4 augusti 2015

Learning with WonderQuest

The other day AquaVera got an old decommissioned iPad from her uncle, the tool can not be upgraded from iOS 5 so it was useless for him. But since Vera belongs to the YouTube generation, it doesn't matter as long as a browser works. When I look in my YouTube history (where she use to watch from) there's a lot of crap that I even don't know how she finds (as she can't write), but still look at.

So with this "new" iPad I could make a shortcut to the YouTube in the browser (safari) so she always starts from Stampys new show "WonderQuest". Adam Clarke told me the exciting news he would be a part of it half a year ago, at a time when I was stupid enough to not understand his excitement! I had missed the Stampy phenomenon! Stupid, but at least I had repaired it now :)

Anyway, AquaVera as many of her friends, has already two languages to learn as we live in Finland: the majority language is Finnish and Swedish is the minority language. As her mum is Finnish and I'm Swedish, she already speaks two languages. But keep in mind: that's nothing unusual in Finland, even if the Finnish themselves don't always count it as a qualification.

Thanks to the TV-channel NickJr and Dora The Explorer she has already learned some English. When we moved to this new neighborhood there was a family where the father is from Scotland, the children are also two speakers: but Finnish and English instead.

Combine those facts: 
Dora the Explorer, WonderQuest and English speaken friends and you will only have one answer - she now talks three languages... She has learned a lot during this summer (not only swim, bike and so on).

This morning we talked about learning as she has been watching WonderQuest over and over. She had loads of questions, both of gaming and learning. Why a quest line? Why do you need a mission? Why challenges and puzzles?

Different ways of learning.

And we agreed, learning is - or can be - fun. 
And when it's fun it's most often multplayer.

Two weeks ago AquaVera played Disney Universe, a co-op pvp action video game, with her second cousin W. 

They practiced collaboration and later took this new skill try to steer and navigate our boat (they took turns), not bad for two 7 year old children.

Again, all you (as a parent or teacher) have to do is show interest (you don't have to master the subject) and tie all together, enlighten the learning, get them to reflect (talk, discuss, write, chatt).

Learning is not any longer one subject at a time (the analog way, teachers and school), it's multi-learning (the digital way, our children and pupils).

WonderQuest is a shining example of multi-Learning, even without having English as native language! Why? The enviroment is safe, they have been (and can go) there themselves and afterwards you can download the map and experience the last episode (press buttons, solve puzzles) and learn more. 

The show also follow the USA common core of grade 2 in the curriculum and according to Wizard Keen they aim to create an engaging story driven content multi-Learning enviroment (science, math, literature etc)

And the makers reach a bonus learning that are so obvious that they don't think about it: language
English for non-English speakers. 

And just as important: courage
"Dad, call Wizard Keen and see if he wants to play Minecraft with me, English won't be a problem!" 
(AquaVera 7yo)

Suggestion to the makers: 
Make exercise books inside Minecraft that you could get access to after downloading the map, could be keywords (vocabulary) from the current episode.

This way of teaching is definitely on the fourth stage of the SAMR model. Tech has made the impossible possible, you can walk inside the exercise book and experience the learning in a 3D way.

Best of all: 
As a remedial teacher (vocational institution) I can use the small "I WONDER" episodes myself when I try to explain the basic stuff for my weaker students. Most often they rather learn from YouTube instead of a book. One of the frequent missing knowledge is measurements, metre, decimetre and centimetre. I believe I will have good use of this episode the upcoming fall

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