Thursday, May 14, 2009

Video Games ARE Beneficial

With all this research on video games educating I recently went on to check out the top gaming themed articles. One of the articles that caught my eye is titled 12 ways video games actually benefit "real life". Check it out if you had any interest in my recent blog posts it's pretty interesting and shows that video games isn't all about guns and killing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Escape from Diab Chapter 1 Review

I was recently given access to chapter one of Escape from Diab. The game it self is tailored to a younger age group but I don't see children playing the game on their own free time. However, this doesn't mean that the game can't be beneficial. I can see this game being part of an elementary school's health curriculum for several reasons that are visible from the short chapter 1 section of the game. At the first playable section of the game, you control the main character, Deejay, as he escapes from King Etes' guards. To successfully avoid the guards Deejay must pick the healthiest vegetables out of the two displayed on the ground. Some of these can get a little tricky for a younger crowd as they throw in foods such as fried zucchini vs peas. Both are vegetables but one is healthier than the other based upon how they were prepared. This is done several times throughout the level.

The next section involves a questionnaire on how healthy you eat and drink, I'm assuming this information will be used later in the game to see how the player can improve. The next section is a meal food group balance, trying to have a snack that involves most of the food groups and proper serving size of each item in the snack. Hopefully this is repeated throughout the game to give kids ideas on new snacks that might have never tried before.

The last playable section in chapter 1 involves selecting a goal to better yourself and how fruits and vegetables can help you achieve that goal. There are a variety of choices to pick for each section and my screenshot just shows one combination. This goal setting section also includes an obstacle, which is realistic because who doesn't have obstacles when trying to achieve a goal. This section makes the player think about what maybe stopping them from choosing healthier lifestyles and how they can solve that problem. I feel this is a great feature in the game.

The chapter 1 demo also included a space invaders style game tailored to the setting of the game. I see this addition to be vital for a younger crowd because it gives them an activity that is more fun than the other activities in the game. Hopefully this is repeated in the other chapters.

Overall I feel that this game is a step in the right direction with trying to include technology in health education. This game might not be successful outside the classroom like the game Magi and the Sleeping Star has the potential to do. However, if used correctly in elementary health education classrooms I feel that Escape from Diab can get students hooked as they have fun with a computer game and learn at the same time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Diabetes Games

Screenshot slide show of Escape from Diab, GRIP Diabetes, and Magi and the Sleeping Star. For more information on the games please see the previous post

Video Games educating on Diabetes?

It may seem strange that video games can help those with the disease but companies and designers are trying their best to be creative and make games that are educational, still fun, and possibly life changing. At a young age children are being diagnosed with diabetes as our country grows unhealthier. There are many resources to help fight diabetes and keep those diagnosed healthy and one of those resources that is up and coming is video games. Several games in creation and/or recently released are Escape from Diab, GRIP: Diabetes Self-Management for Children and Their Parents, and The Magi and the Sleeping Star.

GRIP is designed for a younger crowd around 7-11 years old and is a flash based game that is available to play now. Controls are simple using the arrow keys and the mouse to control your character. The version that I played was in German but it was still simple to understand what you needed to do. As your character makes his way through the world he has to dodge several obstacles in his way but to add to that he must balance his blood sugar with several different foods and the medication insulin at his arsenal. This game is simple and I can see a younger crowd wanting to play it and improving the communication between the child, their parents, and their doctors.

The game Magi and the Sleeping Star is a higher production game with a 3-D design and a much grander story. The game is designed for any age group including adults and looks like alot more fun than the other games, it could possibly be a game that would attract regular gamers as well as the diabetic crowd. The main character in this game is a man who is trying to track down his family who was kidnapped. He faces many monsters and foe on his way and has an awesome weaponry and magical powers at his arsenal. However, he has type one diabetes and the disease affects his magical powers and the better balanced blood sugar he has, the stronger his magical powers are. To keep his blood sugar at a healthy level the player must choose healthy food, count carbohydrates and adminster appropriate amounts of insulin. All of which an actual diabetes patient must do. This concept in the game could be greatly beneficial to a younger crowd.

