Monthly Archives: July 2015

Today’s Meeting: a Teacher Like you

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Meet the teacherTeachers

Teacher from the heart, Fran loves his profession. He works in a bilingual public school in South Spain. Not happy with that he also spends his holidays teaching in developing countries. This multifaceted teacher is a game lover, traveller and an amateur actor.

1. Who are you?

My name is Francisco Contreras, but everybody calls me “Fran”. I was born 30 years ago in a small town of Spain, in my 15 I moved to the capital. I’m a learning lover. When I finished my studies as a teacher in 2007, I though I wanted keep learning. I have a Bachelor of Media and Communications and I also started to study History and Geography.

2. What do you do?

I am primary school teacher. In 2007 I passed the public examination to become teacher in public schools in Spain, since then I teach to kids from 1st to 7th grade. Currently, I live in Seville, if you ask one of the most beautiful of Spain.

Every summer, I spend my holidays teaching children in developing countries. I have been in Colombia and Kenya and I’m sure I will repeat, it is a great experience!

3. Why did you decide to become a teacher?

It all started when I was a child: I loved to go to school and everything related with it. To learn and stay with new and old friends was my motor.

I like to stay with kids, we understand very well together. I believe to work with kids makes you happy. The daily work is an endless source of anecdotes. But you have to like it, otherwise it can be exhausting!  

4. What is the best part of being in contact with the children’s universe?

With no doubt, the connection I get with my students through motivation and fun. They can find a referent into the teacher’s figure: I become an example and they accept new activities and methods to learn. Once you have their confidence you can have a great impact on their lives.

I have learned how to see my daily problems from another perspective. To live surrounded by kids makes me realize that, as adults, sometimes we make things too difficult.

5. The best anecdote about your profession?

Many! From the one that I can see at the classroom until the ones they tell me about their lives… 

But some of the answers in exams have nothing to do with the theory, they can have a great imagination… Sometimes I have to stop correcting just to laugh.

6. Do you play games? Which is your favorite media?

In my spare time I love to play videogames, I’m old school, you know. I also play sports, board games and I used to play theatre.

7. Do you think to allow your kid to play games is positive?

Yes, always with moderation a respecting times and obligations. Games are engaging for kids. It is a good combination games to play and develop problem solving and mental capability.

8. What do you think about gamification? And, specifically, in education?

Actually, gamification is my main teaching method. It seems to be more motivating a game that a theoretical book. We must keep in mind that they are children. Children like to play. If we mix learning with a specific subject they will learn without notice it.

A motivated child will learn for sure, while a non-motivated child may not learn that much.

9. What do you think about Milk Hunt? How did you get to know it?

I think it can be a great complementary tool together with the school lessons. With Milk Hunt children practice mental calculation, subject who can be a bit boring on paper. A friend living in Denmark told me about it, she though it could be useful for my work.

10. What is your score in the game?

No score yet! I have Android, I’m looking forward to have the Android version of Milk Hunt available soon.

Fran Contreras

Teacher in Bilingual Public School

By Ángela R.

MEET the teacher!

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Meet the teacherMeet the teacher

Born in Switzerland, Katia S. has Mexican and Swiss genes. She is 30 and a great traveller: this lovely teacher has lived and worked in Switzerland, México and Denmark. Katia is a primary teacher since 2007. She works in a bilingual school in Copenhagen for 6 to 9 years old children.What an international background!

1. Who are you?

My name is Katia. I moved to Copenhagen in September 2014 to start my job at one of Denmark’s bilingual schools. My mother is from Mexico and my father is Swiss. I’m married to a Danish man.

2. What do you do?

I’m a primary school teacher. I obtained my teacher-diploma in Zurich, Switzerland and have been working as a teacher for 1st to 4th grade children, since 2007. After having grown up in Zurich, I was living and working in Mexico for the last 3 years.

3. Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I always knew that I love to work with people. I was very interested in psychology as well as in sociology. I see the job as a possibility to make a change in the world, to accompany those little human beings during a very important time in their life – to help them navigate in our society, to keep them curious and show them how to find the answers to their questions.

4. What is the best part of being in contact with the children’s universe?

I love the fact that children from the age group, which I’m teaching are very honest, curious, creative and emotional. I can always learn from them as well as they can learn from me. The happiness and pride you can see on their faces, when they understand something or can notice an improvement, is really nice.

