2004 Conference Proceedings

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LET'S PLAY: USING SYMBOLS AND TECHNOLOGY TO DEVELOP AND ADAPT INTERACTIVE GAMES

Presenters
Lisa Petit
Mayer-Johnson, Inc.
6650 Flanders Drive, Suite F
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: 800-588-4548
Email: lisa@mayer-johnson.com

This session will examine the many benefits of incorporating games into the instructional program for students with disabilities. In addition we will share a multitude of creative ways to adapt games for users of all ability levels and with various physical limitations. We will look not only at specific games to create but various adaptations for access, communication, and inclusion in the entire game playing experience. The examples we show will be made primarily using Boardmaker.

This session will begin by examining the many benefits of using games in the classroom! First and foremost, games are a fun way to teach and reinforce skills. Students are often more open to learning through games because of the enjoyable, relaxed nature of the experience. As we look at many examples later in the talk, many ideas will be provided for how to actually incorporate different concepts and vocabulary being taught and to create games from themes being taught. In addition, many additional valuable skills can be targeted through games. Certainly many math skills are reinforced including counting and more/less concepts. Moving along the game board, keeping score, and determining the winner all allow for work on math concepts. Also, many social skills can be addressed with games. Students will work on turn-taking and sportsmanship for example and appropriate conversation can be reinforced as well. The benefits of games are not surprising. This review will make it clear ! that games are a valuable asset to any classroom or instructional environment.

The first type of adapted games that will be introduced are new versions of old favorites. We will look at creating symbol-based, interactive versions of Connect Four, Guess Who, dominos, bingo, card games and tic-tac-toe. We will provide several adaptations of each game to show how learners of various levels and with various needs will be able to access and use these games. Through these and all examples we will look at how to create these adaptations using Boardmaker.

Next we will spend the majority of time looking at creating various games, in particular board games. We will focus on making thematically-based games so that concepts and vocabulary from instructional units can be taught and reinforced through these games. We will also look at many creative ways to extend the instruction of a book through board games. We will introduce many classroom favorites through the age and ability spectrum and games that have been created based on the books. We will also look at board games that reinforce functional skills such as the shopping list game that addresses shopping using a shopping list. The beauty of the board games we will show is that they can be used and reused for various units, themes, or skills that you are targeting. We will introduce various ways to move through the board game using colors, counting and more!

To supplement the games that we introduce, participants will also be introduced to many ideas for communication and access. We will look at communication boards created with Boardmaker that can be used for all aspects of game-playing including selecting a game, peers to play with, teams and game-pieces. In addition we will look at communication and conversation opportunities during the game and after the game, with a focus on social skills such as turn taking and sportsmanship. Convenience of communication systems will also be addressed to encourage the use and ease of use of these systems. In this portion of the talk we will introduce interactive on-screen boards created with Speaking Dynamically Pro. We will discuss how to integrate the use of these boards in game-playing.

Lastly we will look at creative adaptations for how to "roll." We will look at options for adapted dice and spinners and we will look at ways to integrate technology to allow all students to "roll" when it is their turn. Specifically, we will look at using Speaking Dynamically Pro to "roll" dice and we will look at using the Stepper as a "rolling" tool as well.

This session will leave participants excited and ready to play! In addition to a better understanding the benefits of games, attendees will leave with many creative ideas of how to use games to reinforce concepts and vocabulary and how to integrate and address social skills in the process. All attendees will also leave with a CD of Boardmaker templates for many of the games presented. Let the games begin!


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