Friday, November 9, 2018

Gamification, Gaming and Badging

Do you think that games are just for passing time in your living room? Think again.  Everything from credit cards to McDonald's treats to Starbuck's Rewards have been gamified so that you will be rewarded for doing simple things. 

How many of you are actually gamers or have a gamer in your house? Statistics say that 2/3 of households across the US have gamers in them. Are gamers typically kids? No, the average age of a gamer is 35 years old.   Gaming provides a rewarding opportunity in all sections of your life. Let's explore how we can use an already popular past time and turn it into an important activity in the classroom through gamification.

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. Ralph Koster says that "Fun is just another word for Learning

Volkswagen explored this theory in their Fun Theory experiments. They used to have a website where you could see the various ways that they gamified simple activities like taking the stairs instead of the escalator or throwing things in a trash can.  Here are some links to videos about these project.  Search YouTube for other examples under Fun Theory.

When you apply game elements to non-gaming situations, it is called Gamification. It is a process that provides specific rewards to motivate or influence behavior. Sometimes you compete against others to win recognition.  Sometimes you are working to make a Personal Best.  

Educationally, gamification in the classroom can provide the relevant and speedy feedback, learning reinforcement and competition that can enliven learning.  Gamification can engage students with motivation to sharpen their abilities, problem solve and become involved in a subject area like never before.

Read 9 Things that Educators Should Know about Gamification for background in how this can be used in your classroom.

Study How to Gamify Learning in Your Class.  This approach provides "5 Easy Steps" but includes a variety of ideas for expanding these ideas to make them real for you.

DO THIS FOR LECTURE: Using the "5 Easy Steps", create a plan for how you would gamify a unit of instruction in your class.  You might even think about how you would gamify your thematic unit. Envision the challenges, rewards, and structure you would use to gamify.  You will share these ideas in the lecture hall. 

Most of you are part of a gaming generation and your students will see gaming as just a part of life. As millennials and Gen Z, you spend a great deal of time outside of class problem solving, exploring, and questioning. You bask in being challenged. You crave immediate feedback on how well you achieve. You have access to information and tools like no generation before. This is even more true with the students you will teach. We can't approach teaching and learning using the same paradigm that we have in the past. In the following article, Miller explains what you need to consider when working with gaming generations.   

Read What's a Gamer Brain and How Can We Harness It in Class?  What do you recognize in how you learn and how can you apply this to your teaching?
Badging is a form of recognition for gamers. Whether this gaming is in the classroom or the gameroom, it can be considered a micro-credential that signifies success in learning.  You may have experienced badging in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4H, or some other organizations where you were acknowledged for achievement.  This can work in your classroom or, as a teacher, you might earn your own badges through professional development opportunities. 

NOTE: This video has been updated to demonstrate how you can use EdPuzzle to add questions to a video.  It is exactly the same content as used before but you have the opportunity to experience a useful app that you might want to use in your Interactive Learning Tool.

Read this article, Gamifying Student Engagement, by Mathew Farber to see how all of these gaming aspects can be brought together. 

Gaming is a process that can be extremely motivating and challenging.  It is all a matter of taking the time in your classroom to create an engaging environment where students can learn and maybe even have some fun too.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Interactive Learning

Listening to lectures and reading books is one way to learn but few people will say that it is their preferred way to learn. It may be their favorite way to go to school, but is it the most effective way for them to actually learn and master a topic?

Interactive Learning 

Interactive learning is driven by the learner.  The learner engages in the lesson and receives immediate feedback about how well she has done.  Based upon the learner's success, the learner will then encounter learning opportunities that are at the appropriate level of difficulty. Unlike lecture classes where the teacher is teaching to what s/he considers the average student, Interactive Learning provides a learning environment that is tailored to each learner's needs. 

Does Interactive Learning require technology?  No. Before the personal computer, teachers were able to provide interactive learning environments using carefully selected worksheets and textbooks. Students would be pretested to identify their skill levels and then they would work on activities that fit their needs. Upon completing an assignment, it would be corrected and if enough answers were correct the student would move to the next level. 

Does technology make Interactive Learning easier?  Yes. Instead of worksheets and correcting keys, computerized systems can quickly assess a student's skill level and then provide the appropriate learning activities. Technology increases the speed and accuracy of the Interactive Learning experience which can enable the learner to master the content more quickly.

