I found out about Sploder completely by accident. For a class assignment, students were asked to collaborate in order to create websites focused on the novel The Time Machine. Many groups decided that they wanted to create games for their websites. I had no experience building online games, so I told students to Google "create video games online" and the standout winner among online video game creators was Sploder. My students loved building their own custom games and playing them. Below, I'm embedding a screencast of myself playing (very poorly, I might add) a student-created game, in which the player plays as the time traveller, fighting the morlocks with a mace. I must say that I really love it when I get to teach my students something new, but it's just as much fun when they teach me something new!
I found a blog post about Games for Change on the Education Ad Infinitum website created by Stephanie Krajicek. This website offers a wide range of online games covering topics such as civics, economics, and the environment. Right away, the game "What Race Am I" caught my attention; I'm currently building a curriculum for a class centered on culture and I thought that this game would be a great conversation-starter for my low-level seniors. I downloaded it onto my iphone and played several times. Another game that caught my attention, but I haven't downloaded is "Real Lives 2010," a real-life simulator that randomly selects the country in which the player is born and provides tons of information about that person's environment and culture. Unfortunately, this is one of the few games that is not free. Still, there are a lot of games offered with legitimate educational outcomes. These aren't games to kill time, nor are they games "just for fun." These games are engaging and thought-provoking, everything an educational game should be.
When you open Tone Matrix, it looks similar to the beginning of a game of Minesweeper, a field of shaded boxes. However, as you click or drag across the squares, they light up and create different synthesizer tones. You end up with your own light, random (or carefully calculated, depending on your approach) music. Don't underestimate this game's addictiveness. This is great for music lessons, but also for looking at mathematical patterns. Watch it in action below.
Jessica Pilgreen is a high school English teacher, a Piasa Bluffs Writing Project fellow, and a technology enthusiast. The main purpose of this blog is to help her keep track of all of the fabulous tools out there that she has encountered, but if she can help a few others along the way, that's good, too.