ISTE 2017: Silas Brings Role Playing To Life To Teach Critical Social Skills and Offer Speech and Language Therapy
Here at nibletz.com we purposely try our hardest to write these ISTE 2017 previews without the help of the company. In order to succeed in the crowded EdTech space a company’s message needs to be clear and concise. So while we’re jumping into this story about Silas, let me just say that the headline quote is from a student in the company’s promo video. The quote is actually a very good compliment.
Bernadette Mullen, Silas’s curriculum director, and her team have put together a fully immersive video game experience that offers speech and language therapy. It also helps kids develop critical social skills. So far, we haven’t seen anything else like it.
Kids use Silas to create an animated movie. In the creation process they use video game controllers and headsets, tools that they are probably familiar with from life outside of school. Students playing or participating in Silas pick an avatar for the game and then move about the screen and interact with the other video game characters. Students use the controllers to move the characters around and work through the animation process.They use the familiar buttons on the controllers to express emotion; A for Angry, B for Happy, Y for Sad, and X for Excited. They use the headsets to bring the characters to life.
Silas incorporates a handful of good social starters. Are the students having trouble communicating with one another in the cafeteria or on the playground? The teacher can select the setting for the Silas game/movie and let the students act out scenarios. They’ve developed Silas as a tool that can help one student at a time or a group of students. Does a teacher have a student that’s disruptive and continually interrupting classmates? A teacher can turn to Silas and set that student up on a virtual role play.
Silas engages students in a meaningful way using tools that students know. I can remember back to when I was in middle school and we had to role play, no one wanted to do it for fear that they would get laughed at. Silas takes off that edge by bringing the role play into the video game.
“Using SiLAS, students act out social scenes with avatars that they control and voice. After, SiLAS produces a studio-quality animation of that scene that kids and teachers can assess and share with parents.” the company says.
So yea, Silas is a “cool movie video game thing”.
Check out Silas at ISTE 2017 in San Antonio, June 25th-28th at the EdTech Startup Pavilion, booth #2132 and online at silassolutions.com