My Takeaways from ISTE2016 #4 Machinima is Educational. Please don't discount it.

Know a child that loves video games?  Of course you do!  Why do they love them?  They are highly engaging, personalized, collaborative, they provide opportunities for success through trial and error, and have fantastic narratives, they are creative and thought provoking.  Need I say more?  So the challenge over the years has been:   How do we as educators harness the power of gaming, by making sure we are hitting on quality curriculum objectives?  One answer is to embed curriculum into video games.  This is known as Tangential Learning.  Want a better understanding of this phenomenon?  Check out this video:  Extra Credits *Warning, there is 1 four letter word in the video, so best not watch it around little ones.
Anyway, another way to harness the potential of video games is to have students create Machinima.  In a nutshell, Machinima is the process of using screenshots or screenvideos of gaming to create movies.  So for example. a student creates their own movie using scenes from their gameplay in Minecraft.  So students can write the script, narrate the action, learn how to make a movie using movie based programs, learn perspective, dialogue, history, storytelling.... need I say more?
If you are in Edtech, you have probably heard about the SAMR model of educational technology evolution.  The R stands for Redefinition- Redefining how we teach, assess, and learn.  Machinima can do that!  It truly combines the power of gaming and the essentials of curriculum all the while embedding creativity and collaboration.
On Tuesday evening at ISTE2016 we had an Edumachinima Night.  Sponsored by the Techsmith Company, this was an evening where student and teacher created machinima was presented.  Below are the winning entries.  Please take a look.  I think it will make the case that Machinima can be a powerful way to redefine education.

(The section below is from the Showcase notes from Kae Novak, Tanya Martin and Chris Luchs.

1.  The first machinima in our showcase is titled Invent-It: Open Sim Student Inventions and was submitted by Mrs. Mary Howard. This Machinima was created by students in Mrs. Howard’s 6th grade class. Celia , Edward, Ryan, Ashley, Joshua, Eleah, Elaina, Grace, Gia, and Hannah. In this Machinima you can see how the students literally attempted to Make the Future! They imagined, designed and then constructed futuristic machines designed to solve a myriad of problems faced by society. As you see their solutions, you'll see future inventors, engineers and designers. It was created in Open Sim. (total Length 6:34)

2. Our next machinima was a creation by Ross Dorfman, Bayley Schaefer, Joseph Royster, Jacob Meyer from North Carolina. It is titled The Infinite Loop and was created in Minecraft. This takes place in a future world where everyone lives in connecting biomes.The students ranged in age from 5-10 and worked together to bring you their original story. (total length 13:44)

3. The Rise of Zenix is another Minecraft machinima created by Robert Burdsall, Carter Hall, Ben Ziegler and submitted by their instructor Mrs. Patricia Cloud. It takes place in the future and past showing us some time travel.  (total length 1:31)

4. Finally we have a teacher submission. This machinima shows a poster area created for the VWPBE conference that has always focused on exploring future uses of virtual environments. Narration is by Mary Howard, Music by Kevin Macleod, and created by Andrew Wheelock. 

 ISTE VEN Poster Exhibit for VWBPE (total length 4:14)