Sunday, October 31, 2010


Often, in our commercial society, we applaud all the antics of our favorite stars. The biggest problem I have with this is that WE should be our favorite stars. Too often in the past year as a mentor, I would see students' wikis that showcased images of their favorite actors and musicians more than anything else. There is nothing wrong with having imagery that depicts our likes and dislikes. I just think we should blow our own horns a bit more.

So, in this post, I thought I would highlight some students who have really put themselves onto their wiki user page. First, at South Charleston Middle school, Kaitlin shows her love of softball. Nicole at George Washington High School shared a great picture of her beautiful daughter.

Like the sun, the star you see the most of often seems to shine the brightest. But, in a nebula, millions of stars are born and shine just as bright. Our students should see their own light as brightly as that of their idols.

Until next time, the soapbox is yours.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Globaloria game design leads students to interact with big ideas. Here's an example from the blog of a 7th grader in East Austin:

If we stop caring and start damaging these coral reefs would just be a huge open space of land. The people in this movie think that these coral reefs could be endangered because of overfishing. Which means that if we could fish less we could stop damaging these coral reefs. I'm not saying that we should stop fishing but just fish less because that's how we are losing our fish living in the coral reefs. And not only are coral reefs beneficial to the fish and plants, but they are also beneficial to us. They are a lot like the rainforest this is also where we can also get our medicines from the coral reefs. So if these coral reefs are beneficial to us why shouldn't we care for it? Another way we can stop harming it is by not dumping stuff in the water anymore. Toxic waste kills the animals and kils the plants and it kills the whole coral reef. And as I say if we have no more coral reefs it will not be good for anybody. It kills the plants and kills all the other organisms and could also harm us.

Juan is thinking of a problem in the world, and begin to connect to possible solutions. He thinks about another ecosystem in trouble, the rainforest, and makes connections. The students in East Austin are just beginning to design games using these big ideas, and I will share more about the games here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Creativity in the Globaloria Classroom

Recently in a sixth grade Globaloria class at East Austin College Prep Academy, I heard one student muse aloud ‘but how is that like a game?’ The students were doing some research about social issues, which are central to the Globaloria game concept process. He was reading about ocean pollution. It was interesting to him but it struck him that it was NOT fun in the way you might expect a game to be. That day, the student answered his own question with an idea, which quickly drew a comment from another student, who was a sudden collaborator. A spark caught and quickly led to the bright light of their discussion.

This excitement and spontaneous creativity is happening before with kids even begin to make their game. Students know there is a big difference in this class. I think most kids haven’t given the difference a name yet. To be sure, they know there is much more to come.

What sparks have you noticed in Globaloria classrooms?

Laura Minnigerode is research manager for Globaloria in Austin, Texas.