Worth watching – Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

Worth watchingJane McGonigal spoke at a TED conference in February 2010 on how gaming can be used to make a better world. This was a very controversial talk (as can be seen by the online comments).


Gaming could engage students in learning who are failing to achieve the required standards, yet in games are achieving fantastic results. Acknowledging their games and the skills required to play them may be a start. McGonigal talks about Wold of Warcraft, a game that requires great collaborative and problem solving skills where gamers are working to the best of their abilities. It wouldn’t hurt to let a student show the class how a skill they are learning, such as collaborating, is used in a game they are playing. Using components of games, such as exciting epic stories, can be a way to introduce a classroom activity that requires solving a real-world problem. Using web 2.0 tools that allow for global collaboration builds the collaborative community, and allowing students to achieve small goals along the way, may maintain their interest. Embracing gaming is embracing a student’s interest and learning strengths.

TED Conversations

TED has a new platform for sharing ideas: Conversations. It is a space where, once registered, you can join or start a conversation that will belong to the category of ‘ideas’, ‘questions’, or ‘debates’. This platform provides students with access to a global community. A student could question this global community on how they deal with bullies, or receive feedback on an idea, or start a debate with hundreds of people from around the world on whether women should be on the frontline. Registration is free. 

TED Conversations

What’s on in July?

Below are some of the events on offer by SLV and SLAV for the month of July. Some events may require registration.




Tuesday July 5th (4.00pm – 6.00pm), ASAL Conference keynote address and literary awards:

ASAL Conferene keynote keynote address and literary awards

Tuesday July 19th (6.30pm – 8.30pm), TEDxMelbourne: innovation networking event:





Friday July 29th (9.30am – 3.30pm), Communicate, collaborate, create: and think critically!:

Communicate, collaborate, create: and think critically!

Dr. Joyce Valenza’s TLNing and SLAV conference

Educators around the world are benefiting from the work of Dr. Joyce Valenza. Dr. Valenza is a teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School in Erdenheim, Philadelphia, USA. Dr. Valenza is an inspiration to many in her endeavour to provide the best learning opportunities for her students and to inspire educators to use ICT tools in their teaching and learning, to equip themselves and their students with the tools they need to evolve in the 21st century world of multi-information. Her work is accessible through her various networks. One of these is TLNing , a place ‘for those of us who connect, teach, share, and lead in new information landscapes’. There are close to 6000 members of the ning, and here you will find educators sharing their experiences with web 2.0, trying new things, giving tips on how to connect with students, creating networks, undertaking professional development, and being inspired by each other. Dr. Valenza created the ning, and is an active member. Once you register you will be able to access member pages, read blogs, view any videos and photos, access the forum, and more.

Dr. Valenza will be in Australia to speak at the SLAV conference ‘Communicate, collaborate, create: and think critically!’ in Melbourne on 29th July. There are still some places available at the conference. The registration form is below:

Communicate, collaborate, create: and think critically! 

FUSE learning resource: 1000Poppies

1000Poppies has been created by History Teachers’ Association of Victoria, Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, and DEECD. It is a place where students from around the world can share their feelings, experiences, and stories about war. Students are able to use historical research and interviews with key stakeholders of Remembrance Day. The site aims to increase student appreciation of war and their participation in acts of commemoration.


You can register as an individual on the site, or register a class (suitable for Levels 3-6 VELS and VCE history). Teachers, there is a teacher’s blog where you can get information on how to use 1000Poppies with your students. You are also able to share images and videos, and contribute to the discussion of groups around the world.

Visit the Poppy Field, where people plant their poppy and leave a message when registering to the site.

FUSE learning resource: Tomorrow Sport

Tomorrow Sport is a competition by Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association (VITTA), for primary schools (grades five and six) and secondary schools (years seven and eight). It is a team-based competition with sport as the inspiration and source material. The teams complete the challenge over a six week period (approximately one class per week), developing numeracy, literacy, social and personal development, citizenship, and collaborative and cooperative learning skills along the way. Each challenge involves collecting data from the activity and uploading a response to the Tomorrow Sport website. The first version is based on AFL, and the material you would be provided with includes links to curriculum standards and rubrics. If you are interested in being part of the competition, contact VITTA Project Officer Paul Wright (Paulw@vitta.org.au), and pass this information on to any teachers who may be interested, such as the PE staff. 

Tomorrow Sport

FUSE learning resource: CC sMash

CC sMash, created by The Arts Centre, will be released on August 18th and will allow students to create, attribute, and share their own audio work, while learning about using material correctly via the creative commons open license framework. The creative commons site provides a library of sound from which to create your mashups. This site is a must to show to your school’s music teachers and ICT teachers, who can start planning to bring their students plenty of fun mixed with learning.

CC sMash 

FUSE learning resource: Making History: Research, Create and Share

Making History: Research, Create and Share is a resource that has been developed by Museum Victoria. The site provides teachers and students with the resources they need to research, plan, create and share community digital histories. This is a fantastic resource for a local history project or a family history assignment. As part of the resources and tools, you are given access to videos offering advice from experts such as historians and curators, and you have access to the forum. If you are not sure what to base an assignment on, there are a list of themes, which allow you to explore resources by topic, such as ‘Living with natural disasters’, ‘World events, local impacts’, and ‘Migration and cultural identity’.

Making History  

FUSE (Find/Use/Share/Education)

FUSE is the DEECD’s (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) centralised portal of online teaching and learning resources for Victorian schools. Teachers and students can search, share, and create learning experiences that use web 2.0 technologies.

All content on the site has been checked for unsuitable material, and is quality assured. The portal has search pages for Early Childhood, Primary Students, Secondary Students, and Teachers. They are appealing to their intended audience and are easy to navigate, such as the Early Childhood page below:

FUSE Early Childhood

FUSE can be looked at and searched by anyone. However, if you are a Victorian teacher you can login to FUSE. Below is a video created by FUSE that explains the benefits of this:

FUSE tutorial 1

By logging in, FUSE becomes a workspace where educators can create resource packages that their class, or anyone, can view 24/7. A resource package created for a particular assignment would have the assignment sheet, an assessment rubric, subject weblinks, and any other relevant material in it. Below is a video by FUSE that explains how to share the packages:

FUSE tutorial 3

Selected organisations have created learning resources that are shared on FUSE. They are designed to connect students, teachers, and educational communities. The features of the new 2010-2011 resources include:

  • ‘intuitive web based graphic interfaces
  • blog and wiki spaces
  • gaming and simulation scenarios
  • social networking opportunities
  • interactivity
  • mobile and phone applicaitons
  • virtual worlds’. 

These resources are fantastic, and next week Bright ideas will be looking at some of the best of them.