Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sorting Through Gen Con

It's been a few weeks since Gen Con came to Indy, but I'm just now sorting through all the business cards we picked up. It's always cheaper to ask for a business card and visit them online than fight the crowds waiting in line. So here's the list of personal favorites, in no apparent order:

  • The Game Crafter - You have the game, they have the parts. Then they will even sell your game for you! This could be a great resource for a custom game used in class. Or if students make games as part of an assignment, they could go one to publish and sell their idea.
  • Billiboards - Quality Carrom products from around the world. We spent the good part of an hour playing Carrom at the booth. Billy Stevens was very gracious in explaining the rules, techniques and history of the game. We have a Carrom board decorating the wall but never had the pieces. We'll be buying the pieces soon!
  • Minion Games - Picked up a free deck of the game Sturgeon. The kids really enjoyed it, Nana had some difficulty following the rules but eventually got the hang of it. As my youngest pointed it, "It's the food chain." So she made the academic connection :-)
  • WHO North America - I went back several times to this booth, even if to simply drool over the DVD sets and touch the life-size Tardis. I seriously debated about an Amy Pond poster, but eventually declined. Now if there would have been a Rose Tyler poster...
  • Fat Dragon Games - Very cool use of paper folding artwork to create game spaces.
  • Mantic Games - Probably the coolest calling card. These purveyors of plastic mini-figures gave us a small model sheet with two Elves Scouts upon request because it has their web address and info imprinted on the selvage.
  • Flames of War - My son's great grandfather was wounded in WWII, so anything to do with The Great War has always fascinated him. They have some wonderful reproductions. As equally excited about historical accuracy as the fantasy role play.
  • Fireside Games - One of the first booths we encountered, so the boy was still overwhelmed with the immensity of Gen Con. The gal quickly explained how to play Bears! and we played a few rounds. Very fun game, great for road trips. Coming in September!
  • Geek Chic - These people are marriage savers. My wife loves quality furniture. What better way to store and play than with custom built furniture? They offer several accessories and innovative storage solutions for games, Legos, crafts, models...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tech In Class Is Like Christian Music

Growing up, contemporary Christian music didn't exist. If there was Christian music on the radio, it was usually at the beginning or end of a sermon. I remember listening to light rock or easy listening radio stations, some might even call it elevator music, but that was the least offensive you could get. The result was that the music we sang in church on Sunday was vastly different from what we heard the rest of the week. Very few radio stations played hymns with organ accompaniment. 
Today, my kids listen to KLOVE and we sing the same songs in church. It's a vastly different dynamic. Where I felt a dichotomy, my kids experience unity. The music on Sunday morning echoes throughout the week. Sunday and Monday are leveled to the same plateau, a continuity of worship.
What struck me though was the analogy to technology in the classroom. When we use the internet, social media and mobile devices in class, those tools and lessons can continue to reverberate all week long. The greatest asset to digital tools is the ability to extend learning into everyday life and on the reverse, bring everyday experiences into the classroom. It's really a lot like how Paul described, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."