A confident and brave 13 year old Malaysian student, Sarveesh, who speaks English as his second language, teaches my year 11 IT class how to use MS Kodu (a Microsoft game making software) and demonstrates how to play the educational, environmental game that he had created. Skype was used for the videoconferencing linkup with skype. My students, in turn, listened attentively, coping with the accent and then proceeded to play the game, with Sarveesh on standby for any questions.
“What is this about boomerangs?” I can hear you say?
Just like the boomerang that returns full circle, a game making software tool that was taught by an Australian educator to Malaysian teachers in Kuala Lumpur has turned full circle back to Australia with a Malaysian student teaching my students how to play and use the game.
How did this happen? Zainuddin Zakariah in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, emailed me and alerted me to the fact that Zainuddin had met someone in KL who knew me from Melbourne, Australia. The trainer was “Richard Olsen” from the Ideas lab in Melbourne. Richard had spent some days teaching the Microsoft Game Making software, Kodu to a select group of Malaysian teachers.
How I met Zainuddin: After meeting Zainuddin at the MS Innovative Teachers conference in Kuala Lumpur several years ago, we had continued to work our classes together online. Our most powerful learning exchange taking place in elluminate where our two classes met in a virtual classroom over a 5 week period in 2010. Zainuddin and Nurul (another teacher at Taman Burkitt Maluri School) introduced game making to the students. These students designed educational games for English, Science, Mathematics etc. One of these students went on to win a Microsoft competition for his game “Reserved”.
After Sarveesh explained MS kodu and how to play his game, my students then played his game, wrote up their reflections and offered him supportive feedback and reflections via email.
The steps involved:-
- My students download the gamemaking kodu software onto their netbooks.
- Sarveesh’s game was emailed to us and downloaded.
- Zainuddin and I test the videoconference linkup using skype
- Sarveesh comes to the webcamera, talks about his game and demonstrates how to play it.
- My students play the game
- They emailed Sarveesh with their learning from playing the game and other feedback.
- Inspired, one of my students independently experimented with Kodu at home, to make his own.
Some of the student comments/feedback
Hi Sarvesh! thanks for letting me play the game!Saving the environment in the game was a big learning step. Destroying the factory was meant to be reducing the carbon footprint and that too stop our trees from being wasted and eradicating thousands of animals who live in them. The learning experience I had was good, the graphics were excellent and you who created it, has a very good understanding of what is wrong with the earth today.Thanks a lot!
Hello Sarvesh, how are you going, thank-you for letting me play your game you
I think it is good game, it was so easy to follow your instructions and yeah
it is a well made game .
I really enjoyed playing this game, it was so easy to play and it was also good
fun :). I learnt how to help save the environment and gave us tips on how to
try and do our bit to save our environment.
We learnt that trees are good for our environment.