Essential Question: How do Materia’s claims compare to other research?

Aleta May

Initial Post Week 5: Gamification and Open Learning

EDET: 679 with Dr. Graham

Essential Question: How do Materia’s claims compare with other research.

Claim One: “The educational structures built on the needs and desires of our great grandparents’ generation are fundamentally different from those of students today” (p. 25).

One very important point is that as teachers, we must change our roles as the one who has all the answers to one who is “allowing them a certain degree of frustration as individuals work to problem-solve” (Winner, p. 36). When playing in the game, players are engaged and use “skills such as critical and creative thinking and building on their previous experiences” (Folkins, Brackenbury, Krause, & Haviland, p. 114). The Net Generation expects to have freedom; “without interference from her parents or other adults” (Tapscott, p. 75)). By comparison, people in the Baby Boomer generation discussed below, “are competitive and are angered by any perceived threats to their authority or prestige” (Wiedmer, 2016, p. 53).  Generation X; 1961-1981; were often referred to as latchkey kids because parents were away at work or single parent homes. Generation Y; 1980—1990; started having access to Internet and mobile devices. The parents were more available to their children.

These stages describe myself, as well as the way our daughters grew up in our home. I remember the whole family gathering around that slow dial-up computer, and being right on top of getting a mobile phone as soon as we could afford it. I watched as Internet improved with great concern for whom my daughter was talking to as she entered in MySpace online, while not wanting to take that freedom away from her.

I would say that there are many characteristics in the development of a child that remain the same, but growing up digital has changed how they learn. I also agree with Tapscott (2008), young people “. . . read more online than offline, and that’s usually non-fiction, “ (p. 111) and that as adults, we still need to model reading novels, and enjoying quality fiction literature.

Claim Two: “. . . the human spirit awakens when we are inspired and challenged to confidently go beyond our limits” (p. 29).

Gamers build personal perseverance when they are operating in a flow state; between being bored and anxious. (Winner, 2015). Baby boomers were born between 1946—1964; and are further divided into Early Boomers, 1945-1955 and Late Boomers, after 1955 (Wiedmer, 2016). As a Late Boomer, I remember being taught by traditional means. However, I would also call us as generation of educational change in that new ways were being argued and considered. For example, one of the schools I attended in Anchorage was a brand new open wall school (with sliding walls). The first thing most teachers did was close these walls.

Also, I remember the emphasis of reading step-by-step directions learning how to use a remote control. The Net Generation or Generation Z that are in our classrooms today have been connected to the internet, mobile phones, and have been able to access information from around the world. In this era, our students “can search for and organize information containing links to other information . . . they develop hypertext minds. They leap around. It’s as though their cognitive structures were parallel, not sequential” (Tapscott, pp. 104-105). Even in college, students do not follow step-by-step instructions provided to them; rather they relate more to images and links. By making such a change in the way we present a platform for learning on the computer and in the classroom, scores will likely increase up to 16 percent, as they did in the college class study (Tapscott, p. 106). Game theory builds on the idea that across the generations, “Play is the way that human beings learn about the world . . . That’s how we discover how things work” (Fredrick, 2014).

Students operate best when they are in a learning environment that allows for discovery, works on their natural inclination to work as a team (since social networking is the norm now anyway) and when they are challenged. Game elements are uniformly woven into the gamified classroom; they are not linearly organized. The mechanics and elements, as well as the aesthetics; like feelings, values, creative design and action motivators; are networked parts of a whole system. Each design element of the game is incorporated to support this fundamental theme, whatever it may be” (Folkins, et al., p. 113). In order for our students to learn critical problem solving skills, and learn based on the characteristics of the Net Generation, the game needs to lead students to be intrinsically motivated—the Discovery principle promoted by exploring and experimenting (Folkins, et al., p. 114).”When students feel ‘the flow,’ their brain is able to retrieve the skills and knowledge necessary for completing the task at hand without the student needing to actively seek it” (Winner, p. 37).

Claim Three: It is important to be flexible and create fun for the students.

Fredrick (2014) stated that, “What we need to do, to some degree, is sort of return to an era of free-range children, where there’s more play, more discovery” (p. 26). When we look at incorporating gaming elements that are connected to content objectives and common core standards, they will be learning in a variety that most students are used to being challenged within anyway. And as Winner (2015) stated, “Students are expected to master a myriad of skills in order to achieve college and career readiness. . . If learners are interested in the subject, the content becomes less about work and achievement and more about play and exploration” (p. 36).


Folkins, J. W., Brackenbury, T., Krause, M. and Haviland, A. (2016). American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 25, pp. 111-121.

Fredrick, K. (2014). Play along: Gaming in education. School library monthly, 31(2). pp. 24-26

Matera, M. (2015). Explore like a pirate. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

Tapscott, Don (2008). Grown up digital: How the net generation is changing your world. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.

Wiedmer, T. (2016). Generations do differ: Best practices in leading traditionalists, boomers, and generations X, Y, and Z. Educating the Whole Child. The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin: International Journal for Professional Educators. pp. 51-58.

Winner, M. C. (2015). Why video games matter. Library Media Connection. pp. 36-37.

4 thoughts on “Essential Question: How do Materia’s claims compare to other research?

  1. Sara Lucas

    I found the first claim that you mention to be true as well. I think Matera really makes a very simple claim. If I look at how much things have changed over my lifetime I can see huge differences and I am only 27. I remember getting a computer and when cell phones first came out. So much has changed so quickly and kids are latching onto it. I think the 2nd claim you mention is at the heart of gamification. Students feel challenged and are inspired by games. They get in the “flow” and that is a place where they can really learn. I think claim 3 is always true. I find it to be even more true in bush Alaska. Planes come when they come and we must adapt to whatever comes our way.

  2. aletakmay Post author

    Thank you for your reply! It really must seem like extremely fast change to be in the age group where getting a computer was still a very big thing. I still remember how clunky the cell phones were at first and wondered when we went back to larger phones, why people would want to “go back.” It is a miniature computer in my hand–I understand now.

    One thing I really like about being in an area that is out of the mainstream, is that kids have a balance of technology and creative play.

  3. Pingback: Reflection Post for Week 5 EDET679: How do Materia’s claims compare to other research? | aleta57

  4. Larissa Sivertsen

    “I would say that there are many characteristics in the development of a child that remain the same, but growing up digital has changed how they learn.” This is a really great point! The power of play is important, and children have always been playing! I think that this is why it’s really important to involve gamification in the classroom setting! I believe that it is suitable for learners of today. Learning should be fluid and flexible.


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