Enrichment clusters have kicked off again and this year our clusters will meet 14 times across the entire school year. During enrichment clusters, teachers offer topics on a variety of topics. Students self-select their top choices, and then they are assigned to one of their choices. The clusters are student-driven, so although the teacher offers the topics, the students are really the ones that make the decisions about what takes place. During clusters, students are expected to make a product, service, or performance related to their topic and they also showcase their learning at a cluster fair at the conclusion of clusters.
This year, I am offering gaming in education as a cluster. We now have an Xbox with Kinect in the media center thanks to profits from last year’s book fairs. This gaming system will be available to all students in the school, but my cluster will specifically look at how this system and others can be used in education. Our cluster is made up of 14 boys in grades 2-5. We had an overwhelming response from boys, so it was decided to keep the cluster all male. I definitely don’t want the girls to be left out, so we’ll be looking at ways to create opportunities for girls as well.
Today, the boys introduced themselves and shared their own experiences with gaming. We named a few ground rules we should consider as we play video games in the library. Many of these ground rules had to do with safety such as no body contact with others and keeping the gaming area clear. We also talked about what it means to take turns and how we handle the adrenaline rushes we sometimes get when we play games.
Students each had a chance to play Xbox sports. We chose a mini game of soccer to give every student a quick chance to play. Then, we met back together to discuss how we handled our ground rules and what we need to remember for next time.
I have a couple of students who are already excited about the possibility of other kinds of gaming, specifically Minecraft. There are several schools who use Minecraft in education, and I think the boys that are interested in this are going to do some great things over the next 13 sessions.
At the next cluster session, we will Skype with the busy librarian, Matthew Winner, who already is well-established with gaming in his library. He will share his expertise and students will have a chance to ask him questions.
I’ll post more as things develop.