been talking our way through the game, the concepts and the terminology, investigating ideas and thoughts more fully through art as well.

We’ve written some informational texts, but I have been uneasy and at a bit of a loose end and I think it’s because I haven’t been able to harness the fun and excitement of the wiiMusic game into the literacy learning of the class.

I have tried to placate myself with thoughts that my students are learning about music – the language, the sounds, the instruments etc – but I was a little apprehensive about the lack of meaningful literacy moments that I could take advantage of.

DSC07402I LOVE creating and crafting texts with my students: of playing around with writing so that it connects to readers and says exactly what you want it to say – but the opportunity had not arisen ……. Until today!

Today we shared ideas –

We built on each others words,

We explored vocab together,

We searched for the appropriate phrases,

We put images into words.

We created together!


This class is different to the classes I’ve had over the last couple of years: as a group they are much more reserved, they are less confident in themselves, there are fewer risk takers, there are more early phase ESL students in the group, and as a group they are less academically engaged in school.

So the strategies I used

⇒ were modified,

⇒ the positive reinforcement more frequent and specific,

⇒ the scaffolding was greater,

⇒ the re-phrasing and modeling more explicit, and

⇒ thinking time was more individual rather than shared

But the results were astounding!

Once the initial shyness was overcome there was much clapping and supporting of the efforts of all!

A shared purpose.

A shared pride.

A shared success.

Writing rocks!

21st Century Pedagogy Conference #3


Or what can it look like in the classroom?

“Create Something Extraordinary” – Oceans of Info Project

This is what we were studying as a class:

  •       Sustainability focus, environmental issues nationally and globally.
  •        Mapping, locating oceans and seas around Australia and the world.
  •       Food chains, adaptation of species

Which led to a negotiated Individual enquiry project.

Rubric – negotiated with students, expectations high and clear.

Oral presentation of information highlighted – talking & listening.

Researching – reading, writing, playing

Planning – writing, reading

Performing – negotiating, practicing, 

Outcomes/ presentations can be seen on AllStars blog.



Games in the classroom!

DS Lites, wii, Playstation

  •       Contexts for learning
  •       Springboards to spark and inspire
  •       Collaborative knowledge gathering
  •       Practising skills, attitudes
  •       Authentic purposes and audiences
  •       Group responsibility
  •       Cultural relevance

Find examples and write ups of using these games here!

Dolphin Island

wii Tennis

Learning Teaching Scotland’s Nintendogs Project



Well that’s my story, now its time for you to come on board, to take time to explore and play with these tools that offer so much  – especially in the areas of connecting, communicating, collaborating  and creating.


Your task is ……..


To play

To discover

To choose something new


That could fit in your classroom and that you would share with your class or your staff, tomorrow or the next day…….


Go on, try for yourself ………. What’s the worst that could happen?


Here is a friendly slideshow that reassures (and offers practical advice) for …. facing the ICT  elephant 🙂





21st Century ICT Pedagogy Conference #2



The world has changed.

The students have changed.

Knowledge and learning have changed.

Schools and teaching have changed ???????


Here are two short presentations to promote some discussion:






See Think Wonder


Child Centred

  •       Individualised / personalised
  •       Information skills for active strategies to research
  •       Literacy for authentic and personal purposes and audiences
  •       Interests / enquiry focus




Sir Ken Robinson – “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” TED Talk

“If human intelligences were limited to the abilties measured in IQ tests, most human activity would stop, or would never have started …..”

Out of Our Minds, Ken Robinson, 2001. Pg 102


Where to go for exciting, web-based tools to spark and interest?

Try ……. Cool Tools for Schools wiki




21st Century Pedagogy Conference 2009 #1


21st Century Pedagogy Conference 2009

The “c” Generation

connect, communicate, collaborate, create

Innovations in ICT Practical Workshop: 

Quality Tools and Quality Teaching in a Quality Learning Environment

Here’s the story plan for today:  welcome to my session on using exciting tools with your students to explore, communicate and create together in your classrooms.



Using the NSW Quality Teaching Framework, the three dimensions of pedagogy that underpin the teaching and learning that occurs in classrooms are:

Quality Learning Environment:  refers to pedagogy that creates classrooms where students and teachers work productively in an environment clearly focused on learning. Such pedagogy sets high and explicit expectations and develops positive relationships between teachers and students and among students.


Significance:  refers to pedagogy that helps make learning meaningful and important to students. Such pedagogy draws clear connections with student’s prior knowledge and identities, with contexts outside of the classroom, and with multiple ways of knowing or cultural perspectives.


Intellectual Quality:  refers to pedagogy focuses on producing deep understanding of important concepts, skills,and ideas. Such pedagogy treats knowldege as something that requires active construction and requires students to engage in higher-order thinking and to communicate substantively about what they are learning.

From: NSW Department of Education and Traing, Professional  Learning and Leadership Development.

These are the basics that we are starting and finishing with today – it is the teaching that allows our students to connect, to communicate, to collaborate and to create. It is the quality of the teaching, the quality of the relationships, and the quality of the communication that will make the difference. Technology is the tool that can help us to help our students. It’s the “teach” not the tools that make the difference.


Sort It Out