Thursday, May 10 2012, 01:40 PM EDT
Chattanooga Educator's Idea Wins National Award
When given a chance to voice their thoughts on how gaming can be used in student learning, educators have an unlimited number of ideas. To highlight some of the best, the NEA Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and Microsoft Partners in Learning, is recognizing Kimberly Brown, a physical science teacher at Signal Mountain Middle School in Chattanooga, TN, who was selected by her peers and a panel of experts as one of the top 10 ideas posted to receive the NEA Foundation’s Challenge to Innovate (C2i) Gaming Award, and $1,000.
Brown’s idea, “Curriculum APPlications,” is an ongoing classroom activity, in which students use popular, interactive gaming apps to identify relevant science concepts that they are learning in class. Students create mini-posters to be displayed on a section of the classroom wall called the “leader board,” and receive points based on their written explanation of the concept and how it appears in the game.
“Game-based learning and interactive technology like this can help build technological and communication competencies valued in the workplace and the 21st century economy. So we asked educators to share, discuss, and evaluate ideas about how to use these tools to support classroom instruction,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “We discovered educators who are using technology in fun, creative ways. By initiating this discussion and knowledge sharing, we hope to help educators better equip their students with the skills they’ll need to be successful in college, work, and life.”
The NEA Foundation uses crowd sourcing on the Department of Education’s innovation portal as a way to ensure that educators have a voice in determining new instructional strategies. Continuing a multi-year partnership, the Foundation partnered with Microsoft to solicit and share ideas on how gaming could be integrated into the curriculum to meet students where they are highly engaged while improving their learning.
Brown is also a member of the C2i community, over 1,000 educators and others, that is hosted on the Department of Education’s Open Innovation Portal, and who are helping the NEA Foundation and its partners identify and solve education's most pressing classroom problems. Hers was selected from a pool of 157 ideas from 38 states and five countries by their peers and a panel of educational experts.
“Because students love to compete in online games and interactive phone apps, any way of incorporating those activities into the fabric of the classroom is sure to engage students and create an interest in content learning,” Brown said. “Whenever I cover new material, I can hear students discussing which games would go along with the new ideas and how they plan to present them.”