Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SciRave: Making Science Physically Fun

SciRave is a game that has the same concept as Dance Dance Revolution, which gets players physical active while playing video games, but it also adds in science. The music to the dances have science themes so players can learn science topics and create a positive interest in science. Not only are the songs sung, but the lyrics are also written at the bottom of the screen to make sure players can understand the lessons.

I think SciRave is an excellent idea, but it could use some work. I definitely enjoyed playing the game, it was just as fun as playing other forms of DDR. However, I question how helpful it is in actually learning the science topics. After playing the songs a few times, it was still very hard to understand the lyrics and pay attention to the lyrics because I was concentrating on hitting the steps correctly. I guess if a player plays the game over and over, they will start to learn the lyrics to the songs and thus the science concepts. I basically had to stop trying to hit the steps and look at the lyrics to see if the songs would actually teach science topics. When I did that, I was then worried about failing the level so I stopped looking at the lyrics. Some songs were better than others. I think the best song was "S.I. Robot" which taught the International System of Units. I didn't even need to look at the lyrics to understand what the song was saying and it was valuable information. Some songs didn't even seem to have that valuable information such as "It's Alive" and "Life Science." The remaining songs, "All the Pieces" and "Back at the Start" had valuable information but it was hard to hear and understand the lyrics while playing.

I think there is a lot of potential for this game, the creators just have to work on better songs that have more information as well as easy to understand and hear. I think playing the game was tons of fun, but I think if its hard for kids to learn, they might just turn to other DDR games which play popular songs they already know and enjoy.

Above I made a video using http://www.xtranormal.com/ to simulate what one student telling another what he learned while playing the game. Take a look! (sorry for the characters mispronunciation of SciRave)

Monday, May 11, 2009

PED 255 Final Project Part 1: "Brain Gains"

Section A) watch video and read articles (see links below)

Section B) Respond to questions
Where is the web-site from? Where in the world? Which country? Do you know where it is on a map? Describe it.
The website that broad casted the video, "Brain Gains", is CBC News which is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Therefore, the story is based in City Park Collegiate High School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada which is in North America. On the map Saskatoon is relatively in the Center of Canada, slightly towards the southern border and is above Montana in the United States.

What do you think about this news piece....interesting...why or why not?
I found this news piece incredibly interesting. The turn around students at City Park made was phenomenal to hear about. The piece also opened up my eyes to new concepts I never realized before. I had always known physical activity increases fitness and energy levels, relieves stress, makes people feel good, but I never thought it could improve academic performance. However, it makes sense, physical activity can allow people to be better focused and therefore better situated to learn. My entire life I have been extremely active and it is probably a big factor that allows me to succeed in school. I like this piece because it can reinforce the need for physical education as long as physical education is done right.

Why wasn’t the PE teacher involved with City Park Collegiate experiment?
I don't think the PE teacher was involved because this was a study being done mainly on aerobic activity being conducted in a classroom setting and how it affects academic performance. There wasn't really a need to educate the students in sport skills, they were either running or biking to keep their heart rate elevated. I'd say most students were familiar with those skills already and Ms. Cameron was able to handle the situation. Also in some PE classes, teachers are not able to get full participation all the time and this study needed the students to be constantly active so their heart rates were between 65 - 75% of their max heart rate for 20 minutes.
What are the outcomes of the program?
The outcomes of the program were tremendous. As Ms. Cameron said herself, "Wildly Successful!" On average, her students gained a full grade level when using physical activity. The 2 students featured in the piece made vast improvements in academic performance, behavior, and a better outlook on life. Her students' fitness levels improved, push ups by 227%, sit ups by 224%, and the sit and reach by 21%. Body mass index also decrease by 5%. In the class room, their fluency and comprehension increased, they scored over 27% higher on 3 different language arts tests and math improved as well.

Are these outcomes similar to our New York State PE Standards? Explain your answer by giving details and examples, while comparing and contrasting.
I think the outcomes are fairly similar to the NY state PE standards. The study stressed physical activity, however I couldn't tell from the piece if students were tested on their knowledge and skills to maintain physical fitness. Also I do not know for sure if Ms. Cameron instructed her students on how to manage their resources to continue their quest for physical fitness outside of her classroom. However, I'm sure those students are always welcome to use the equipment at school. As for standard 1, "
Students will have the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain physical fitness, participate in physical activity, and maintain personal health" I think the students did learn how aerobic activity can help them improve their fitness and health levels. However, the students were only limited to running on treadmills and bike machines. As for standard 2, "Students will acquire the knowledge and ability necessary to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment" I think a healthy environment is always the goal at City Park Collegiate and those students wee participating in the safe and healthy environment. I think its safe to assume they learned what is safe and healthy and what is not. Just look at Barnie' s future outlook at the end of the news piece. The last standard, "Students will understand and be able to manage their personal and community resources" is where I think things could have gotten shaky. I assume the students are always welcome at City Park Collegiate but I could not tell if they were being educated on activities they could pursue on their own time.

Web Site Links:





*lesson plans and activity progression sheets are in blog post about Lab D

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Helping the Communty and Helping Myself

Through out the course of the spring semester, Dr. Yang had asked us to complete 10 hours of community service in which we had to apply teaching and communication principles to real world settings. The community service requirement was designed to help us practice and further develop the skills we will need as teachers. As a member of SUNY Cortland's Alliance of Physical Education Majors, I had several opportunities to volunteer. I participated in two "Teen Nights" at the YMCA and also the "Hoops for Heart" basketball tournament. I also helped Dr. Yang set up and explain various Exergames on campus as well as at the National AAHPERD conference in Tampa Bay Florida. I went above the 10 hour requirement because I was actually benefiting myself as well as helping others. Working at Teen Night was just like teaching P.E. to students. We were in charge of the safety of the children as well as teaching them various games and activities. Teen Night was tons of fun, I taught kids DDR, basketball, Frisbee, Kan Jam and more. The "Hoops for Heart" tournament wasn't as much of a teaching gig, but I had to use my management and communication skills to maintain order and run the tournament smoothly. Working with the Exergames was very useful as well because I got to practice setting up and using the equipment so I can set the equipment up on my own. I also got to teach how to use Exergames and the benefits to those who have never experienced Exergames. I think the community service requirement is a very important element to the Basics of Effective Instruction in P.E. class. One, we are helping out the community and others. But we are also helping out ourselves. We need as much practice as we can get to be good teachers and the community service serves as real life practice. I had fun doing the community service and made many friends in the process.