8th Grade Science teacher, guest blogger, and superstar BrainPOP Educator Rachael Tarshes joined the BrainPOP team in San Diego to share her strategies for game-based learning at the ISTE Playground. As a follow-up to her earlier blog post, below she shares her reflection on her experience at the conference.
ISTE was a whirlwind 3 days of tips, tricks, ideas, and collaborating with teachers and students that words cannot easily describe. In all, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to bring my students to the ISTE Playground to talk about the work that we did in our class! I knew that the experience of gaming in the classroom would be beneficial to my students despite the short time we had to work on it and my resolve to incorporate more games into my instruction next year was solidified by listening to my students tell other professional educators about their experiences. Hearing one student describe the forces and motion principles involved in her favorite game, Coaster Creator, over 6 months after we learned them in the classroom was amazing! When we started this project, most of my students thought that gaming would be a huge distraction but in the end, they reported only minimal distractions that came with trying to problem solve issues with their games or helping their classmates figure out what to do next. In the classroom, and again at ISTE, my students talking about the scientific principles that were behind the games they played and how they used that knowledge to get to the next level, find a solution to a problem, or make a discovery made me realize just how important games can be to learning. I cannot wait for the next school year and the integration of BrainPOP and GameUP in my classroom!