The above image is from The Handbook of Digital Games and Simulations in Teacher Education.
I love the example listed above because it applies to all learning. We could re-write it to fit all situations:
To learn, you must make an effort.
Your learning is based on
1. current content
2. prior knowledge about that content
3. prediction about the future of that content
4. the contents rules and your reactions to it, and
5. the feedback from your last effort.
You are free to learn in a new way that may not be expected, just to see what will happen.
FAIL! It is ok to fail! In fact, that is how you LEARN!
Gameification can make learning much more interactive. Gameification also give INSTANT feedback to the learner. For me, this is the most important aspect in learning. Learners do not need to wait until a paper is graded to know if they have failed or succeeded.
Gaming & and Gamification are ways to make learning more like games. It takes regular content and integrates gaming design and mechanics to motivate and teach the learner. Researchers noticed that gamers:
Researchers noticed that the "gamer" attributes were the same skills and qualities we are looking for in our students. So researchers and curriculum developers are working on making education more gamified to encourage these skills in our students.
Students at my school play iRead, STmath, Sumdog math, Fastt Math and various games in each classroom. Students enjoy the badging in iRead. As a student completes various levels, it adds to their "backpack". STmath has no spoken or written language at all. It is a great math game that uses visuals only to help student solve math problems.
Outside of school, many elementary students are playing Minecraft, Plant vs. Zombies, Animal Jam and Sim City.
My daughter is 7. Together we play Lego Star Wars and Lego Harry Potter. I am torn about the amount of games she should play. I love reading about the positives of game play. It has definitely made me less hesitant. My main issue is time. She has ballet, gymnastics and piano lessons....and homework and legos and playing outside. How do we fit it all in? What do we give up?
Gamification is not just for students. Big industries are noticing the effects of gamification. Hybrid cars show you how your driving makes a plant grow, to visually show you the most fuel efficient speeds to drive. The military and airlines use gamified simulations to train employees. Games have been created to help people solve real world problems like water conservation & oil shortages. Empire college is even using a gamified simulation to help student teachers practice classroom management strategies.
Gamification make sense to me. Games are fun. We can get lost in them and spend hours focusing, failing, overcoming, collecting rewards and learning. The reality is that some things in life are not fun, but we need to know/do them. If gamifiying can make some content more fun, more engaging..why not try it. I am ready to try it to...could someone please gamify housework...or laundry. I am all in.
Here is why I love a modified flipped lesson, I can let students work semi-independently on some of the prior knowledge that I think they need before we get to the really meaty content. The 2nd grade is doing a plant based PBL unit. The students will be designing experiments and testing the amount of light & water needed and what that means for our food production in drought or flood years. We assume that kids have some background knowledge about the life cycle and parts of a plant. We don't have time to spend days on this prior knowledge, but we must ensure they have it. The flipped model worked great for this. I created a flipped lesson quickly introducing the topic. I included an Edpuzzle video with questions and some video links to explore. Here is the lesson plan with viewing guides and assessments. I think this lesson will quickly introduce and/or review the basic knowledge of plants and vocabulary that is needed before moving on to the bulk of the PBL instruction.
Here is why I hate the flipped model, I really don't enjoy recording myself or my voice. I find I am too critical and spend waayyyy too much time redoing each recording. I am sure with practice, I will get used to the sound of my own voice.
In order to create this lesson I explored lots of webcasting tools. Here is what I found:
Jing- great for screen shots. In fact, it is my favorite screen shot tool. It is not so great for video. Cumbersome, and you have to store your video on screencast.com and I couldn't always save it in a format that I liked.
Screencast-o-matic: Very basic, but very easy to use. The voice quality is not professional, but I didn't have a mic. I am sure you could pay a bit more and get more bells and whistles, but for free, I love it.
Edpuzzle: Amazing! I love this tool. I don't have my own classroom, so I haven't shared these with students and had students answer the questions. I have used them with adult learners and projected the discussion questions. I will get a lot of use out of this tool.
Vibby: I created an account, but I don't really see the difference between this and EDpuzzle. It does not seem as user-friendly and I thought much of the content on vibby was not appropriate for elementary students. I don't think I would use this much.
Edcreations: I love this interactive whiteboard. It was easy to use, although I wish you could type text on it. I liked that you could easily save and embed the video into another video or powerpoint.