5. The best anecdote about your profession?

I love the honesty of my students. Whenever I have new hairstyle or new clothes, they will always say what they think about it. Things like “you look great with that new hair”, “I don’t like your new shoes” or even “You have to cut your nails” are my daily conversations. They can have strong opinions about almost everything! If you want a brutally honest feedback go into one of my classes!

6. Do you play games? Which is your favorite media?

During my childhood I didn’t really play games on computers and I never had a Gameboy or Nintendo… but I always enjoyed playing different games, where you had to improve your skills or to find the best strategy to succeed.

7. Do you think to allow your kid to play games is positive?

Yes. By playing games you don’t only have fun and learn whatever the game is teaching us but also focus, patience, consistency, to handle frustration and success, follow and understand rules, remember things, find strategies and much more.

8. What do you think about gamification? And, specifically, in education?

I play a lot with my students. I´ve been working in different cultures and with different age groups and what they all have in common is their motivation and joy when it comes to playing games. The challenge is to find the right games for your purpose. Learning with fun is definitely the best way to learn. There are some subjects and contents in school that require a lot of repetition and memory skills, what can become boring with time. Making a game out of the repetitive exercises works very well and is motivating for my students.

9. What do you think about Milk Hunt? How did you get to know it?

My friend in Copenhagen presented it to me. I immediately liked the idea of connecting math-exercises with a game. I like the fact that you can choose the difficulty level in math. I find it as well very motivating to get new challenges when one level is passed. The summaries are also very practical for us, teachers, or for parents, so they follow the child’s improvement. I believe Milk Hunt is a good alternative to other games, for those parents who allow their children to play on tablets/smartphones.

10. What is your score in the game?

Very poor!! My problem weren’t the math exercises but the actual playing skills with jumping and collecting milk.

I´m sure my students would win!!

Katia S.

Teacher in European bilingual school

By Ángela R.

 

Gamification

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Gamification            kangaroo_speech13

Do you belong to the generation who saw the very first beginning of videogames? The black screen with green letters has give way to an infinite spectrum of games.

Today’s kids know exactly how to find a game in your phone, or how to unlock the tablet, to find their favourites games from all the apps and start the game. This generation is the generation of technology.

The traditional education system of learning by books, homework and papers has proven to be good before; when there were no computers, Smartphones and tablets around us. But… is it good enough in this technological and changing environment?

What if we make children learn trough the games?

Well, that’s what gamification is:

Gamification: the use of game design elements in non-game contexts.*

Kids love games. The next natural step is to integrate the learning process into the action of the game. Gamification has tremendous potential in the education space. 

Gamification_1

Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. Gamification taps into the basic desires and needs of the users impulses which revolve around the idea of Status and Achievement. **

The gamification of learning is the educational approach to motivate students to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments. The goal is to maximize enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning. Gamification, broadly defined, is the process of defining the elements that comprise games that make those games fun and motivate players to continue playing, and using those same elements in a non-game context to influence behaviour. In educational contexts, examples of desired student behaviour which gamification can potentially influence include attending class, focusing on meaningful learning tasks, and taking initiative. ***

 

gamification-education

Gamification in education is not just the future but also the present. Lets apply this new educational tool together!

What do you think about gamification?

Do you think it’s positive for kids?

#Gamification #Education

By Ángela R.

* Knewton   ** Badgeville   *** Wikipedia

Learning with Cool Video Games?

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21st century. We are surrounded by technology, how many games do your kids play daily? According to James Paul Gee, gaming expert, we can use the great possibilities that video games bring for learning. Are your kids ready to use games as a new learning tool?

The first possible mistake is to think that games are just games. If we go through it we may discover new possibilities.

If we take Minecraft as an example, we will find out that cooperation is, not just necessary, but essential to win. Success by collaborating and sharing knowledge is one of its basic learning in this game. Online communities exist to give feedback and share content about the universe of the game. That’s active learning.

To see the practicality in learning makes the learning process more clear. Also the comprehension of the concepts becomes easier. We find the goal of learning.

To motivate is not just to provide a book, but also to help to find the right motivation to learn and put into practice.

