In the book, Karl does a great job of countering the prevailing arguments that gaming is frivolous, has little academic merit,and if done well, is too costly. In fact, Karl details a number these kids are wired differently and that we need to start integrating new techniques and tools into the classroom - to better engage them.
There are some really great examples of simple and inexpensive (often free) activities that can bring gaming into the classroom and better engage your students. One that's been around forever, but remains effective is the Jeopardy by Powerpoint. If you click on the image to the left, you can download a PPT document that you can use as a template to build your own - discipline specific - Jeopardy games. Edit the file to create your own categories, answers and questions - it's really simple.
Another great tool is Hot Potatoes - a free (under certain conditions) download for Windows, Mac and even Linux. With Hot Potatoes you can create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises. There are plenty of others, but this is a snapshot of the type of tools available.
On the high end, are some emerging web-based tools that include:
- FlowPlay is a virtual world community - in beta - where users play browser-based casual games as their own created anime-like avatar.
- Story Blender - an online collaborative video production site - from the founder of Cyworld - where users "blend" together media to create rich, interactive stories.
- Katura, a collaborative video site where friends can create, edit and share video content.
- Metaplace - a revolutionary virtual world platform that provides an open, easy-to-use interface allowing users to create virtual worlds that can run anywhere and enable users to play games, socialize, create content and conduct commerce. These virtual worlds can be embedded in a blog, Facebook or MySpace and even allow users to link virtual worlds.
- Animoto an online application that lets users create free 30-second music videos by uploading photos selecting and music - very simple. [courtesy of Patricia Donaghy]
- BeFunky provides users with tools for uploading a photo and creating an avatar, cartoon, digital painting or comic of themselves for their blogs, websites, and social networks.