Dipity: I was really excited about this website. I really need an animated timeline tool. However, I could never get to the site. I could find examples of students using Dipity, but the actual website did not ever work. I am wondering if someone bought it? It just says, "the site can not be reached" :(
Adobe Spark: I had used Adobe Spark slide deck, or as they call it...Glide Show. That feature is amazing. It looks very professional. There are great photos and icons to use. It is my favorite presentation tool to use, and it is Free! However, I am using the video application for another class....grrrrrrrr. It is making me a bit crazy. It has some beautiful templates, but they are very limiting. You can only use 30 seconds of video at a time. You can not change the font, or color or size. The real problem for me is that all of the text is centered. This is a Baggio no-no. I want the text left justified, especially when you are typing a list or bullets. The end product will probably look great, but I am finding myself using a lot of work-arounds, cutting, pasting etc. to get the video to look the way I want.
I am sure that some of the Freemium site can do a million amazing things, but I want to explore tools that the kids can use. I am finding that there are lots of good free tools for students to use. I think the simplicity of the free tools is probably an advantage for elementary kids. The fancy sites with lots of bells and whistles would be overwhelming for younger kids.
Save time and collect better data, is it too good to be true?No, it isn't. It is possible, and easier than I thought.
Currently, I use google forms as a survey and reflection tool. As an academic specialist, I provide professional development during staff meetings, grade level planning and PLC. I have used google forms as a survey to see what type of professional development that the staff wants. Once I have determined the needs/wants of the staff I plan out professional development accordingly. After the PD, or grade level planning day I use google forms to see if the needs were met and what they see as their next steps.
I have used only the most basic features of Google Forms. Since I am not in a classroom grading student work, I have avoided using add-ons such as Floobaroo and Auto-Crat. I have to find alternative ways to use the tools with adults. I would like to start using Google Forms in a more visible way with the staff. Most staff members don't use Google Forms at all, except to reply to my surveys. They don't understand all it can do. I didn't either. I think modeling a new use for Google Forms at a staff meeting will help peak interest and show the huge benefit that can be gained by using Google Forms. I think most of my staff members think that the students have to be older, or have their own email account. My staff may not know how easy it is to make a quiz and collect the data. The features that I think will really excite my teachers are: automatic grading, creating rubrics and color coding correct answers to simplify grading. A new discovery for me, that could have major impact for teachers, was the choice eliminator. Teachers detest parent conference sign ups, there is always a parent that reschedules 50 times, and tries to reschedule into slots that are already taken. With a Google Form and the choice eliminator parents could only see the "available" slots. If you added Auto-crat, you could instantly email the parents with their time and date of the conference. Amazing!!!
How will I use Google Forms to help support my Capstone project? Right now, I can see using it to survey students to acquire some qualitative data about how students feel about incorporating more student talk into the classroom. I can also imagine using a Google Form with a rubric to grade the pre/post writing sample. For my capstone project, I want to show the affects of increasing student talk. Using a data tool like Google Forms will allow me to create quick pre/post tests that will collect and organize all of my data for me. I will be able to use the graphs it creates to illustrate the my research.
I have been "meaning to look into Google Forms" for years...but thanks to this class, I was required to delve into the topic. Like anything worth while, it is going to take some research and trial and error to figure out how to use this tool successfully. The advantages for teachers are huge. The amount of time it will save in grading alone is profound. Introducing small bits of information to teachers, modeling the process and looking at the data that is automated will be a goal of mine throughout this year and next. I need to thoughtfully introduce the varied tools in ways that are meaningful, and not just "another piece of tech". If I can do this successfully, I think I will have some teachers pleading for more information and how-to's surrounding Google Forms.
Would I? Should I? Could I use social media in the classroom? This is a multidimensional question. As an elementary school teacher, I would not use social media with the exception of blogs. I think that having students post writing in blog format is a great way for students to collaborate. It gives the student's a broader audience and can allow extended family to read and comment on the child's work.
I would also not recommend using social media if your school/district does not have clear cut guidelines for using social media. The only social media policy I am aware of in NVUSD is that teachers are not to "friend" students on their personal social media accounts. Teachers must have "work" social media accounts if they want to interact with students.
As a professional, I use social media to enhance my professional learning network. I am a Pinterest lover, and have found numerous resource, activities and art lessons. As far as the other social media sites go, I see value in them but also see them as a black-hole-of- time-suckage. I can get lost in there FOREVER. And like snail-mail and email, the junk mail drives me crazy. I think that to get the most out of social-media, you need to set limits, check it regularly and know what you want from it.