The last game is Escape from Diab, and like Magi and the Sleeping Star is a more in depth game with a great interactive website. While diabetes isn't directly involved in the game it can be seen where it can relate. The main character, Deejay, finds himself in the unfamiliar world of Diab. Diab is ruled by an out of shape king that wants to spread his unhealthyness to his citizens. He outlaws exercise and feeds his population unlimited free amounts of junk food and school is practicaly non exsistant and children do nothing but sit around all day. Deejay and his new, out of shape Diabian friends journey through this game to escape from Diab to the Golden City to lead a healthy life.

These games are a great example in how video game companies are trying to use technology, which people of all ages utilize, to educate and entertain. They are creative in how they impliment things like healthy eating, balancing blood sugar, and proper insulin dosage to video games that aren't just seen as an educational DVD to kids. However too few companies are getting involved in this new type of video game genre, and the companies that are creating games aren't popular gaming companies such as EA, Sony, or Microsoft. Until companies like those get involved in educational video games I don't see these games being popular.

Friday, May 8, 2009

255 Final Part One

A)Watch videos and read documents

B) The website is based in the country of Canada and the video takes place in the town of Saskatoon which is in the province of Saskatchewan. I found the piece very interesting, it showed how P.E. and physical activity can benefit the performance in other subjects by increasing concentration and mental ability in students, to name a few. The P.E. teacher wasn't directly involved in the experiment because the students ran on the treadmills during their classroom time. They transitioned from physical activity to classroom work rather quickly to maximize the benefits provided by the physical activity. The program turned out to be a huge success with everyone improving in reading, math, and comprehension. All students advanced at least a whole reading level. Many students became interested in the material they were learning, their overall health improved because of the physical activity and behavior and lifestyle changes occurred that would benefit society. The obvious standard thatassociates with this program is that the students are involved in rigorous physical activity that will improve several aspects of their overall fitness such as cardio respiratory endurance. Another standard that this program overlaps is creating a safe and healthy environment. The students were sent to that school because their were deemed problem children. And because of this program all of the students are improving academicly and some are changing their life around to be a better person and get away from the things that troubled them in the past. The are also building meaningful relationships with their peers and teachers all because they are so engaged in physical activity and academics.

Web Sites:

My Lesson Plan

My Progresson Sheet

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stability Ball Routine

For my lesson I prepared several upper body and back exercises to perform with the stability ball. Several of the skills were prepared on a video I made for the class to watch and several were not. I had some technical difficulties to deal with the projecter and the laptop skipping the video. I'll admit I didn't polish my lesson so something like that didn't happen but I worked with it and knew the skills with the cues to teach them anyway. My time coding score was rather poor since I had to explain the instant activity since no one had played it before. Also, the students sat on the ball and watch the video, to increase my activity time I could of had them perform the task along with the video. Also my lesson was shorter than the designed 15mins because I was already going over the class period time. Those missed minutes could of made my instant activity go longer and the activties for the stability ball. With that extra time I could of given more personal feedback to the students instead of trying to cram all 4 tasks in a short amount of time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shinny Backhand Pass

For this lesson I feel I used the advice I was given and improved my lesson. I had my back less to the class, although I still did occasionally, I made sure to give specific congruent feedback, checked for understanding of the lesson, and simplified the lesson by eliminating unnecessary cues. I also spread the class out to give them plenty of room and I didn't give anyone a chance to act up or be disruptive. Some things I need to work on for future teaching days are hands in my pocket and to slow down and don't speak too quickly. I thought I managed my time well and got most of the points for the time coding sheet. However, I did worse than I thought and need to get my students into the activity faster.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Shinny Forehand Pass

To be honest I was not comfortable with this lab because of trying to intertwine Chinese customs into the class which showed since I didn't touch on that at all and will have to work towards that for my next attempt. As far as my transcript goes there are several words that I am continuing to say such as 'alright', 'guys', 'uhh' but not as often as before. In regards to my lesson some feedback I received was that my back was to the students a few times, I should use more of the gym to spread out the students, and after listening to my recording I sounded rushed and spoke quickly. I focused a lot on safety and control of the hockey stick because I am sure for my next lesson there are going to be some curveballs coming my way in regards to safety and behavior.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Recently received an email from GNC about a new discovery by webMD. Thought I would share the article with all my lovely readers. Now we have more ammunition to fight these Cortland colds. Some good ol milk and some sunlight which is rare these days in Central New York. Enjoy everyone and stay healthy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lets Gator Chomp It!!!

