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What Super Mario taught me about learning and success

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Over the last four years, I have embraced and implemented gamification and game design principles in my U.S. History classroom. When I have presented this idea to colleagues, there is sometimes a fear that this might lead to a loss of rigor or relevance. The most common misunderstanding is that video games are just easy fun. It is true that games are entertaining, but successful video games must also efficiently teach the skills of the game while engaging the player with meaning and purpose;
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Using iCivics and gamification to teach students about citizenship

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Civic education is one of the most important things students will learn in school. Civics is where students gain an understanding of what is required of the citizens of a nation in order to maintain that nation's political structure. In America, this involves an active and informed participation in the democratic process. Making sure students understand the founding constitutional principles and the rights, liberties, and responsibilities that come with citizenship is vital. In a technologica
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How to use Padlet and QR codes in the classroom

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We are lucky that we live in an age where numerous resources are readily available at our fingertips. The downfall is the lack of time we have to implement and fully discover their possible advantages and disadvantages. Recently, I experimented with adding the app Padlet to my classroom. Creating an ‘online resource box’ for students Initially, I created a Padlet page as an “online resource box” for students to access wh
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How games help students become successful readers

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Editor's Note: Guest author Ivan Kaltman is the creator of Sydney’s World, a family-friendly role-playing game that helps children improve language and literacy skills. Visual presentation of text is often overlooked as an instructional method to help students become successful readers. Reluctant readers such as dyslexic students often have inefficient visual tracking and difficulties in serial scanning of print. These studen