Friday, November 8, 2013

Playtime Online 23: SimCityEDU Office Hours

Playtime Online 23: SimCityEDU Office Hours featuring me as guest panelist! :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gaming for Social Good | Edutopia

Can video games make the world a better place? Read why in my latest Edutopia blog post, Gaming for Social Good: 
Gaming for Social Good | Edutopia

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

HotChalk Interview: "Teacher Makes Classes Seem More Like Video Games"

I was recently interview about "gamification" and game-based learning. Here's the link to the article that appeared on HotChalk's "Inspired Teachers" page:

Friday, April 12, 2013

IOSSBR Spring Conference

Below is a picture from today's International Organization of Social Sciences and Behavior Research (IOSSBR) Spring Conference ( in which I attended and co-presented "Gaming and K-12 Curriculum Integration."  The conference was at Trump Plaza, in Atlantic City.  We're on page 20 in the program, page 21 of the PDF.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Video Game Design in the Social Studies Classroom

This week, my 6th grade social studies students conducted research about medieval European topics, then they each remixed, "modded" (modified), or created brand new flash-based video games.  They also wrote a reflective essay that explains how their game relates to their researched findings.  I used a completely constructivist teaching style, only giving students a short overview, then links to a YouTube tutorial and a PDF step-by-step.  No actual coding is required; programming commands are put together by matching color-coded interlocking bricks, although practical knowledge of math (angles, degrees, x, y plane) is inherent in game design.  Video game design is not only engaging, and part of STEM (, but it also challenges learners to consider how to teach to the topic they are tasked to study.

This video link fully explains Scratch's potential as a learning tool:  Scratch is a free download from MIT Media Labs:

Below are links to some of my student's examples (click each picture to play):

Scratch Project Scratch Project Scratch Project Scratch Project

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Interview in Streaming Media Magazine

I was recently interviewed by Streaming Media magazine about video in the classroom.  My interview is in the February/March 2013 issue.  Here's the link to the article, The State of Education Video

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Look For Me In NJEA Magazine

I wrote a reflection about the class-created iPad book my students authored and submitted it to NJEA Review magazine.   My article appears in the February issue, which will be mailed this week to all NJEA members.  The article, titled Have Your Students Write an Ebook, appears on p. 18. Here's the link to the PDF version (the article begins on p. 20 in the PDF):

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Class-Created iPad Book Now Live in the iBookstore!

Our class-created book, The Corns Visit the 13 Colonies, is now live (and, global... in 50 countries!) in Apple's iBookstore! 
The Corns Visit the 13 Colonies - Matthew Farber
Our book, which is historical fictional, follows Damitria the Unicorn, Henrietta the Hippocorn, and Willamina the Shnoopacorn on an exciting trip back in time to visit the original 13 American colonies!  The book features multi-touch widgets, like 3D movable colonial buildings, photo galleries, an interactive student-created glossary, puzzles, a sketchpad, and original artwork! 
Each chapter and section is the result of collaboration from my 2nd period seventh grade social studies class.  Students researched and wrote in groups, chose copyright-friendly photos, and created the overall concept.  I edited and compiled using the free Mac app, iBooks Author, on my MacBook.  Each student receives writing credit on page 40 of the book (thanks to each parent for granting written permission).
The book is a FREE iPad download.  If you have an iPad, or know someone who does, please download it!  The students are really proud of their accomplishment!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Understanding Economics in U.S. History


Just got Focus: Middle School World History, a great book of economic lessons from the Council for Economic Education, for my 6th grade world history class!  The lessons "use a unique mystery-solving approach to teach U.S. economic history to your high school students."  It's an excellent, additional resource.

Here's the link:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Creating Interactive SMART Board Lessons - Workshop

Tomorrow morning I am giving a workshop on SMART Boards at Raritan Valley Community College titled, "SMART Boards: Creating Interactive Lessons."  I've given the workshop several times at different locations, but not in awhile.  Should be fun!

Course Description: Go beyond SMART Board basics - learn a new way to create eye-catching lesson activities, full of customizable tools and templates that you can use to create professional-looking lessons. The Toolkit helps you create engaging content like word games, quizzes, Crossword puzzles and sorting tables. It also offers Adobe Flash tools like hide-and-reveal, drag-and-drop, plus lots more.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

NJCSS Workshop

This Wednesday, I am giving a workshop at the NJ Council for the Social Studies (NJCSS) Annual Fall Conference (I am one of the North Jersey Directors).  The conference theme is "Social Studies and the Common Core: Moving Forward" and it's being held at the Busch Campus Center, Rutgers, Piscatatway, NJ.  My workshop is titled, "Social Media in the Social Studies Classroom," and will focus on building a Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) and using Edmodo in the classroom.  I will also unveil the redesigned NJCSS website that I created, along with the Facebook fan page, the Twitter feed, and the Tumblr blog that I curate.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I'm Published!

I'm published in the latest issue of "Journal of Interactive Learning Research"

The article I co-authored is titled, Civic Participation Among Seventh-Grade Social Studies Students in Multi-User Virtual Environments.  Here's our abstract:

Technological advances on the Internet now enable students to develop participation skills in virtual worlds. Similar to controlling a character in a video game, multi-user virtual environments, or MUVEs, allow participants to interact with others in synchronous, online settings. The authors of this study created a link between MUVEs and participation in civic activities by seventh grade students. This purpose of this case study was to evaluate how face-to-face cooperative structures would translate to an online setting. The study also assessed whether working cooperatively in a MUVE would have an effect on student civic participation. The virtual environment did provide an authentic setting for students to practice the civic lessons they learned in class. Student involvement in a participatory culture generally translated to an increased tendency to be civic-minded.

Here's the to the article link:

Finally, here's the official citation:

Zieger, L. & Farber, M. (2012). Civic Participation Among Seventh-Grade Social Studies Students in Multi-User Virtual Environments. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 23(4), 393-410. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cape Cod Vacation

Hope everyone is enjoying summer!  Last week, my family and I went to Cape Cod, as well as Plimoth Plantation.  Below is a movie trailer (made with iMovie) about our trip:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reading Like A Historian Curriculum

Education Week is spotlighting Stanford University's Reading Like A Historian Curriculum. I began to use the materials last spring and plan on using it all next year, starting September. It's a great introduction to DBQs (document-based questions).

Here's the link to EdWeek article:

Here's the link to the curriculum materials:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mister Rogers' Viral Video

As the school year winds down, Mr. Rogers reminds us, it's good to be curious about many things. Thanks PBS Digital Studios for this remix! Brilliant! Mister Rogers Remixed - Garden of Your Mind, remixed by Symphony of Science's John Boswell.