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Game On! Using Video Games To Ramp Up Your Instruction!

As far as presentations go, tomorrow's "Game on!" session is a biggie for me, and not because the audience will be big.  In fact, judging by last year's attendance at this event, I'm looking forward to a group of no more than 20-25 teachers.  And not because the pro scouts are showing up either.  No... in fact, tomorrow's session at my district's annual Summer Tech Institute promises to be a low key afternoon spent sharing and learning among friends.

Still, this presentation just FEELS big.

This is the first time I'll be sharing what I've learned this year about how games and gamification can impact instruction.  I've written about this before but I've yet to stand up in front of a group and say "hey! I know about this and I've got something to share!" So I'm a little nervous - mostly because it's important to me.

It's also important to my teaching partner and co presenter - who is the math department chair at my school. We're so excited about this aspect of our teaching that we've already applied to share this presentation at both my state's library and math conferences next year.  Even as I type that out it strikes me as funny.  I'm sure she never, in a million years, imagined herself presenting at the state library conference - just as I'm pretty sure the state math conference may go up in flames the minute I walk in.  It will definitely be a step outside each of our individual comfort zones, but totally worth it - especially for me.

As a librarian, struggling to survive in today's economic and educational climate, I can't help but think about the impression this presentation will make on the folks viewing it.  And while sharing it with other librarians will be wonderful, I'm really looking forward to using it to punch a hole in how at least a few math teachers view librarians and the potential for math/library collaboration.  I've always been friends with my school's math chair - but I've never collaborated with her, until now.  What's more, it's one of the most meaningful collaborations I've ever been a part of.  Now that's something I really want to share.

Speaking of which, last week I received this letter from the exec board of my state's technology conference. Essentially, of the 2,000 presentations given at last year's conference, mine received the best participant evaluations.  What's more, my other presentation (with super pal Jennifer Northrup) was #3 on the same list.  They told me this was the first time the same person had ever appeared twice in the top 5.  Now, if this seems like shameless bragging, that's only because it kind of is, but bear with me... if I'd received the same accolade from my state's library conference, I'd be super excited - but I probably wouldn't share it here.  However, the fact that not one, but TWO, librarians received the highest evals at the state's TECH conference just makes me squee! I've been attending this conference for years.  It's wonderful and it attracts some big name speakers.  However, librarians are NOT its target audience - at least not its primary target. The fact that we are being recognized for our exceptional work at this conference, again, feels big - and I can't help but hope that at least one person walked away from those sessions with a new understanding of how libraries/librarians impact student learning.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that the theme for NEXT year's tech conference is "Game On!" and is all about gamification in education. Talk about coming full circle. (Somebody queue Mufasa)

Finally, I'd probably be remiss if I didn't acknowledge and say thank you to everyone who nominated and voted for this blog in the Salem Blog Awards.  Honestly, I'm at a loss for words when it comes to this recognition.  When I look at the folks who were nominated - in particular, Doug Johnson, who is one of my heroes, it makes me want to demand a recount. However, in lieu of making a hanging chad joke here I'll just say thank you.  I'm unbelievably grateful.


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