The three coolest people I’ve never met in person are teachers who use games in their classrooms. These teachers are dedicated, creative, progressive, compassionate, and effective. In short, they’re everything we want our teachers to be.
I’ve never met Lucas Gillispie in person, but I feel like I know him. I first heard about his amazing work with middle school kids in rural North Carolina when my family foundation awarded him a grant in 2009. His World of Warcraft In School project used World of Warcraft to teach kids about everything from teamwork to writing to math. He had kids tweeting in the personas of their characters, making short films, giving in-game tours to groups of other students, and writing fantastic stories and essays. Kids who were already getting good grades teamed up with kids who weren’t, and everyone did better.
Lucas excels at doing what all amazing teachers do—motivating kids to learn. This year he won an award for his innovative teaching. And do you know what he said about that? “This award is really about the student-heroes, our Lorekeepers, the brave teachers who’ve taken on this incredible journey, and the many school leaders who have fostered environments that allow innovative experiments like this to grow.” So he’s humble, too. To find out more about Lucas Gillispie and his innovative and smart teaching, check out his blog, Edurealms.com. And next week, check in here at Pixelkin for an inspiring article by this amazing teacher.
Peggy Sheehy, another long-time, incredibly innovative, and dedicated teacher, bills herself as “Teacher on a Mission.” She’s also a keynote speaker and a consultant on games in education and online learning and literacy. Wow. That’s a lot. But Peggy seems completely up to it. She’s worked on continuing education for teachers within Second Life, teamed up with Lucas Gillispie on the WoW In School project, and started another games and learning project that uses Guild Wars II in the classroom. Peggy is an amazing speaker and advocate. She’s also a singer.
Marianne Malmstrom is a teacher at Elizabeth Morrow School in New Jersey. I’ve never been to visit her in New Jersey, but I did hear her speak at the Serious Play Conference in Redmond, Washington. What an inspiring teacher she is! Marianne is involved in the large and growing community of educators who use Minecraft in the classroom. And she’s a leader of teachers and parents who think about the complexities of internet safety for kids. (Hint: The answer is not keeping kids off the Internet—it involves teaching them, as they develop and grow as social beings, how to interact appropriately). She wrote a great report about using Quest Atlantis, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and Lego Universe in the classroom.