Hi all! I just wanted to briefly share about our awesome (and surprising) recent Skype call with a group of really bright 3rd graders from Hamilton Elementary School in Hamilton, MI.
The Blended Learning initiative at Hamilton Elementary is truly cutting edge, and I have been lucky enough to get in contact with three of these innovative educators in recent weeks. In fact, two of our excellent programmers, Bennett and Tyler, and myself had the honor of participating in a Skype call yesterday with 3rd grade teacher Michele Randle and a selected group of students.
Sometime Students have the Darndest Feedback
As you know, kids often have great insight into things that may have been missed by a so-called adult mind, and these Hamilton students were no exception!
Our general classroom Skype calls usually consist of a brief introduction to what we do here at Wowzers, a brief tour of the office, and an open Q&A session. Students questions and comments during the Q&A session are often focused on general things like how we came up with the name Wowzers, or what year we were founded. However, the Hamilton students had some other questions and comments in mind for their session...
Instead of asking general questions about day-to-day tasks or the history of Wowzers, these bright students went straight at the game itself, asking very candid and probing questions (in 3rd grade!). They asked why a game functioned one-way, and not another. Many had suggestions of how to make the games and lessons better. One student even suggested designing a Skip Free Time option so that students could save up their coins to use later (Watch this video for more info on Wowzers Free Time).
Taking a Step Back from the 'Vacuum'
The Hamilton students higher-order thinking questions took Tyler, Bennett, and myself aback at first. However, it was clear the students were asking/commenting in a positive and inquisitive manner, so we tried to answer the best we could. To be honest, some of their questions and comments stumped even us!
Heres the thing: the candid questions and comments we encountered from the Hamilton kids regarding how we do Game-based Learning are often times exactly what we need here at Wowzers! When buckling down to produce a great learning platform, you can momentarily find yourself in a production vacuum. Honest feedback from students jolts your memory and reminds you that the main goal is to make the best learning resource possible for students.
Want to know a Students Learning Needs? Just Ask!
Kids learn best when they are in a comfortable environment, and the feedback we received more or less was telling us how to improve these 3rd graders learning environment (when using Wowzers). That is invaluable when striving to refine and improve the Wowzers student experience, and you better believe we were taking notes.
All in all, the Hamilton students taught us more than we could have expected, and we hope to continue learning more from them in the future. Whether its hard hitting questions or just telling the story of Wowzers, we cannot wait for our next classroom Skype call!