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English - Blogs about video games

What's it about?

When two Year 9 (S2) boys said they had the "fantastic idea" of encouraging more kids to read by playing video games, I was sceptical, writes Dan Roberts. But months later, their project has gone from strength to strength and really is improving reading and writing.

Their games-based blogging scheme is now being made available to primary and secondary teachers all around the world.

The boys created all the resources and lesson plans and have tested and refined the lessons during the past term by completing the project with five partner primaries and one Year 7 and one Year 8 class at our school.

It helps develop skills in creativity, self-confidence, critical thinking and new technologies by engaging students in learning through the use of games. They then improve their literacy by creating their own games to narrate the story behind their game. They are encouraged to read and write - through blogging - and post the stories about their games.

The project used Microsoft's Kodu, fantastic software that allows you to program and create video games, and Microsoft's Windows Live Writer and Wordpress to communicate the stories via a blog. These are free, easy to use, compatible, easily transferred, and simple to install.

The project has been used by three other schools in the UK, and in the US and India at the pilot stage, and the students have now launched it via Twitter and Facebook. It has been a win-win for everybody.

Where to find it

Download Microsoft Kodu and Windows Live Writer for free:

http:research.microsoft.comen-usprojectskodu

http:explore.live.comwindows-live-writer?os=other

To set up a free Wordpress blog for your class, go to: http:wordpress.org.

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