Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lynne Endres' French Video Game Project

It is a little outside of the scope of this blog, but this story is too great to pass up. Cara Bafile has another great teacher profile in Education World on Lynne Endres' sixth-grade French capstone project -- designing and producing a video game.

Endres teaches at Shanahan Middle School in Lewis Center, OH. She decided to blend her sixth graders' love of video games with their need to review the French they had learned in a fun and engaging way. After looking at examples of the kinds of games they can make -- Endres limits them to a template of three game types, memory, matching and a Tetris-style game -- students spend time talking about "requirements of the project, and such aspects of it as choice of content, pronunciation, mechanics, game choice, file management, creative thinking strategies, use of time and resources, and working well with a group" and learn other skills like how "to process different data types and to make voice recordings and pictures to include in their games." Students then work in pairs or groups of three to create their game and an outline. Once the outlines are approved by Endres, the students move to production.

With a grant, Endres bought a projector for whole-class game viewing, laptops, microphones and other equipment for students to use in producing their games. Other students at the school and in Endres' other French classes have access to the student-created games. They find them not only fun and educational but love that they can know who the creators are and can tell them face to face that they played their game or liked it. Student game creators also tell Endres about the comments and compliments they get, something Endres says "is very empowering for the students."

Endres shows great pride in her students' work and the benefits other students get from the games:
I have a student who is cognitively delayed, and he used the games my previous students had made to review his numbers....He was able to count to forty-five orally in French, even though someone of his cognitive level might typically only count to about ten. I have several autistic students who benefit greatly from these games. Creating the games gives students a sense of efficacy because they know that they are making something that will be used to teach someone else and not just an assignment that will be graded and set on a shelf or tossed away.
The games aren't available on the school website, unfortunately, but maybe they will be in the future. It's a great idea for a final project in any subject.

SOURCE: "Video Gaming for French Review: Starring: Lynn Endres" 05/13/08
photo courtesy of badjonni, used under this Creative Commons license

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