Lesson Plan on Identify Theft

My first post of the new year is actually a lesson plan I customized from the free curriculum on Online Identify Theft: Information is Power from Common Sense Media. Our technology office teaches what I would describe as a survey course in technology and digital citizenship and safety landed in my corner for the upcoming semester. While the customized lesson uses a lot of the Common Sense Media lesson ideas and resources, I found a few more resources and was a bit more specific on the use of a webtool. As of this writing, I am glad to see that it looks like “ID Theft Faceoff” the “game” designed by several federal government agencies to explore  identify theft is back online (it wasn’t looking so good about two weeks ago).

Too often teens think identity theft is only something adults need to be concerned about. I hope we are able to bring this issue to light with our students next semester.

Information Literacy

The Information Literacy Game from the University of North Carolina Greensboro is a flash-based or printable board game for 1-4 players. Trivia questions focus on four categories: Searching/Using Databases, Cite Your Sources/Avoid Plagiarism, Library Wild Card and Choose Your Resource. Possible classroom uses: a “fun” homework assignment or if focusing on information literacy, students could play it head-to-head as a review of content.

Gaming through the Revolutionary War

After a quick registration, I was ready to play! And I was impressed. Mission 1 of Mission US, “For Crown or Colony,” is a 5-part multimedia game with a solid flash introduction to the setting of the Revolution.  The “game” “puts the player in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a 14-year-old printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. As Nat navigates the city and completes tasks, he encounters a spectrum of people living and working there when tensions mount before the Boston Massacre.  Ultimately, the player determines Nat’s fate by deciding where his loyalties lie.” I really wish I taught US History again.

Including historical background on the time period as well as game characters for teachers, a primary source collection focusing on pertinent documents from the Revolutionary period and more, this is a great activity for learners, especially grades 7-10. There is also a version of the game available for download which would help with bandwidth issues.  Impressive financial backing from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

I look forward to the near future as it looks like any day now there should be a rollout of a second mission, focusing on resistance to slavery.

Learning from others: SPENT

One of the things I enjoy when teaching the Classroom Technology course for Saint Mary’s is learning from our learners. This past Monday, one of our learners introduced me to SPENT. The Urban Ministries of Durham, NC, designed an interactive role-play experience to challenge the way people think about poverty and homelessness.

For 30 digital days, the “player” is put in the position of a person living in poverty. Select a job and make “real-life decisions” such as where to live, whether to take time off of work to attend the wedding of a friend, or what to purchase when grocery shopping. Each decision has financial implications and statistics are given throughout the game to help educate about the realities of the poor and homeless.

This interactive simulation would be excellent in a class that focuses on life choices, personal economics, sociology, or in any content or programming which focuses on the issues of homelessness and poverty.