Globaloria is a platform for students to create original, digital games around math, science and digital literacy related content. Developed by the non-profit World-wide Workshop, the Globaloria platform is currently being used in school districts across the country and is funded by both private and public sources.
Globaloria's digital platforms are subscription-based and designed to be used exclusively in-school as the group feels that this is the place to capture the attention of the most at-risk learners. To further reinforce the importance of utilizing these tools in-school, the group requires each participating school to have a 1:1 student to computer ratio, paired with high-speed internet. The program includes a set of open-source applications for game development, a custom-made curriculum, tutorial library and a proprietary Wiki for students and teachers to share resources, get help with lessons and engage with students from across the country. Globaloria also provides professional development materials and virtual support throughout the school-year.
The open-source nature of the materials and platform allows students and school districts to exponentially build-on each-others concepts and crowd-source solutions to group problems. Flash is used as the programming language, allowing both Middle School and High School students to get their feet wet with coding, while keeping the language relatively simple.
Flash is the chosen language, but while it is simpler to use than say, Python, it is currently not supported on many iOS devices. Also, this lock-down approach to course delivery in the classroom all but extinguishes the option for students who have the resources to continue to learn at home (I see how this could prevent the leveling of the playing-field that the group hopes to create by mandating in-class time). In addition, a main barrier to adoption could be that many school districts do not have enough computers to provide both a 1:1 student to tech ratio and sufficient bandwidth to support this program. Perhaps attempting to invest in providing laptops for students to check-out could be a way to democratize the "flipping" of this model?
As we continue to explore the development of learning platforms and avenues, it seems that this blended model may be interesting to explore, but only if it provides enough options for a teacher to "flip" the class and enable learning to continue at home.
Blended models work, but only if the technology and bandwidth of of a school are both plentiful and present.
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