What is a cross functional team? Can we use and develop ours best skills to win in a game? How much do we need to interact with others for success? How good is cooperation between people to win? As parents, it is good to understand the big meaning of some questions for the good of your kids.

How profitable it will be to transfer this concept to the educational systems?

Should we bring the games to the manuals in education?

 

 

* Source: EDUTOPIA

WE ARE PARENTS, WHAT NOW?

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pic for angela        kangaroo_speech

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you become a mother or father, there is no way back. ”Your life will change” you hear and it does. Of course, for good… But sometimes it seems an endless way without any horizon. Don’t worry!

We want to remind you why parenthood is awesome.

 

The HuffPost Parents asked parents what they didn’t expect to enjoy about parenting. We have selected our six favorites:

  1. Getting up in the middle of the night. “No matter what age they are and no matter the reason, there is something about being with your child in the quiet, wee hours of the morning. It’s time that the two of you have alone together, when you are completely focused on that one child. Even if it starts as a storm, you bring them calm. Being able to soothe your child is so satisfying.” — Marie Fryer Zullo
  1. The noise. “I am surprised by how much I am unbothered by (and even enjoy) the sound of my daughter’s toys. I’ve always found baby toy’s noise so obnoxious, and I was worried I’d be one of those mums who takes the batteries out of the toys… But I kind of love the constant noise, because it’s the sound of her happiness and enjoyment. And it’s so much better than her being bored and miserable!” — Sarah Courtney
  1. The sense of purpose. “I didn’t expect to feel so free. So many people say that once you have kids, your life is over. For me it was the opposite. I didn’t live until my daughter was born. Now I have a purpose; a reason to get up everyday. I can be myself around her without judgement and that is such a wonderful feeling.” — Brooke Dawson
  1. Poop. “ I’ve never been so happy for another human to just poop!!” — Samantha McCallum
  1. Watching your kids sleep. “I feel so at peace seeing them so content/peaceful in their warm beds.” — Alejandra Mata Garcia
  1. What they teach you. “Before I had my son, I thought I had life all figured out. No one could teach me anything because I was smart and already had a wide range of life experiences… I was SO wrong! I have learned more from him in 7 years than I did in the 22 years before he was in my life. I’m a better person, friend, partner, employee, and the list goes on. I didn’t expect the personal growth that comes with parenting, and didn’t expect to love it!” — Amanda Harvey

 

Do you see yourself in those answers?

What’s your favourite?

#Parenthood #WeLoveOurKids

By Ángela R.

* Source: The Huffington Post

A COOL MATH GAME, ***MILK HUNT***

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pic for angela 2

 

For those of you that are interested in the story behind Skidos –why we started the company, how we develop our product and who are we?

Here’s a brief explanation.

Skidos was founded in 2014. We have been learning to improve the company. Our first product,Milk Hunt, a cool math game is an endless runner game, which teaches maths through skill and drill approach. Our goal is to make learning fun.

At Skidos, we work to analyse different learning patters of children and build educational games around them.

The statistics shows that 56% of high school graduates doesn’t have the necessary level of math, according to NMSI *.

Usually maths is the hardest subject to teach at schools all over the world. We believe that integrating learning process in games, kids will be more open and ready for maths. Maths becomes just a cheat code to do well in the game!

The game was designed to help children between 6 and 11 years, practice mental math, like division and fraction in a fun environment.

Milk Hunt has proven to be useful for our “little demanding customers”:

 

Skidos has been recognized and was awarded, that attest our desire to encouraging children thinking, solving and above all playing.

Our mission is to change the way kids learn & play on mobile by building beautifully designed apps with Fun Gameplay & Learning mechanics, because we believe in the future.

We can proudly say that our game, is a part of one of the cool math games out there. We will show to kids that math is FUN (MILK HUNT).

Will you hold our hand during this journey?

#Skidos #News

By Ángela R.

* Source: NMSI

** More information: OECD

 

Hello world!

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The Latest News on Game Based Learning!

