Exploring Digital Games with Teacher Voice Leaders

One of the most exciting things about receiving a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the opportunites the foundation provides to connect and collaborate with other organizations.  Last week, Michael Levine and I had the chance to attend the Gates Foundation’s annual convening of organizations working on Teacher Effectiveness.  The groups who attended and presented at this meeting, including The Center for Teaching Quality, VIVA Teachers, Educators 4 Excellence, Purpose, Student Achievement Partners, The Hope Street Group (and many more), are expanding the idea of “Teacher Voice” by supporting teachers in their efforts to innovate the profession and play a larger role in shaping education reform across the country. Along with the leadership of each organization, a number of classroom teachers affiliated with each group attended the convening to participate in the workshops and meet other leaders within the teaching profession.

The Cooney Center was invited to lead a hands-on workshop for these classroom teachers that explored some of our recent research around games and learning. We also introduced the next phase of our research on teacher/parent experiences using digital games with children at home and at school.  After playing some online games and watching our video case studies, we had a lively and informative discussion about what works (and what doesn’t!) around using digital games in the classroom.   As always, a great deal of attention was paid to assessment, and how games can play a role in reaching all the learners in our classrooms.

We took this opportunity to meet and engage with this highly motivated group of teachers very seriously—we want to learn from their experience and use this knowledge to help shape our upcoming Games and Learning initiatives.  At the end of our workshop, we solicited ideas for new topics and questions to field in the next phase of our National Teacher Survey, and we hope to hear from many more teachers over the next few weeks. If you are classroom teacher interested in learning what other teachers think about games and learning, please contribute your own topic ideas via this online form!

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