Cyber Learning and Gaming-the Future of Education

Norrell Edwards, CEI Intern. As we continue further into the 21st century, we’re seeing more and more alignment of education with technological innovation. Cyberlearning, a way of using networked computers to mediate learning. The Internet is an endless, massive resource. But where can you look for these tools? PBS’s Learning Media website (containing materials developed under a grant from the National Science Foundation) is one website to inspire you. Just watching the videos on this website is a great way to imagine new ways to innovate your students. A few examples of featured teaching tools are: Technology Timeline, Forgotten Inventors and the MIT’s Augmented Reality tool. Not only can you have your students go on these websites and interact with these games, but you can use it as a stepping stool for  creating your own games as well and teaching programs as well.

Students have fun and learn through playing Minecraft at Del Mar Middle School in Tiburon, CA.

Students have fun and learn through playing Minecraft at Del Mar Middle School in Tiburon, CA.

Technology Timeline. With this interactive timeline students, grade 3-12, can scroll through and then click on dates to learn about the creation of a variety of inventions. You could easily have you students go on this website to enhance their science learning, but perhaps the next step would be to inspire students to make their own times lines. Maybe for an interdisciplinary angle, you could encourage your students to make a timeline that features scientific innovations from outside the United States.

Forgotten Inventors. In the similar , this website also features an interactive times for grades 3-12 but with many often overlooked inventions of our times. Students will revel in the history of some of their favorite everyday conveniences like blue jeans or the frisbee.

MIT’s Augmented Reality Tool.  First the real world component: the premise is that the students are researchers from the future, and it is their responsibility to travel to the past to alter 21st century Cambridge in order to save their present.  The students wonder around their campus with an electronic device, (such as a phone or tablet) looking at a map and making note of things that need change.  After making their notes they will then votes for laws to alleviate some of the problems they’ve noted.  This is great activity that intersects in multiple disciplines from technology, problem solving,  geography, understanding public policy, service learning and more. Now how can other students outside of Cambridge use it?  MIT’s gamebuilder allows students  to virtually  build their own games that can the be fitted to their own location.

The website includes several cyberlearning  games, including Starlogo Nova,  The Radix Endeavor, and Vanished. So go check it out for yourself sometime.