4 Resources for Balanced Tech

4 Great Resources for Balanced Technology

Balanced Technology My school does student-led conferences. People-watching at parent conferences is one of my favorite life activities. Of course no one wants that crazy teacher who just stares at you from across the room, so I’ve got to be clever about it. What I’m listening for is how the student communicates, and how the parents react. There are few things better than listening to a student and parent have honest conversations about stuff that matters: Friends, learning, struggles and options for success. At some point in the evening conversations inevitably turn to technology. The usual setup for this conversation…

Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Grade Breakdown

Zelda- breath of the wild, grade breakdown

Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Grade Breakdown This portion of the game review explains how Zelda: Breath of the Wild got the score it did. Go here to see the full Zelda: Breath of the Wild Game Review. You can also look over the details of the Video Game Scoring Guide. Parent Approved Hero: 9/10 The protagonist (Link) is a famous hero who has historically fought against evil. Link’s motivation is solid: Save the planet from unmitigated evil, and protect those who can’t protect themselves. You can problem-solve and very few fights are actually required. You can’t make peace,…

Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Game Review

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Game Review

Zelda: An Epic Adventure Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a massive open-world action-adventure game that puts you in control of a daring hero (Link) who sets out to save the world from certain destruction. The Zelda franchise is one of the oldest and most successful games series ever. Over 86 million copies of Zelda games have been sold since 1986. Zelda games define what an action-adventure game could be, specifically: Epic adventures Creatively challenging Engage their audience: You feel like you are part of the story The Adventure Begins Every game starts roughly the same: Link, the main hero,…

3 Truths about Technology Addiction

truth about technology addiction

Technology Addiction is Real In one of the most advanced, free, wealthy and educated nations on the planet we are actively creating new ways to become addicted. Technology addiction is most often associated with social media, video games, and personal electronics. It does include television, although this is more and more through phones and other devices, so the t.v. centric conversation is dwindling. 3 truths to know about technology addiction 1. Choices are the problem There is a growing body of research showing us that technology is not the problem. We are actively training our brains to need video games…

5 Keys to Choosing Great Board Games

How to choose a great board game

What Makes a Great Board Game? The most important part of selecting a good board game: Know your audience. When choosing a game you need to know who will be playing. A great game or six year olds may be incredibly boring for a group of junior higher. Also, simply being someone’s “favorite game ever” isn’t enough. Brain Food Think of great board games like food for your brain: When choosing real food, there is no single dish that everyone will like. Tastes differ even among the most experienced eaters. Same with games. Two veteran board gamers may like completely…

4 Steps for Choosing a Great Book

How to pick a great teen book

Finding a Great Book It can be tough to choose a great book. Do we look at the cover? Go off what our friends like? What if we simply hate reading? Learning how to choose books that engage us and challenge is us more than just what we do with our free time. It’s part of growing up and learning who we are. “But I Hate Reading” As a junior high English teacher I run into this all the time: I walk into the library with my class, introduce a genre and set the students loose to find something great.…

Doom (2016): Grade Breakdown

DOOM: Review Details - why this game scored how it scored.

DOOM (2016): Review Details This portion of the game review explains how DOOM (2016) got the score it did. Go here to see the full DOOM review. You can also look over the details of the Video Game Scoring Guide. Parent Approved Hero: 2/10 Your hero fights for what he believes is good. His beliefs are not up for sale. There is no peace-making option: Violence is the only solution. Your character goes beyond the simple “call of duty” in killing his opponents: He seems to enjoy killing them in creative ways. There is an argument for the fact that…

FPS: The Halo Effect

The Halo Effect: We want to be heroic

The Halo Effect First Person Shooters (FPS) are controversial. I’ve talked about how parents fear them and given a crash course introduction to First Person Shooters. Now I want to take you into the mind of an FPS gamer and what I call the Halo Effect. A Mind on Halo When Halo came out fifteen years ago it was mind-blowing. It had an incredible hero, combat that left you jittery it was so exciting, and graphics that were cutting-edge. Master Chief is a perfect spot to start when we look at how an FPS can be engaging. I’m going old school…

Nintendo Switch: The Best and Worst of Gaming (Part 2)

It’s easy to say that the Nintendo Switch represents the best of gaming.  It’s portable, there are great games, it has engaging graphics, you don’t have to quit just because you’re moving locations. Yet not all of these points are good. Nintendo Switch: The Worst of gaming. Go back to the launch trailer and watch from :30 – :45 again. I’ve quick-linked it here so it will start at 30 seconds. Notice anything? Let’s take a moment to reflect: Dog walks up to owner asking for attention. Guy dutifully stands, pulls his gaming device from it’s holder, and saunters out into…

Nintendo Switch: The best and worst of gaming (Part 1)

Nintendo Switch: Review

The Switch represents the best and worst of gaming. The biggest advances for Nintendo are coming this next year as they get ready to release their newest gaming console: The Nintendo Switch. The Switch represents the best and the worst of gaming in a single console. Oh sure, Nintendo recently made news by selling nearly 200,000 units of their throwback entertainment system, The NES Classic, in a single month. Nintendo has long made their standard the family-friendly, graphics-light, casual gamer category. But the Switch is hoping to take that to the next level. The Best and the Worse: Watch this first. To fully…