With the student population taking such a strong interest in games and gaming, teachers seem to be taking this interest and gamify their learning in order to engage and inspire their students. A recent example is a year seven Individuals and Societies unit on ancient civilisations.
Mr. Nathan Armstrong (a year seven learning support teacher and a board game enthusiast) made the students a bespoked board game to help them understand the factors that can impact a civilisation and help them flourishing. In the game, a class of students are broken up into tribes and assigned roles such as craftsman, farmer, hunter, merchant and so on. The students must collect resources (grain, meat, seeds, wood, tools, etc.) and use them in ways to help their civilisation thrive.
The students not only learn about the concepts of natural resources, the importance of a water supply and the different places ancient civilisations existed, but they also learned collaboration, leadership and problem solving skills which they can transfer to other aspects of their life and learning. Innovative experiences like this are just some ways the students at NIST have the opportunity to learn and grow, thanks to our outstanding educators.
In our ongoing effort to support healthy media use, this month we are celebrating Media Mentor Month! Media Mentor Month is an idea developed by educator Keri-Lee Beasley, the director of digital learning at GEMS World Academy Switzerland. The Media Mentor Month initiative helps bring focus to the digital and media literacy circumstances facing families today. It’s a great way to engage the whole family in proactive and productive conversations around media use in your home.
From Keri-Lee’s blog:
What is it?
Media Mentor Month is an initiative to help parents develop a positive relationship with their children around digital technologies. Just as we want to be mentors for our children in reading or having a healthy lifestyle, we also want to mentor them in their digital world too (see more details about being a Media Mentor here). The trouble is, sometimes we don’t know exactly how to go about that. Media Mentor Month provides parents with some ideas and strategies to help foster and develop that relationship.
Who is it for?
Anyone, really, but probably best suited to parents who are looking for direction to connect with their children around technology. Especially the ones who feel they only ever battle with their kids about being on screens too much (see more about that here).
When is it happening?
Ideally, March, so we’re all on the same page. Realistically? Any time that fits into your family schedule.
What do I need to do?
You can participate as much or as little as you like. Personally, I would love to see you share some photos of your family engaging in the challenges. Make sure to add the hashtag #MediaMentorMonth so we can follow your progress
You can find this on Keri-Lee’s blog “Tip of the Iceberg”.
NIST has been supporting students in their desire to complete the Global Citizen Diploma (GCD) since 2015. Recently, however, there has been a push to have a greater number students participate because, we believe, the benefits of going through the process are meant for all. What are those benefits? Well, the main advantage is that students develop the very useful skill of metacognition (awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes ie: thinking about your thinking). Being aware of what you think is an incredibly powerful skill, and it is not always easy to do. To help their peers ‘dive deeper’ into their understanding, the Student Steering Committee of the GCD developed the Metacognition Framework (shown below):
As the text in the middle indicates, it is all about developing new understanding. Most do this by describing an experience, making a connection, comparing it to other experiences, and then exploring other possibilities. Although the process just described is the norm, a student could start from corner of the framework and then link to the other three.
This might sound abstract, and perhaps it is, but it also challenges students to develop another key benefit of completing a GCD post; creating a narrative. It is the story behind the thinking that really brings about a true understanding of one’s thinking…and makes the reading of the posts that much more engaging. Luke, in Y11, wrote about his growth in an Intercultural Communication post that focused on his experience working in his grandparents’ ramen noodle shop in Japan. In his post he shows the significance of how language shapes how he interacted with customers. Anna, also in Y11, spoke frankly about her international education in a Global Understanding post. A self-proclaimed ‘Surfer of the Continents’, she has noted subtle but significant differences in cultures like the understanding of food sharing at the dining table in Asia versus the individual portions found in North America. Hana, in Y10, explored how her switch from gymnastics to dance has really helped her to find happiness in her Wellness post.
If you read one, or all three, of the posts you will get a true sense of what the GCD is all about. These students, and others, have delved deeper into what they have done and have truly grown from awareness of their thinking. That awareness gives them a better sense of self which, in turn, should serve them well in future pursuits, academic or otherwise.