Saturday, October 22, 2016

Gaming to Learn by Learning to Game

image: iClipart for Schools

Playing Games for Learning?  

Thought video games were just for passing time in your living room? Think again.

How many of you are actually gamers or have a gamer in your house? It's almost 70%.

Let's explore how we can use an already popular past time and turn it into an important activity in the classroom?

Learning is about building new sets of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Learning doesn't happen unless the learner is feeling a sense of accomplishment. Accomplishment turns into fun. "Fun is just another word for Learning" Raph Koster

Volkswagen explored this theory in their Fun Theory experiments.  
  • Visit their website and watch some videos of the finalists in their contest to use fun to teach/motivate people to do things.
We are teaching a gaming generation. Previously we have called them millennials. They spend more time outside of class problem solving, exploring, and questioning. They bask in being challenged. They crave immediate feedback on how well they achieved. Read the article,  
Jane McGonigal talks about how gaming can change the world. She estimates that we spend 3 billion hours per week gaming. She supports the idea that gaming induces problem solving and innovation. She suggests that we need to game 21 billion hours per week to solve the world's problems.
Gamifying education seems like too much fun for the classroom.  How can games support learning?  Interestingly, there are a number of aspects in gaming that we see in the learning process as well. Gamifying Student Engagement by social studies teacher, Matthew Farber, describes how Leveling Up, Modding, and working with the in-game economy are also important parts of an effective learning process.

MineCraft in Education:
MineCraft is more than an online building blocks system for kids.  It involves collaborating and connecting workers/learners in achieving a goal.  There is no predetermined answer, only agreed upon outcomes. 

Using MineCraft as an Education Tool  This 5 minute video shares how middle schools students can use MineCraft for developing digital citizenship skills.

Edutopia - Game-Based Learning Series  This site directs you to 5 pages describing how gaming (including MineCraft) can be used.


Your Choice Assignment*:  
AFTER  you have reviewed ALL of the resources above, I am going to ask you to complete a serious assignment . . . Play Kingdom Rush for 60 minutes. 

This is NOT about playing a game.  It is about learning how gaming can relate to learning and then testing it out on your own.

Kingdom Rush is available for your phone or your computer.

  • iPhone - Go to the App Store and search for "Kingdom Rush Free"
  • Android - Google "kingdom rush free android"
  • Chrome - Select More Tools>Extensions>Get More Extensions>Search for Kingdom Rush.
  • Web - Google "kingdom rush free" There are some sites where you can play it for free but you have to look at some advertising.
Based upon what you have Read and Watched, consider the process of gaming:
  • How does it relate to learning? 
  • How does this change your ideas about gaming. 
  • Think of the thought processes you go through to problem solve throughout the game.
--TWEET your ideas and respond to what your classmates have to say.
--BLOG about your experience gaming and the insights you had about the learning process.

* It is your choice if you want to do this assignment. You won't earn any more points for it but think of how cool it would be to play a video game for homework. =-)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mobile and 1 to 1 Learning

This week we are going to explore some mobile technologies and 1:1 learning initiatives. Will you be prepared to be in a 1:1 school? And what's the big deal about going 1:1? Read on!

Laptops Vs. Tablets Which one is best for learning? That's an endless debate when it comes to what technology we should be giving our students in the classroom. Here are two interesting articles about each form factor. The Day of the Tablet Vs For the Love of Laptops. Read both and be prepared to share which one you would want in your classroom and why you would want it.

So what if your district can't afford to give a laptop or tablet to every student? BYOD may be your answer! Here's an interesting article on how some districts are starting to leverage the devices that students are already bringing to the classroom. Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use

While smartphones are becoming the device that many students are bringing to their classes there is a new type of technology that is becoming more and more commonplace, it's called wearable technology. Wearable technology could be a watch, glasses, a wrist band, a ring, a patch and possibly an implant! So what's out there for wearable technology and how could you use this in the classroom? Here's one piece of technology that has gotten some people pretty excited about what's coming. It's called Microsoft HoloLens. Take a look at it and dream about what your future classroom would look like if everyone had HoloLens.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Digital Storytelling

To conceptualize the importance of digital storytelling begin by taking yet another look at the ISTE Standards for Students (.pdf)

Watch the short (2min) video about 21st Century Literacies . While completing the rest of the RWLD's try to answer the following questions:
  • How digital storytelling aligns with ISTE Standards for Students?
  • What kind of 21st century Literacies can student improve while creating the digital stories?
  • How could you as a teacher use storytelling and digital media in content areas in your classroom?
  • Do you think that the pace of 21 century literacies video is too slow? Why yes, or why not? Could you improve it?  How? 
Explore the website from the University of Huston devoted to the educational use of digital storytelling. Focus on 7 elements of Digital Storytelling
image by Magdalena Galloway
Before you even start to think about the video production, you need to create the narrative script. (No, it will not kill spontaneity and fun of creation. It will enhance the professionalism and better align with the standards mentioned above) Learn the screenwriting process in this video: 

You will  also need storyboard to create a video. Why? In a nutshell, a storyboard is a visual representation of your awesome ideas and a tool to map the flow of your future video. The storyboard is your blueprint and, in the long run, it will save you a headache and allow you to create the video masterpiece you've always wanted :-) Watch the video that best explains the importance of  storyboard:

Read 7 things you should know about Digital Storytelling (.pdf document created by the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative)

Additional resources:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Digital Citizenship

Begin by watching the short intro and download the NMC Horizon Report 2016  K-12 Edition:

  • Think, how the new trends and challenges may impact your future as a student and a teacher?