Let's Try this Out!

Visit one of these Interactive Learning systems:   ALEKS or Khan
Each of these systems uses Artificial Intelligence to present instruction that fits your needs. Each system will spend some time getting to know you by asking you questions.  First, they will ask you about what you want to learn and then they will ask you specific questions about the topic you selected. The questions will begin with the basics and then expand your horizons based upon your answers.  Once they get to know you well enough, they begin to instruct you in your selected subject matter. 

ALEKS began as a mathematics tutorial system. Using artificial intelligence, ALEKS identifies what you know.  
Go on the Journey Yourself.  Get a free trial subscription and spend 20 minutes experiencing the artificial intelligence pathway to knowledge.   Here are some hints for your journey through ALEKS.
  • Click on Free Trial
  • Select Independent Users
  • Explore the Student Module
  • Sign Up for the free trial account.
  • Enter your information and then select Independent User Type: College or K12 Student.
  • Choose your market as K-12
  • Select a level and then Select a course.
  • Enter ALEKS.  You will encounter some tutorials at the beginning and then you will get your artificial intelligence-driven pretest.
Want to try a Video Tour of ALEKS?  

Khan Academy is another system that uses AI (and some selections by you) to identify where to begin and the uses interactive learning to take you down Knowledge Lane. KHAN began with mathematics but now it teaches everything from Math to Science to Humanities to Economics to SAT Prep.

Begin Your Khan Academy tour. Use the Learners, start here button. 
  • Select a Subject Area and Sign Up.
  • Continue with your UNI Google account
  • Enter Khan Academy and explore the Interactive Learning environment.

Flipped Learning/Classroom

Flipped Learning is another form of Interactive Learning. It involves watching lectures at home and then engaging in activities using your newly-found knowledge in the classroom.  This form of interactive learning is available because technology empowers you to watch a lecture on your own and then come to class to engage in activities using what you learned at home. 
What is the Flipped Classroom? - provides a basic understanding of the flipped classroom structure. 

Building a Flipped Lesson Plan - introduces you to a method for creating the actual lesson activity that will help you flip a lesson in your class.  Notice that they are using the format similar to the debriefing that the Face-to-Face Ed Tech and Design classes use on Wednesday to discuss the week's lecture.

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

The foundation of Interactive Learning places the learner in the center of the learning event.  We have discussed situations where content is presented at levels appropriate for the learner's learning. Flipped Learning emphasized engaging the learner in activities that facilitate understanding.  Virtual Reality takes book learning and places it in the experiential realm of our learners. Our students can experience a 360-degree view of the 1969 moon landing. Hearts can be held or dissected using a 3D Virtual Reality system (Z-Space). Virtual reality can provide ways to immerse learners into places they have never before experienced.  This is truly Interactive Learning.

Read and visit the article, Will Virtual Reality Drive Deeper Learning?  It is filled with links to websites that demonstrate the capabilities of VR.  Spend some time enjoying the article and clicking on the links to see examples of Virtual Reality in Education.

Interactive Learning Tool

Interactive Learning provides learners with opportunities to become engaged in their learning content.  Another way for learners to engage in learning is to create tools that can produce products that fit their needs.  This is a Learner-Centered way to Learning.

Your final assignment in Ed Tech and Design will be to create an Interactive Learning Tool.  This challenge will involve you identifying an activity to address one or more of your thematic unit's learning objectives and then use multiple mobile apps and/or online tools to create an instructional learning experience for your students. We call this App Smashing!!  It is the "process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project."

Prepare to smash some apps/tools while producing a learning tool for your students.


Additional Resources for Exploring and Creating Apps for Your Tool.


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Information Literacy

image source HlwikiCanada
Information literacy is more than possessing information. Information literacy is the ability "to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information." (ACRL, 2000)

What kind of practical steps can you and your students take to critically evaluate information found on the Internet?

Big 6 and Super3
The Big6 is a process model of how people should solve information strategies. Super 3 is a simplified model for the youngest students.
EdTech fastest growing minor - fake yahoo news

Additional resources :
ISTE Standards for students connection:
Standard # 3: Knowledge constructor: Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.
  • 3a Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
  • 3b. Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility, and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
ISTE  Standards for educators  connection:
#2 c. Educator Leader: Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.

