Army veteran Ross Gragert takes an
innovative approach to lesson delivery at Willis High School. “My purpose is to
help students with their goal of graduating on time and to have a little fun
along the way,” said Gragert. While innovation is not new to Gragert’s
classroom, a recent project was just what was needed to garner and keep
Each year after reading several
literature classics, such as Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the
Taming of the Shrew, students normally write a script for an additional scene
or chapter in the play or story. However, Gragert decided to integrate a new
technology into the project to keep students engaged – Bloxels.
Bloxels is an online, hands-on
technology program that allows students to build a video game from scratch. The
program incorporates the use of blocks that the designer places on a gameboard.
Students then take a picture of the board to build the background scene for
their game. This allows students to channel their creative potential as they
gain greater understanding of design logic and computer science.
Students picked a partner, chose a
story, developed their own ideas, and then coded and created the game for their
classmates to play. “They incorporated details from the story into their video
game worlds that even I hadn’t thought of,” said Gragert. “We have students
that are more adept in the gaming world explain how to do certain things with
the programming. It was a great experience and the kids really enjoyed it.” #IAmTXEd