Check this resource collection related to youth & Internet safety put together by Scott Mcleod
  • What do you think about resources collected there?
  • Do you think that some of the common fears related to youth and Internet safety are overblown?
  • maggda

Check resources at WorldSavvy - organization that helps students develop 21st Century skills for Global Competency - browse the resources and opportunities for schools around the world. Bookmark for future use!

Browse and bookmark for future use: -  A vision for a  Platform for Good is to start a dialogue about what it means to participate responsibly in a digital world. While recognizing the potential risks, they celebrate technology as a vehicle for opportunity and social change.

Browse and bookmark for later  resources related to the common do's and don'ts of online communication

Follow our Digital Citizenship board on Pinterest

Bookmark for future use the blog with great cyber safety tips and resources

Standards Connection: 

ISTE Standards for Students (pdf) connection: 
  • Standard #2: Communication and Collaboration: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others
  • Standard  #5: Digital Citizenship: Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
ISTE Standard for Teachers (pdf) connection
  • Standard #4: Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility - Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practice 
Additional resources (not required):

Watch all 7 segments of the pbs feature “Growing Up Online” (56 min), and consider the questions below.

Questions to ponder after watching "Growing Up Online":
  • The program describes social networking sites as places where kids post pictures, accumulate friends, post messages to others and describe themselves. Social networking also allows young people to express themselves, experiment with different perspectives, and play with aspects of their identity. Do you think it would be possible to use social networking in the classroom to better facilitate students learning? Can you imagine an example to support your opinion?
  • Who should be responsible for teaching about cyber safety-- parents or school?
  • What is or should be a teachers’ role in students' online life?
  • Do you think that we should restrict (block) students from using Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter, Ning...) and other user generated websites (YouTube, Wikipedia...) or rather teach them how to use them wisely.
To Watch:  the pbs follow up to the “Growing Up Online” video: "Digital Nation - Life on the virtual frontier" (90 min)

To Read: Five Myths About Young People and Social Media - Five Myths About Young People and Social Media  - article based on book by Danah Boyd "It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens"

To Read about : Second Screen Culture 

To bookmark: Free ebook from Promethean Planet in PDF format: Play and learn: Being online -  The Trevor Project -  The leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. - It Gets Better Project -  video website created to sent the message and to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. Created in response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Diversity in the Classroom and Media Influences

Begin by analyzing short “State of the village report” from 2005 originally created in 1992 by Donella H. Meadows

- Read a short article about challenges in defining Multicultural Education and also about the areas of social transformation.

Take a quick visual "snap judgement" test on  Explore resources there

- Read about “Key Characteristics of a Multicultural Curriculum” by P.Gorski

image source:

- Read short article “Transforming Myself to Transform My School: with the special attention to “Ten Critical and Self-critical Things I Can Do to Be a Better Multicultural Educator:

- The following video was posted in 2011. Are men and women really equal today?

- Watch kids reaction to the Cheerios ad.  In the ad, a white mother tells her bi-racial daughter about Cheerios' benefits to the heart. The little girl grabs the box and leaves. The next scene shows her sleeping African American father awaking to finds Cheerios piled on his heart. Unfortunately many people thought the video was offensive. It received such a large amount of angry and hateful remarks on YouTube that the comments section was shut down. Fortunately when the commercial was shown to the kids, they did not see race in a  family as an issue.

- Watch the video “Misconceptions; Do’s & Don’ts of a 1st Year Teacher” created by Mississippi State University students about racial stereotypes (4 min)

- Browse and Follow the Kid World Citizen organization on Pinterest  for a variety of multicultural activities and resources

Additional resources:

ISTE Standards  for students connection: Standard #2 c: Students develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures

ISTE Standards for teachers connection:  Standard #4.d. Teacher develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital age communication and collaboration tools.

We use media in different ways. The same media content may gratify different needs for different individuals. The resources below explaining the effects of the media from the point of view of audiences.
Needs and Gratifications model of the Media by Blumler &  Katz)

How to Tell if You Are a Racist? Consider the questions, answer to yourself.

Watch the An Anti-Bullying Message From the NOH8 Campaign (2.27 min)

Information for Teens: The Media &Your Life - How the media affects Teens & Young Adults

Video “Tellin' Stories” about program designed to increase parental involvement and student achievement in America's public schools.

- The digital story about the depression and issues faced by Asian American girl - pay attention to the poem in the story (also typed under the video) (5.29 min)

Elders React to Nicki Minaj - Anaconda