A taste of Amplify

There are those who talk and those who do. Amplify is doing something awesome. They are bringing classroom instruction to the tablet. Sure there’s been talk of other companies aligning their digital content with the Common Core, but Amplify is taking it one step further.

I’ve been following Amplify since first seeing Joel Klein, CEO on a late night special with Charlie Rose. Said to change the way teachers teach and the way students learn, Amplify’s products help to envision change in the most conducive ways.

The Amplify tablet, designed for K12 curriculums comes equipped with Google Play for Education, the Merriam Webster dictionary, Encyclopedia Britannica and a sleuth of ebooks and other apps. Guilford County Schools in North Carolina is the first district to offer tablets to its students, meeting Obama’s Race to the Top federal funding program. For the 2013-2014 school year, 20,000+ students and teachers will receive tablets thanks to Amplify.

Educational games used to introduce educational content?

There are many ways to deliver content and one way teachers are enhancing a student’s learning experience is through educational games.

Ever play SimCity? GlassLab, sponsored by the Bill Gates Fund & MacArthur Foundation is working with game companies, assessment leaders and digital learning experts to create SimCityEDU, an interactive game for sixth graders. To be released this fall, the program addresses both STEM curriculums and Common Core Standards. The idea for this game arose from research conducted by the MacArthur Foundation on how games can mirror formative assessments. I read this PDF
( http://myweb.fsu.edu/vshute/pdf/GLA%20Dirk%20chapter.pdf ).

According to this paper, learning is best characterized when ‘active, goal-oriented, contextualized and interesting.’ Isn’t this all characteristics of an engaging game?

I guess the real issue is whether games should be used as formative assessments in the classroom. If they keep a student’s interest, encourages a student to learn more and is educational at the same time, then why not?