Monday, March 17, 2008

More 8th grade ideas

15 out of 25 students have a myspace page, all of them with fake birthdates to pass the age limit. These students spend more than one hour per day on the Internet, primarily on myspace and youtube.

Games enjoyed by these students include:
Gears of War
Halo 3
Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2
Final Fantasy 10
Devil May Cry 4
Prince of Persia 3
Resident Evil 4
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Smackdown 08
Smackdown vs. Raw
Mortal Kombat Armageddon

So, this class seems more like a TV and Internet class, although there are about 6 boys who say that they play games for more than 5-6 hours per day. So, what are they watching on tv? I gave them one minute to discuss it at their tables. Let's see what they had to say.

South Park, Simpsons, One Tree Hill, the Hillz, House, Drake and Josh, Americ'as Next Top Model, Futurama, I carly, Cesar and Chuy, Making the Band 4, Oprah's Big Give, Gossip Girl, That 70s Show, Spongebob, Failry Odd Parents, George Lopez, Family Guy, American Dad, Wild and Out, Boiling Points, MTV Cribs, Naruto, El Chavo del Ocho, Mexican League Football, Married with Children, Bones, Bleach, Scrubs, Death Note, Tyra Banks Show, Divorce Court, Arthur, Curious George, Spiderman, Batman, Sesame Street, Science NOVA Now, Animal Planet.

How did it come to this? I have more incommon with these students when it comes to video games than television! Who would have thought?

Suggestion Box

I recently surveyed 241 kids (10% of the student population) about their use of the library and their gaming habits. This is part of an effort to determine how to go about launching a video/computer gaming program that both supports the school's educational efforts and appeals to the recreational needs of the kids. At the end of the survey (32 multiple choice questions), I provided space for students to make comments or ask questions. I assumed they would keep their thoughts focused on the topics at hand, but some of them had other ideas. Although many of these comments were relevant to gaming in libraries, several were just plain funny. Give a kid the opportunity to open his/her mouth, and what spews forth is golden. Here are some highlights (I will remain faithful to the students' spelling):

"I hope we play war games not just learning games"
"I think this is a good idea for the school"
"I like video games and computers games"
"The kind of games that I like is violence, blood, Adult lauange "
"Add Maplestory as an suggestions as a game"
"I hate Ms. L class because she sucks"
"will you have wii and xbox in the library to play wit if not plez bring them plez"
"Are you or are you not gonna let students play computer games on the internet?"
"Does the games have to be educational?"
"would be a good game for school is thing thing 2 or 1, or 3 and also clear vision 1, or 2, and Max bike and we could get if free at"
"Whoo! Hoo!"
"Thanks Bye"
"No Thanks"
"on #30 [this was a question about what they would like to learn about from games] it depends because in science its already fun so i don't know"
"could we come only some days?"
"I would like to work in the school library for the gaming systems"
"how long do I have to participate in the library?"
"if there going to put games then they try not too make it really, really educational because then it starts to get a little boring"
"whats this for and are u going to make a gaming event after school?"
"I love videogames"
"I want to learn about every subject and learn by being in library services"
"why after school if we cannot stay after school?"
"I would like to be chosen. I like games and to read. I would like to parcipate in events"
"I don't enjoy writing alot in Ms. L class makes you take notes"
"I don't like science class, neather Mr. T. He is my teachers for science. I don't like him, and I think he dosen't like me neather. Well I don't care if he dosen't like me."

So, there you have it folks. The hearts and minds of our future leaders unveiled. Not many of these are helpful to me, but still.... some things just need to be said.

8th Grade Games

I'm standing here with an 8th grade class of students, many of whom like to play video/computer games.Three of them already played a game this morning before school. 14 of them played a game this weekend. Here are the games they play:
Mortal Kombat
Madden NFL '08
Smackdown vs. Raw 2008
Guitar Hero 1, 2, 3
NBA Live 2008
Dance Dance Revolution
Super Smash Brothers Melee
Mario Kart Double Dash
Mario Party 5,6,7
Flat Out
007 in Russia
FIFA 06, 07, 08
Grand Theft Auto
Zelda - Windwaker
True Crime
Gods of War
Def Jam Fight for NY
Def Jam Vendetta
Super Smash Brothers Brawl
Halo 2
Dragon Ball Z 1, 2, 3, 4
Naruto Ultimate Ninja 1, 2
Sonic Heroes

So, these are the games my middle schoolers are playing. Where to they do this? With whom?
- at home with cousin
- hospital lobbies with strangers (children's hospital)
- GameStop with other kids
- apartment lobbies with children
- in the car

8 own a PSP
9 own a Nintendo DS
10 own other portables - GameBoy, Sidekick, cell phone

16 out of 22 say they would want to be part of a library gaming event or tournament.
12 out of 22 would want to play games for school

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What's Your Favorite Subject?

I recently surveyed 242 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students at my school about their feelings about school, the library, and video games. This is part of a study I'm doing to look at how the introduction of video and computer games to the library impacts student behavior, engagement, and performance. I have only just begun the tedious work of compiling the data, but curiosity overwhelmed me this afternoon, so I took a premature look at a few of the results. So far, I've only tabulated data for forty-eight 8th-grade boys. Take a look at their favorite and least favorite classes.

Favorite Class
Math 19%
Science 15%
PE 35%
Drama 0%
Digital Art 4%
English 10%
Social Studies 0%
Art 2%
Computers 13%
Service (Office helper) 2%
Dance 0%

Least Favorite Class
Math 31%
Science 2%
PE 2%
Drama 10%
Digital Art 0%
English 15%
Social Studies 13%
Art 2%
Computers 0%
Service 0%
Dance 1%

I wonder how this will pan out when all 242 surveys have been counted, and how boys will differ from girls. Where are our actors? Our Broadway dancers? Our Picassos? When do those talents begin to flourish? And what's wrong with Social Studies? Am I crazy, or are these boys saying that they don't really like maps?!? What's wrong with them? And aren't boys supposed to love math? Why do 31% of them hate it at this school?

I don't remember my favorite subjects in middle school. Because I got to attend a wacky magnet, my favorites might have been yoga, cross-stitch, or music video production. I know that 6th grade was a not a year for loving English class, since my teacher took points off of spelling tests when I didn't make my lowercase cursive 'b' properly (so unfair), not to mention the fact that she owned the exact same pair of ballet-style shoes with bows in about 14 different colors. And she made me read Jane Eyre. In 7th grade, the Art teacher taught science, but I can't remember if that made it my favorite or least favorite class. In PE, we got to roller-skate and square-dance. Who wouldn't like that? They did, however, make us do the dreaded "flexed arm hang" once a year for the presidential fitness test, which is enough to make anyone hate anything.

I'm eager to see the rest of my survey results, and will post them here as they come in.