2015
MILK HUNT: KIDS MATH GAME IS THE WINNER OF A PARENTS’ CHOICE FUN STUFF AWARD 2015
As the game opens, a very thirsty kangaroo is lounging on a hammock and gulping down a bottle of milk. On Tap to Play, it’s off to the races and the kangaroo runs along until he sees milk bottles. In this endless runner game, the player’s job is to help Kando run, jump, swim and roll to collect the milk bottles and get points, all the while avoiding obstacles in his path, and solving math questions randomly during play. – See more at: http://www.parents-choice.org/product.cfm?product_id=33212&StepNum=1&award=aw#sthash.Qi7FgTRE.dpuf

SHAPIRO: GAMES CAN BE POWERFUL LEVELLER IN GLOBAL EDUCATION
Game-based learning expert Jordan Shapiro has spent much of the last year traveling the world and talking with educational leaders from Latin America, Europe and Africa and he has come back with a new perspective about games and learning. “We’re discussing whether it is a good or bad thing whether people read on a screen versus paper and they’re going, ‘What? We’re just trying to get people to read. Read Full Article here

QUEST TO LEARN OFFERS GLIMPSE OF GAME-BASED SCHOOLING
When the New York City middle school Quest to Learn welcomed its first class of sixth-graders in 2009, it hailed itself as “the school for digital kids.” Its founders from the Institute of Play promised a technology-rich environment that would parlay children’s passion for video games into riveting educational experiences and authentic engagement. Read Full Article here

MILK HUNT: KIDS MATH GAME WIN SILVER AWARD FOR THE BEST APP FOR CHILDREN IN THE 2015 BMA AWARDS
Milk Hunt is a unique endless runner learning game which has an adorable Kangaroo called “Kando” traveling across Australia hunting for Milk. He can be made to jump, roll, glide, fly and swim while avoiding obstacles in its path. During the run he needs help with Mental Math questions which can help him get more milk. Read Full Article here

2014
SMART APPS FOR KIDS REVIEWS MILK HUNT:KIDS MATH GAME
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Bottom Line: Help Kando the Kangaroo as he goes on a quest to find more milk. Hop across Australia collecting milk bottles and other prizes. Solve math problems along the way to win more milk points. The combination of adventure game with math practice keeps this game interesting for little learners. Read the review here

PROF JAMES PAUL GEE REVIEWS MILK HUNT: KIDS MATH GAME – ‘A FUN GAME GOOD FOR
PRACTICING MENTAL MATH’
Prof. James Paul Gee , Author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, and a pioneer in the field of Game Based Learning reviewed Milk Hunt: Kids Math Game. “Milk Hunt is a fun game with good game mechanics” said Prof Gee. “Kids solve the math problems in order to move forward so they can play more of the game. The game is good for practicing mathematical calculations–and indeed lots of practice is helpful”. Read the review here

A SURPRISING NEW STUDY ON HOW VIDEO GAMES IMPACT CHILDREN
Parents tend to approach video games like junk food: games are fine in moderation but ultimately they are an evil temptation that’s more bad than good. But according to an article published in Pediatrics: The Official Journal Of The American Academy of Pediatrics, we may be fundamentally mistaken in our thinking about how video games impact behavior. Read Full Article here

GAMES CAN ADVANCE EDUCATION: A CONVERSATION WITH JAMES PAUL GEE
Most people involved with games and learning are familiar with the work of James Paul Gee. A researcher in the field of theoretical linguistics, he argues for the consideration of multiple kinds of literacy. The notion of “New Literacies” expands the conception of literacy beyond books and reading to include visual symbols and other types of representation made possible through, among other things, current digital technologies.
Read Full Article here

HOW STUDENTS LEARN FROM GAMES
Kurt Squire first recognized the learning potential of games in 1987 in his history class in high school. When his teacher asked the students if they knew the differences between English and Spanish colonization strategies in the Caribbean, he was the only one who knew the answer (the Spanish sailed galleons and held forts across the Caribbean for transporting gold, while the English sought to establish permanent settlements). But Squire hadn’t been reading ahead in the textbook: He had inadvertently learned the history of Caribbean colonization from spending countless hours playing a video game called Sid Meier’s Pirates! on his Commodore 64 computer.
Read Full Article here

HOW TO CHOOSE A LEARNING GAME
Many teachers are excited about trying games in the classroom but don’t know where to begin. The landscape of learning games is vast and confusing — and it’s growing and changing rapidly. Moving at the pace of the software industry, games are often updated and iterated so that new versions replace familiar ones before you’ve even had a chance to implement them in your classroom routine.
Read Full Article here