Winter 2016 News and Updates

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Hello everyone!

It has been a while since I have posted anything, but we’ve been hard a work at Fluency Games over the past few months getting a couple of products ready to go…

Percent Bingo

Percent Bingo (click here for more detailed description of Percent Bingo) will be ready for submission to the App Stores this week, and released on the companion website, additionblocksgame.com! We are very excited to get Percent Bingo out the door and having your children and students play the game!

Percent Bingo is designed to build fluency and number sense with fractions, decimals, and percents, in a fun bingo game. The Bingo Numbers are given as a fraction or decimal, and the board is filled with the percent values. Players will have to convert the fraction or decimal to match the percent on their board.

Other features include:

  • Adaptive Play– difficulty increases as the player shows fluency in converting values
  • Context Sensitive Hint system – up to 3 hints (includes the solution) for each value
  • Eight levels of Mastery– from Beginner to Wizard
  • Over 30 achievements
  • Four speed settings
  • Two Board sizes – 4×4 and 5×5

Screen Shots

title-960x640 options-960x640 gameplay-960x640 help-960x640 stats-960x640

Web Portal

We also in development of a parent/teacher web portal that will allow users to set individual settings for their children/students. We will be rolling out a subscription-based service to track and report progress. This will allow users to see how students are improving and find problem spots.

Teachers and school administrations will be able to upload students, create individual profile settings, and manage their subscriptions. Future additions will allow teachers to create assignments and send messages to their students.

The Web Portal should be available summer of 2016!

Screen Shots

Teacher's Roster of Students image

Teacher’s Roster of Students

Teacher's Manage Students image

Teacher’s Manage Students – Update App Settings

Manage Students Page image

Manage Students Page – Progress Report Graph

Subscribe to the page for more updates and future products from Fluency Games!

Too Many Games!

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In the last post, Why Bring Games into your Classroom, I presented several advantages for bringing games into your classroom. Naturally, the next question is: Which games should I bring into my classroom?

The market is over-saturated with educational and learning games; so choosing a good game for your students can be quite time consuming or very frustrating and confusing with so many similar games. However, there are some initial steps that can be taken to help make your time and effort much more efficient.

What defines a ‘good game for your classroom’? Here are 4 characteristics:

  • Play-ability (Engaging/Willing to play again)
  • Learning Objectives (What is the game trying to do/teach?)
  • Differentiation (Can you play at different levels, speeds, etc?)
  • Critical and Strategic Thinking (Does the game make them plan ahead/problem solve?)

There are, literally, thousands of games per subject available on the web. Quite frankly, many of them are just not playable or that engaging. Below are four points to consider as you try to find games to add to your classroom.

First, Do you enjoy playing the game?

Not a catch-all for finding that great game to help your kids learn. However, if you, personally, do not enjoy the game, it is a good indicator that your children or students will probably not enjoy playing either.

Second, Rely on Trusted Resources

Rely on a few trusted resources, either personal or internet, and avoid large, general searches. It’s an ocean of apps, and one can quickly drown and get easily lost in the navigation. BrainPOP’s GameUP site, for example, has a limited number of games (less than 5% of games that are submitted get added to their site). Graphite.com is another site that uses teacher & parent reviews to rate the games and sites.

Third, Find out what your students are playing

Ask your students to show them some of the (educational/puzzle/strategy) games that they enjoy, then play it yourself. Does it stimulate critical thinking? Is the game actually meeting educational objectives? If the game meets the characteristics defined as a ‘good game’ above, then bring it in! Not all of the games they play may be a good fit for your personality or class, but they can give you ideas and be a great filter. A good example is Minecraft, where a huge educational community has grown up around that game.

Fourth, Think outside the box

Many games, not necessarily labeled ‘educational’ are great to bring in to your classroom that can provide plenty of learning opportunities and stimulate strategic and critical thinking.

  • Computer: Minecraft, SimCity, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Portal*, The Talos Principle
  • Classic Games: Monopoly, Risk, Stratego, Scrabble, Clue, Blokus, MasterMind, Yahtzee, Checkers, Chutes-and-Ladders (Pre-k)
  • Contemporary/Modern Board Games: Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Forbidden Desert, Forbidden Island, Qwirkle
  • Puzzle: Sudoku, Kakuro

The point is also not to be afraid to experiment! Looking at games from a different point of view may give you a great idea!

Tell us in the comments what games you’ve brought into the classroom! What games to your kids enjoy playing?

 

*Portal does have several levels that involve robotic gun turrets that shoot at the player, however.