Digital coach Michael Procardo: “I help kids learn with video games”

(The following is an article written within the activities of the laboratory “Cittadini Giornalisti Digitali” of the AVATAR project – Alto Vicenino, which aims to develop digital culture and new technological services for citizens, companies, institutions and public administration in Alto Vicenino ) *

The Video games, In addition to being art forms and a healing medium, they can also do a lot in the field ofeducation. He is convinced of that Michael BrocardoAn expert in training and technology, through his project he was able to confirm how video games can be a valid support for the studio. That’s why he used to Maine Craft, A 2009 work developed by the software house Mojang, which offers the possibility to build everything that our imagination allows us to think thanks to a world made of cubes and materials of all kinds, which we can do and place at will. To achieve his purpose he also used that war hammer, A strategy game using 3D miniatures owned by Games Workshop.

Michael, what is your background and what do you do?
I am a science hub and digital coach. I have a degree in biomolecular sciences and technologies from the University of Trento and a masters degree in science communication and innovation.
In recent years, it has been involved in the creation and implementation of science laboratories for students of all ages in schools, museum activities, science events at the national level, and the creation of training courses for adults, seniors, and groups of disadvantaged populations on technology and smartphones.”

We know that this tutorial project applies the use of Minecraft and Warhammer. How is it used and in what areas?
“Minecraft Education is the educational edition of the popular Microsoft game that combines a tool that is known and appreciated by students and a platform created for use by teachers and educators. I am currently using this game with elementary and middle school students to pursue many issues that are directly related to the topics covered in Minecraft Education. Classroom Inclusion, teamwork, and planning are the starting points when using this game, then address topics such as urban renewal, environmental impact, and natural ecosystems.”

The video game Minecraft

How is Warhammer used in your project?
Warhammer is a mini-game developed by Games Workshop that has been taking hold for several years and has entered the world of pop culture with books, video games, movies and TV series. Over the past 10 years, students’ hand ability has increasingly decreased more and more accurately due to fewer hands-on activities. Previously it would have been workshops like this that are now turned into practical digital labs.There are assembly and drawing lessons that include art, the relation of picturesque elements to wood and waste materials and the actual game of mathematics on the one hand, dice rolling and the characteristics of miniatures, on the other hand the strategy of movement and choices, similar to chess “.

The Warhammer video game

What inspired you to embark on this project?
“My desire to create something new, educational and interesting is the foundation that drives my work. I believe that the educational environment should renew itself according to the times we live in. Most of the time, teachers and institutions do not have the knowledge, money or means to offer new and attractive activities to their students. Here I enter with my activities My tests and suggestions.

Why video games? What are its positive effects?
The use of well-known video games in education can be beneficial in two cases: to increase education Soft skill refinement of students and transfer time issues. Minecraft is played a lot outside of school and most of the time the students have more in-depth knowledge than the teacher about the game mechanics and the environment used. To bring Minecraft into a classroom, you need a teacher who has a minimum knowledge of the tool (or at least a willingness to commit to learning) and a clear message that needs to be conveyed to the activity participants: You can learn by playing, but you can’t play just to learn.
With Warhammer, we have improved manual dexterity, use of game data stats, and strategy typical of games like chess and incorporate topics like art, math and technology.”

How do the students respond? Were there the results and progress that you expected?
“Over the past two years that I have introduced Minecraft as an educational tool to schools, the results have always been very positive. Both the month and hour project have shown students a new way of learning while having fun and teachers of different aspects of their work.
As for Warhammer, the activities carried out so far are still few to achieve an effective positive balance. This project started a few months ago, and due to the intensification of the epidemic, we had to move forward much more slowly than Minecraft, which can also be used remotely or at home.”

Can you tell us how the development and publishing houses for the games in question have supported this?
“Microsoft’s support for Minecraft Education is more indirect. With constant updates, new ideas created and shared by other educators from around the world, and specific tutorials to help both adults and children properly enter this digital world.
As for Warhammer, the support was direct and basic. Through the Warhammer Alliance, a project dedicated to the education and dissemination of this sector with which I have contacted, I was able to receive all the materials needed to start this adventure.”

Is there anything you would like to say to those who still tend to hate these educational tools?
“The first thing I must specify is that these methods are not always applicable and should not be used as a substitute for regular and basic school activities. These activities serve as tools to convey a message or a topic or to try to solve a need in students. The second thing is that to bring these tools to an acceptable level of quality , Study and expertise are needed on the part of the teacher.Without passion and knowledge of the medium and subject to be taken up, you risk doing more harm than anything else.
Having said that, I strongly believe that a school should offer many opportunities to all its students in order to make known as much as possible everything outside the classroom door. If you still have doubts about the use of technology, digital or games in school, I invite you to attend a school activity of this type or talk to a teacher without too much prejudice. What you will see or hear will amaze you! “.

* Davide Scalabrin – CGD Avatar مشروع Project

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