Games are interaction with rules. They mimic the scientific method - hypothesis tested to overcome obstacles and achieve goal while operating inside prescribed system of boundaries. Video games provide failure based learning - brief, surmountable, exciting. While failure in school is depressing,
in a video game, it's aspirational.
Super Mario World world map by fliptaco
Josh Millard recently began curating a growing collection of video game maps drawn from memory at his site Mapstalgia. He writes,
We spend time in video game worlds, learning our way around the constructed environments. We make mental maps of these places as part of the process of trying to progress through them. We learn where the good bits are hidden, remember the hard bits that got us killed every damn time. The worlds may be fictional but our mental maps of them are as real as anything else we remember. And they’re shared experiences: my experience in Super Mario Bros. was a lot like yours, and even if we never played it together, it’s a space we have in common. And the way our memories overlap, and the ways they differ — the commonalities and contrasts of our individual recalls of these shared spaces — is a really interesting and as far as I’ve seen mostly undocumented emergent result of decades of videogaming experiences. So let’s draw these remembered maps. Let’s put it down on graph paper or napkins or MS Paint.
The Legend of Zelda world map by themadjuggler
Submissions range from detailed renderings to simple sketches. They all demonstrate a great way to teach mental mapping skills - spatial relationships, sequence, causation, scale, location, and measurement. Use Mapstalgia to inspire your students. Then give them a chance to have fun while demonstrating their ability to translate gaming worlds into two dimensional representations. Let them compare maps of the same game to design their own mapping rubric. Explore different representations of game elements for clarity and design.
Super Mario 64 Peachs Castle by GNM
Get students hooked working with something they know intimately - video games. Then transfer those visual literacy skills to more traditional mapping instruction as well as exploration of symbolic representations of all kinds.
Sonic Adventure 2 City Escape by cubeybooby
Zork excerpts by ErWenn
Image credits: Mapstalgia
We devised an experiential project, “Complex City” in order to help students think critically about their communities. To help students to become more aware of their surroundings, in order to foster an educated, ethical, and empathetic community. To facilitate opportunities that help students translate experiences, investigations, and ideas into artistic renderings that effectively communicate new knowledge.
In asking them to map an area of San Diego that had significance to them, we wanted them to step back from the familiar aspects of their community and city, and translate those aspects into a visual map. As part of this project, students researched, interviewed, and investigated their city and community in myriad ways. By compiling their work and making collective and idiosyncratic maps of San Diego, they have been challenged to rethink what they understood to be the reality of the built environment around them, as well as to accept the new knowledges that their classmates contribute. They have become more invested in their own community because their new knowledge implicates them as involved citizens. These maps collect particular versions of this place (versions not always visible to others, or in traditional maps) as we see it in the fall/winter of 2011.
Effective infographics enable us to see information in new ways. The Economist recently posted these two interactive maps that offer insights into the distribution of GDP and population in both the US and China. Click on maps or follow links to original maps with full functionality. Which countries match the GDP and population of America's [...]
Historypin – Here’s a short video about a great mashup of digital photos (with stories) layered over Google maps. Users can search images by geography / time and post historic photos (with stories) to maps. It’s fascinating to view historic photographs set against the backdrop of current Google map street view.
Instruction is not simply an act of telling, it should instead be centered around creating learning experiences that provoke student reflection. In this lesson, source documents and literacy strategies combine to simultaneously teach content and comprehension. But more importantly, an essential question serves as a springboard to engage students in a deeper reflection on the notion of sacrifice in a historical context and in their own lives.
It’s been 40 years since I set my goals to become a teacher. (You might be amused by my blog post on the 1971 evaluation of my student teaching) Fortunately today there are some great online resources to assist you. Here’s two that impress me.
Micker’s work certainly parallels the Google Map satellite view. Especially noteworthy are his realistic depiction of details, shadows of clouds and the large key with drop shadow in the lower right corner. Not bad considering he lacked an aerial perspective. He was inspired by a similar work (minus shadows) from 1538 by Cornelis Anthonisz.
Interested in source material for your European history DBQ's? Paintings, music, films and books from Europe's galleries, libraries, archives and museums. The new European Commission's Europeana digital library project has been launched with 2 million digital documents including paintings, audio files, maps, videos and other artifacts at http://www.europeana.eu
Beavers Build a Dam Herman Moll 1732 This lesson improves content reading comprehension and critical thinking skills with an engaging array of source documents – including journal entries, letters, maps, and illustrations. It examines European views of Native American and the New World in the Age of Exploration. While it is a rather one-sided account, [...]
We looked at strategies for using visual document to create student-centered lessons that invite students to construct their own meaning. Our focus included – the relevance of essential questions, higher order thinking skills, and linking visual literacy with listening and reading skills.