Life in the ICT Lab: a Moshi Pit

monster_line_up

The kids in the lab have been mad-keen on Moshi Monsters lately. I can only describe the lab as a Moshi pit at break times!
[I am using Moshi Monsters as a stimulus for descriptive writing with our K2’s, so will blog about how that goes when I am finished.]

Moshi Monsters is a neat little game, really engaging, with a great variety of activities and things to do that can keep kids engaged for hours – literally!

I thought their interest would be a good opportunity to have a chat to them about the ways in which the website aims to hook them in, and get them to sign up as paid members.

At the end of last term, I called a Moshi Meeting for all those interested in playing Moshi Monsters in the lab. Turn-out was predictably high!

I got Moshi Monsters up on the IWB, and asked the assembled group two main questions.

1. How does the Moshi Monsters site try to encourage you to spend more time playing the game?

Spend_Rox

Here are some student responses:

They show you things you can buy with your Rox that are the level above you, so you want to increase your level to be able to buy those things.

They unlock different games when you increase your level.

In the beginning, you can increase your level really quickly, but then it slows down and it takes longer to increase the levels, meaning you have to stay on the computer longer.

They have messages when you walk down the street like, “I wish my owner would redecorate,” meaning you start thinking about improving your room and buying more things. To buy more things, you need more Rox, which means you have to stay on longer and earn them.

How does Moshi Monsters try to encourage you to become a paid member?

Moshi_Members

Here are some student responses:

You can see that there are other areas that you can access if you are a member.

You can do more things – you can send gift etc.

It allows you to choose your own house – you get more choices.

The vast majority of the kids had no idea they were being ‘encouraged’ to spend more time online, but once it was pointed out to them, they realized that they had choices to make, and that of course the website wanted to make it engaging for them to want to pay money for it.

The bottom line is that they became more informed consumers, and I’m pretty happy with that.

Images captured using Jing.

Old wine in new bottles?

Thoughts have been percolating in my head about 21st century literacy, digital tools and skills. UWCSEA is at a tipping point, and we’re moving in a new direction for ICT next school year.

Currently, when I take each class for ICT, the classroom teacher is released. My sessions relate closely to what the teachers are doing in their classes, wherever possible.

Next year, I will not be providing ICT lessons for each class on a weekly basis, but will instead work with each class in depth 2 times a year. I will plan and teach alongside the classroom teachers (the guide by the side), so that the skills involved are not only passed on to the students, but to the teachers as well. We are adopting the ISTE NETS, and I will be meeting the rest of the ICT team to look at how we can integrate them into our existing skills and curriculum plans.

It’s a big step for the school, and I am very proud that we are making it, but it will be a giant leap for many teachers. There needs to be a lot of modeling, supporting, scaffolding and enthusiasm for it to work effectively.

That said, I don’t want to squander the opportunity we have to revolutionize the way we are teaching by doing the same old things in new ways. When reading the editorial in the latest TIME magazine, I came across a quote from Richard Stengel, which resonated with me:

…for we must adapt to new technology, and not simply by putting old wine in new bottles. We need to adapt by creating our content in a way that is organic to those new mediums.

It is easy to take existing tasks and inject technology into them. Indeed, maybe that is an initial step, one that is necessary to take in order to move to the next level. Perhaps teachers need to add some tools to their digital toolbox before they can start creating new experiences for their students. I’m talking about experiences which involve not just the addition of technology, but working and thinking in new ways, which technology enables us to do. I don’t have all the answers or examples, just a feeling about it all.

I am impatient to make global connections de rigueur, to get teachers involved in developing their PLN’s, to get people as excited about technology use as I am! Is it too much to ask?

I guess I’m at the tip of the iceberg…

Photo credit: cindyt7070