After listening to myself perform my catching the Frisbee lesson there are a few positives and negatives that stand out. Starting with the negatives, I counted several words that I said a handful of times. Words like 'alright' and 'thing' are words that aren't powerful, and don't precisely identify the point i am trying to make. Those words are said by habit and it is a bad habit I will work towards kicking to the curb. Another word I say a lot is 'guys'. I said it when speaking to males and not speaking to males which is habit yet again. I can stop this from happening by saying names or 'class' in general. A major negative that slipped my mind was a safety statement. Some of the positives from my transcript and my lesson in general is linking a not so popular sport TV wise, with a popular sport on the TV to try and spark interest. I also gave a lot of positive feedback to the students. However, it did sound like a broken record in the recording because I mainly said 'nice job' or 'good job'. This can become more specific if I comment on the specific action they are doing a good job in such as "nice job attacking the Frisbee" or "Awesome gator chomp". Something that I thought about was giving the students a challenge (complete the most amount of successful passes without the Frisbee touching the ground) that had no limit. It wasn't first to ten or twenty wins, it was plain and simple but still a challenge for the class. I also touched on intratask variation with several groups by having them catch the Frisbee with one hand. This, along with feedback to a majority of the class were huge goals that i wanted to succeed in, in the lesson.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Use your time wisely

After watching my football catching lesson and focusing on how I managed my time there are things that are obvious elements in my teaching style that I need to polish. During my lesson I spoke to Ricky about volunteering because I knew he had played football before and could throw and catch. While I knew this information I wasted a few seconds going to get a football to demonstrate instead of having Ricky grab one as I continue with my instruction. Another aspect of my lesson that made my management time be longer than it should have been was the students walking to go get a football and line up. This is PE class and it is expected that students will get sweaty running all over the place and in this lesson they walked and I failed to address this and failed to get them to hustle. The activity time just met the minimum 50% of the class time and during this time I walked around and gave feedback. I gave feedback to most if not all of my students correcting minor errors, encouraging, and positively reinforcing . However, I noticed I stayed on the same side the entire time. In the future when I am teaching I cannot do this because being close to a student as they perform the task at hand or giving them feedback face to face may be more important to them that providing feedback from several feet away.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Feedback is an important aspect in students learning. From my own experiences I learned the best and stayed on task the most when i received positive feedback. An example of positive feedback is when a teacher compliments a student on how well he or she is doing at a specific task. Neutral feedback points out something the student does well and then gives him or her something they can work on to do correctly. Finally, negative feedback does not point out anything done correctly and focuses on what the student has not done correctly. People typically view negative feedback as being rude and belittling a student but I see otherwise. Not all students are going to respond to positive feedback and not everyone learns the same. Its up to the teacher to get to know their students and find out what feedback works for each individual student.

In regards to my lesson I did not provide my class with any feedback. It is something I am now aware of that I have to address and I am going to make a conscious effort to reach at least 50% of my class with feedback from here on out.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Can you hear me now? Good!

After listening to what I said for my first lesson and writing a transcript I have a totally different opinion on how I performed. This maybe because I paid closer attention or it maybe because I have learned so much on what to do and not to do in the few weeks we have had class. Or it could be a mixture of both. First thing I failed to address was a proper introduction, I did not introduce myself to the class and I wasn't that excited or enthusiastic. In the beginning I noticed I said "uhhh" a few times. That will be filtered out as I get the opportunity to plan out a lesson and not feel nervous. When teaching my lesson I didn't have cues that could be remembered by the class or instructions that were totally clear. Another thing I noticed that I did while watching again, that I cant do when I teach the next time, is practice with the students. This puts my back to most of the students and I should be going around giving feedback. There are a lot of things I would have done and said differently having been in class and learning how to become a better teacher. It is amazing how much I have learned in the beginning of this semester! I look forward to taking what I have learned so far and use it in my lesson!

Not sure on how to make the words in the text a link so I'm going to just post the link.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First day of 255

My first day of edu 255 was a little surprising since we had to teach a five minute lesson while being recorded. I wasn't really nervous since the whole class was in the same boat and it showed on film. I didn't stutter or trip over my words and I could hear myself even though I was on the other side of the gym. One mistake that I can point out myself was not introducing myself to a new class. I'm sure there are other mistakes but those will be corrected as we progress this semester. What made my lesson a little awkward was that I taught the volleyball serve but we didn't have nets set up, but that was out of my control.

Tom Maldonado