Rural teacher's highly successful gameplan one out of the Xbox

By Jarrod Booker

A Canterbury teacher has embraced gaming systems like Microsoft's Xbox 360 as part of her class curriculum.
A Canterbury teacher has embraced gaming systems like Microsoft's Xbox 360 as part of her class curriculum.

Video game consoles normally come out only after school, but in Jan Anderson's classroom they are part of the learning.

The Canterbury teacher has incorporated gaming systems such as the XBox and movies into her schedule, and her recipe for enhancing traditional teaching has proven worthy of international recognition.

"When we were doing science and looking at forces in motion, I used an XBox game called Thrillville, where the students are making their own rollercoaster," Mrs Anderson said.

Mrs Anderson's work at Methven Primary School earned her the Microsoft 2010 Innovative Teacher Award - given to only one teacher in each of the Asia Pacific countries. She will travel to South Africa this year to be judged against the world's best.

Her small rural school does not have high-speed internet access or the best technology, but pupils make the best of what they can get. They take advantage of tools downloaded on to their computers to develop ideas.

Mrs Anderson's students are also encouraged to write about technology experiences in blogs.

Fantasy movies are played, with activities based around the subtitles shown on screen to "basically accelerate reading".

"When you see the impact on the class, you have to keep going with it because it is just incredible," Mrs Anderson said.

"Students involved in it over three months increased their reading age on average by one and a half years."

- NZ Herald

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