Battling Fake News in a classroom

10 Questions for Fake News Detection (pdf)

Kathy Schrock guide to Critical Evaluation of Information - TONES of resources for  your classroom - Don't be fooled by media bias. Think for yourself. See news and issues from multiple perspectives, discuss like adults. - The International Fact-Checking Network is a unit of the Poynter Institute dedicated to bringing together fact-checkers worldwide. - Follows the money. Data on campaign finance, Super PACs, Industries ect. -Reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation - nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. Address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels. - Get the truth about rumors, inspirational stories, virus warnings, hoaxes, scams, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests, calls to action, and other forwarded emails. - dedicated to" debunking email hoaxes, thwarting Internet scammers, combating spam, and educating web users about email and Internet security issues" - a collaborative resource for  documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion - a collection of domain name ownership records in the world (also look  ; ;


During the lab group work:

image by R.Galloway

Using Stephen Downe's Principles for Evaluating Websites and other resources above analyze the following websites:

Exhibit A: (elementary):

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D:

Exhibit E:

Exhibit F: 

Scrutinize the websites above. Can you find an argument to support or discredit the legitimacy of your website? How can you prove it? Can you see the purpose of the website? Could you use it in your classroom?

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

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

Watch this short TED talk by the two amazing teenagers and the authors of the student-run organization, CHOOSE, to overcome racism and inspire harmony through exposure, education, and empowerment AND authors of  The Classroom Index, a textbook devoted to racial literacy.

Ask yourself: Could I be racist? How to tell if I am?  Racism is when you draw conclusions about people based on racial stereotypes and believe that some races are better than others.  Consider the questions, answer to yourself.

image source:
Take a quick visual "snap judgment", gender bias, test on  Explore resources there.

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

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

Read a 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:

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

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

--- Additional resources (not required):

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 educators connection:  

#3a Citizen: Educators create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.

#3b Citizen: Educators Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.

# 4d Collaborator: Educators demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents, and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.

To read: 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)

Books Matter! See the list of titles collected by ADL with the power to instill empathy, affirm children’s sense of self, teach about others, transport to new places and inspire actions on behalf of social justice.

To read: 10 ways Youth can Engage in Activism

To watch:  the An Anti-Bullying Message From the NOH8 Campaign (2.27 min)

To watch: 10 Misconceptions about Muslim: 

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

To watch:  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)

To watch: Worlds Apart’ An Experiment by Heineken. Can two strangers with opposing views prove that there’s more that unites than divides us?

To watchElders React to Nicki Minaj - Anaconda  (Age diversity)

Controversial artist Olivero Toscani on ad influance 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Digital Citizenship

Begin by watching the short intro and download the NMC Horizon Report 2017  K-12 Edition:

  • Write down the long term, mid term and short term terms
  • Think, how the new trends and challenges may impact your future as a student and a teacher?
See what are the 9 elements of  Digital Citizenship:
  • Are you well versed in all of the elements? 
  • Will you be able to help your students?
The latest incident during our lecture's back channel revealed that not everyone, even on a university level, EVEN someone in a teacher preparation program understands the rules of ethics, netiquette,  and responsibilities that come with being a digital citizen.
Read Principle V of Model Code of Ethics - Responsible and Ethical Use of Technology 
  • According to this list, are you an ethical educator?
Netiquette: Browse and bookmark for later  resources related to the common do's and don'ts of online communication
Check resources at WorldSavvy - an 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.

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

Follow our Digital Citizenship board on Pinterest

SNL meme

Extra Credit: Complete Google Digital Citizenship training and obtain a powerful certificate.

Standards Connection: 

ISTE Standards for Students connection: 
  • Standard #2: Digital Citizen: Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.
  • Standard #3: Knowledge Constructor: Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.
  • Standard  #7: Global Collaborator: Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.
ISTE Standard for Teachers (pdf) connection
  • Standard #3  Educator as Citizen inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world
  • Standard # 4d: Educator as Collaborator demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents, and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.

Additional resources (not required):

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.

To 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)