What to do with an inappropriate post? This is easy, if you don't follow students on social media. However, if I think of this from a parents perspective, it is an issue I will be dealing with in the future. If my child was making inappropriate posts and another adult or teacher was aware of the post, what would I want them to do? I would want them to report it to the principal. I like the way Patrick Larkin dealt with this issue in What Do You Do When You See Inappropriate Social Media Posts? – from Patrick Larkin. He understood that teens use inappropriate language is social settings, teens will be teens. Yet, he wanted to remind students that social media is seen by many people, and can be used by some to make judgements about a person's character. I have no doubt, that my child some day will use inappropriate language or post something ridiculous online...I hope not, but again, teens will be teens. As teachers, fellow parents and a community of caring adults I feel that it is our job to help them see that larger impact of their actions. Do I think that every instance needs parental intervention? No. I think reminding teens that other parents, college recruiters, prospective employers might view this post. What judgments might they make based on that one post? Is that who you want to be seen as? I would hope that most teens would be able to reflect and change their post.
I believe in digital citizenship. I believe we need to explicitly teach how to be safe, responsible and respectful in the digital world. It is clear, that many adults and/or world leaders have not had these crucial lessons. I also know that teachers have NO time...I mean none. So what can we do?
I think my plan is to start with a group of tech savvy or tech interested teachers on my site and possibly across other sites. this group could look at the common core tech & digital citizenship skills and see where they match current curriculum and pacing calendars. Teaching respect in the classroom and respect online makes sense. Teaching kids to research and site sources can go hand-in-hand with teaching kids to use Google docs and the correct way to site online sources. As an academic specialist, this is an issue that all schools face. We might be able to work on this as a district team, for all schools.
Digital skills are increasingly becoming a more central part of our world, it makes sense that it will become a more central part of our curriculum.
I think I went a bit wayward on this assignment. Instead of sharing a tool I use (that hasn't been discussed in class), I explored a brand new tool. Canva, a design and publication tool, was recommended by the author of the shakeuplearning.com author. I thought I would check it out. It did not take me long to figure out how to use Canva. To see my full review, check out the slideshow created in Canva below.
Digital citizenship is an important new curricular area that can not be ignored. It will need to become part of our everyday classroom curriculum. Teaching students to be safe, respectful and responsible online is an integral part of the digital education that they will need to be successful in today's modern world. Not only is it is it crucial for academic success, in cases of cyberbullying, it is often a matter of life and death.
Many teachers don't feel they themselves have enough tech savvy to teach these lessons. Luckily, there is a plethora of great resources at our fingertips. Teachers can search through a variety of sites to find great lessons that pertain to their students, and/or use Common Sense Media which provides a comprehensive scope and sequence with age appropriate lessons.
I am currently not working in a classroom, when I left the classroom I was a 2nd grade teacher. I also have a 1st grade daughter at home. When looking at how I would teach digital citizenship I use the 2nd grade classroom as my focus.
First and foremost, I would teach the first lesson in Unit 1, "Going Places Safely". I have used this lesson with my daughter at home, and my school has started the year with this lesson in their classroom. I think relating the internet to their own neighborhood makes sense to them. Children know to not talk to strangers in real life. This lesson applies this rule to the internet as well. At our school, we have to extend this lesson to talking about not clicking on links or icons that they are unfamiliar with. 700 kids share the same generic web address when logging onto school computers. Kids move icons, create icons, change bookmarks, remove bookmarks, rename bookmarks and most problematic...bookmark inappropriate sites. While we are working on this issue in a myriad of ways, the message to the younger kids is, "Don't click a link or icon that you don't know". Similar to, "don't go into strange houses in your neighborhood".
The second way I would bring digital citizenship into a 2nd grade classroom is to tie the lessons to our BEST/2nd Step lessons. Our school uses 2nd step lessons to discuss empathy, bullying, kindness, respect and responsibility. Adding digital citizenship lessons is a natural fit. When you talk about bullying, we can also talk about cyber bullying. When we talk about using kind words, we can also talk about language in texts and emails. In a 2nd grade classroom, they don't normally have serious bullying issues yet, but they need basic lessons on reporting playground bullying and knowing the difference from bullying and teasing. This is where I would bring use Unit 2, lesson 3 "Screen out the Mean" from Common Sense Media. Which teaches kids what to do when someone is mean to them online. I like the use of real life scenarios to help them deal with issues, hopefully before they start.
2nd graders are just starting to be able to do actual research. Their reading and writing skills are progressing enough that they can search out information on their own. Teachers often struggle with finding appropriate sites for children when doing PBL projects. This would be a great way to introduce "Sites I like" Unit 2, lesson 4 from Common Sense Media. This lessons teaches students to evaluate websites and find sites that are right for them. This is an invaluable tool when teaching PBL. A teacher could provide a list of sites and the students could explore them before starting their PBL project. Which sites reading level is too high? Which sites have videos? Students could explore the sites and then be able to do their own online research.
As educators, Digital Citizenship lessons are becoming more and more important. With politicians, employers and individuals using social media and online tools daily, it is important for our students to know how to use these tools appropriately.