Teacher's game approach
1 November 2011
Alice Leung's passion and enthusiasm could have taken her either way - to be a professional gamer or a high school science teacher.Learning scientific concepts through games
Her decision to pursue teaching paid off recently when she won the 2011 Microsoft Partners in Learning NSW Teacher of the Year Award. The award celebrates teaching methods that use technology in innovative ways.
Ms Leung, a new scheme teacher at Merrylands High School, won for her learning through games concept which embeds commercial games into classroom learning activities to teach scientific concepts.
Ms Leung uses the iPhone game Angry Birds in HSC physics to analyse projectile motion and plays Kinect Sport with Year 7 students to teach them about average speed.
The data she collected showed when students used games and technology they were familiar with, they were more motivated to learn and more likely to remember the concept .
Games allow students to experience things that are not possible otherwise in the classroom," Ms Leung said.
Developing professional networks
The learning through games concept has been embraced by the staff at Merrylands High and Ms Leung is working with her colleagues on how games can be used in their classrooms as well as leading professional development workshops where teachers can gain firsthand experience with gaming.
Ms Leung recommended teachers consider using games with their students not only as a way to support student learning but also to develop their own professional network and learning.
"Share ideas with your colleagues at your school and also join an online professional learning network like Twitter and [the department's microblogging tool] Maang so you can share ideas and connect with a global network of educators," she said.
"In the end it's about quality teaching and learning and how technology can enhance and transform it."
Ms Leung will go on to represent NSW at the Microsoft Asia Pacific Partners in Learning Forum to be held in March next year.
Photo: Lila Mularczyk