Archive | March, 2013

Where’s Wally?

29 Mar

Where's Wally fun run

On Sunday, March 24th, the National Literacy Trust held a fun run in London to support illiterate children   in deprived areas of the country. Although it was rather chilly, 1200 supporters of  literacy came out to run.  Where’s Wally costumes were distributed to all of the participants to wear during their 5K or 10K race.  So far, almost $70,000 have been raised for the charity.  The money raised from this event will be used to help provide books and storytelling events for low-income families and one-on-one support for parents who are uncomfortable with reading.

Many 5K runs support great causes, but most of the ones I have participated in have been for health causes. I think that it is wonderful to raise money for those who are sick and in need, but what about those who are healthy, just intellectually struggling?  Sometimes, I feel that literacy takes a backseat in these sorts of settings.   I wanted to acknowledge this event because it is clearly supporting literacy.  The theme is definitely clever and draws positive attention.  This is what the U.S. needs. They need to pay attention.  Literacy is powerful and in this case, it can help children get out of poverty.  This should spark more of an incentive to support literacy charities and to put on red and white sweaters!

http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/news/5283_thousands_of_people_dressed_as_wheres_wally_descend_on_london_park_to_support_literacy

National D.E.A.R. Day

17 Mar

National D.E.A.R. Day is on April 12th, the birthday of author Beverly Cleary.  D.E.A.R stands for Drop Everything and Read.  The day is a celebration of reading to encourage families to include reading every day in the home and to make reading more of a priority.

There are many community events held on this day that one can participate in, but simply reading in the home for at least 30 minutes is another way to participate.  The National Education Association, Parent Teacher Association, the Association for Library Service to Children, General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Reading Rockets, and several other organizations lead this celebration.

I support and admire this type of reading encouragement.  I know that when I was in elementary school, my favorite days were those when we read all together in class or when we participated in Accelerated Reading events.  These type of celebrations highlight the importance of reading in a fun, free way.   It seems like kids don’t like to read when they are assigned something that they have to read.  This day just requires that they read something, anything.

Beverly Cleary received thousands of letters from kids that had D.E.A.R at school and it inspired her to make Ramona in Ramona Quimby participate.  She saw the enthusiasm toward reading and the interest in reading that the children exuded and had to put it out there for the world to see.  This enthusiasm is what we want for the children in schools now.  Reading is a skill that everyone needs and starting early (with enthusiasm) is the best way to go.

http://www.dropeverythingandread.com/NationalDEARday.html

Gaming and the Government

5 Mar

gamingandgovblog According to the CNN article “Game for students aims to make Congress  serious fun” by John Gaudiosi, both violent video games and Congress have been “under fire” in the media.  McGraw Hill Education has created a game for college freshman government students that they are hoping will eliminate that attack from the media.  The new 3D game is called “Government in Action.”  It is meant to demonstrate the intricacies of the life of a U.S. representative.  In the beginning, the player is getting elected to the House of Representatives and has two years to get re-elected. Basically, the goal is to build up political capital, awareness, approval and influence in multiple ways. Players have to work with both national and local media,  hold fundraisers and find co-sponsors of bills, appease local and national lobbyists and align with their own political ideologies.  Professor Jason Seitz of Georgia Perimeter College said the game helped his students tie all of the concepts in his course together to develop a deeper understanding and knowledge of the subject.

This is an example of learning the language and practices of the government through gaming.   There are several games that have attempted to stimulate and encourage learning about a certain subject.  What I like about this article and this particular game is what it has done for students.  It is developing a deeper understanding of the class content by creating a connection to “the real world” with hands-on (virtual) experience.  I have always thought that the subject matter I remember the most about and I am most comfortable with is that which I have experienced.  Experience is the best way to learn.  This game promotes “government literacy”,  an area where knowledge is often lacking and contains concepts that can be difficult to grasp.   It is also capable of being multiplayer and including other classmates in the “life” of the player (they can co-sponsor bills for example).   This way, other people can also aid in understanding government ideas.

If more video games were fun and educational and people were more knowledgable of government officials’ tasks, then maybe that negative light from the media would not exist.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/06/tech/gaming-gadgets/congress-video-game/index.html