Thursday October 18 at 9 PM ET the third installment of the G.A.M.E. “It Takes A Guild – A Guild of Educators” webinar series took place. This episode featured an interview with Lucas Gillispie, Craig Lawson and Sara Toothman from Pender County Schools in southeastern North Carolina. Four years ago Lucas began integrating games into instruction with one teacher in one school, and now there are about a dozen teachers in ten district schools using World of Warcraft, Guild Wars or Minecraft as part of their instructional practices. You can access the webinar at the G.A.M.E. and Games MOOC YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/gamesmooc.
Lucas Gillispie is an Instructional Technology Coordinator for Pender County Schools in southeastern North Carolina. An avid gamer, he is passionate about the integration of video games into the learning environment. In 2009, he founded the WoWinSchool Project, a program designed to explore the educational potential of games like World of Warcraft with at-risk middle grades learners. Lucas oversees a district-wide Minecraft implementation of over 300 student accounts, while providing professional development on game-based learning to teachers in his district, state, and beyond. His most recent project, SAGA (Story and Game Academy) aims to encourage middle grades students to build reading and writing skills through video games on platforms ranging from the XBox to the PlayStation.
Craig Lawson is a pioneering middle grades educator from Pender County Schools. A literacy coach at West Pender Middle School, Craig is consistently seeking ways to leverage technology to engage student learning and spark a passion for reading and writing among his learners. He is co-author of the nationally recognized World of Warcraft in School project curriculum, a leader in the integration of game-based learning in the classroom, and a passionate speaker as well. He has presented at both state and national conferences as he champions the use of technology in the classroom.
Sara Toothman currently teaches a variety of classes at West Pender Middle School. Though originally a visual arts teacher, she has been inspired by fellow educators and gamers to delve into the use of video games at school. Aside from her visual arts class, Sara teaches a stand-alone elective class incorporating Minecraft with a science twist and also facilitates a section of WoWinSchool. Her students can be found engineering complex machines, constructing ornate buildings, or participating in The Hunger Games while simultaneously engaging in science. Through a Kickstarter grant, she managed to create a video gaming lab to be utilized for class projects this year. Sara's goals in incorporating video games in school is to increase student motivation and excitement in learning. She hopes these games will foster lifelong learning within her students.
This G.A.M.E. interview was conducted by Laurence Cocco, Director of Educational Technology for the New Jersey Department of Education and one of the Guild Officers for G.A.M.E., or Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education.