Reflection Post for Week 5 EDET679: How do Materia’s claims compare to other research?

Aleta May

Reflection Post for Week 5: Gamification and Open Learning

EDET:679 with Dr. Graham

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

I read a lot out of Grown up digital: How the net generation is changing your world, by Don Tapscott. I especially enjoyed reading the section about how the Net Generation who has grown up with games, social media, mobile devices, and use the Internet to look up any topic with the touch of a finger has led to the brains of these students to be wired differently than people of generations, such as my own; the Late Baby Boomer Generation. I am so thankful that I have pushed myself to learn more and more about how to incorporate technology into the classroom. Also, I am very happy with learning how to design my own gamified classroom, which includes the use of computers and other smaller devices, and thematic elements that connect different modes of learning to each other.

It seemed natural to me to divide my initial post into three claims that Materia made in his book, Explore like a pirate: Engage, enrich and elevate your learners. I knew I could find more claims, but I looked for claims that stood out the most to me; then I supported these with other literature. I found myself so interested in what Don Tapscott had to say, that I ended up reading a lot of it. His perspective was one I could relate well to, since I also have a daughter and a son-in-law whom I observe, watching America Ninja Warrior and America’s got talent the same way Tapscott described; with phone in hand. Unlike teenagers, they were not interested in the voting amongst peers—maybe between themselves; but Nicolyn was gaming on her phone, while Joe was checking out Craigslist for great deals. Either of them could describe in detail their opinions about what was going on in the show, although they missed as few parts. No problem, they are accustomed to the pre-record and rewind features they grew up with most of their lives.

After reading seven posts, a common theme I noticed was that students are engaged to learn when the work is fun and engaging. The fun needs to include discovery and both self- and social-elements (Matt).

Math hoops by 1-2-3. I read this and watched the video. A basketball, math game in several villages would likely be very well received. I know I’d like to try this; since it is definitely more related to their interests than math problems based on things not related to their lives. I also like the way it supports basic math skills that include decimals with adding/subtracting multiplying/dividing and gives meaning to statistics.

Since the standardized test scores on the group using this game almost three times higher than the control group not using this game, that sounds like a very significant change that can be attributed to using this game to engage students.

Here are my references for my initial post:


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: Engage, enrich and elevate your learners. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

Tapscott, D. (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

Below are comments I made to posts in the class:


I really appreciate your emphasis on students’ ownership over what they will learn, how they will reach a goal through discovery while given a fun environment in which to create. Helping them reach their goal through facilitation and equipping them with materials and ideas, or giving them a starting point for finding ideas on their own are so important. The traditional part I feel constrained by is the extreme limitations on time constraints. I realize we need order and a schedule is part of this. But we are often so compelled to maintain the strict schedule, it is difficult to allow for that extra 15 minutes for the child who is working in the flow.


A point you made about how we as adults use games to connect with each other is so true. I remember playing pinochle with a couple once or twice a week. We laughed and continued staying in the game as long as we could. Though seeking to be the winners and passing the winners plaque to be presented in that couple’s home, the competition was only part of it.

I was updating computers last week, so that the Internet textbooks would be interactive in certain sections. As I think of your example of a student who used an app and was very happy using it, then got bored, I thought about how we as teachers are constantly thinking of variations for learning. Over time, the goal is that they would pursue their own paths related to the objective, but in a way that suits their individual interests. You are very busy with 4th Graders each day.


Thinking about students being passive receivers of content instead of active reminds me of who we are teaching. We are teaching little kids all the way through the stages of young adults. The students at all of these developmental stages need to be able to physically move and have input. Though we guide their learning, if we don’t teach within their flow range, they will seek escape or just sit there and zone out. Another option is that they will become that person who can give out answers, but not necessarily care enough about the topic to apply it to anything “real world.”

Presently, I think of the way to reach students—sometimes that is limited by constraints placed on teachers. For example, a last minute change to a schedule from one subject to another does not allow teachers time to prepare for engaging text either in book form, on the computer, or in activities. This happens at our smaller high schools more often than not. Having access to computers to start a topic while waiting for those books to arrive is one way to address this situation. It is not easy to be a teacher—in any form. Right now I am working with individual students. Keeping them engaged is even a challenge, much less a large class of students with wide ranges of abilities.


A very important comment that you brought up was about providing feedback that is positive, while honest, and clear is so important.

Another great point is that teachers are “changing right along with students, although we may not be able to keep pace.” What keeps me motivated to continue to learn and press forward in how I teach is that I can motivate students by modeling “curiosity, enthusiasm and interest,” and all within a culture of education that seems to be between traditional and more student-centered. I am teaching students that are more visually oriented from their use of computers, phones, etc. They may not have as much access, because of limited data or limited computers in the home as would students in other areas. This gives me the opportunity to pace my learning a little less behind students than would be in places where most students have more Internet access.


My mind goes directly to “video games” when I’m thinking of games as far as school and my daughter and grandchildren. When I play games with our friends who are from the Boomer Generation, my mind goes straight to card games and sometimes board games. Is there an online version of cribbage? My dad and I used to play this game repeatedly. It kept his mind strong.

In my readings, I am aware of some of the comments about video games being a waste of time. However, I became educated myself as I read how in games like World of Warcraft (which I have not seen in action) requires the more experienced player to not only challenge others, but invite people new to the game and be a leader who networks 40 players to work together! Can this be applied to Environmental Science? I would definitely give this a resounding yes. Your point about making parents more aware is so important. Sometimes grandparents are just as involved with the student’s education as their parents. Maybe they need to be invited in to see just how gamifying the classroom, especially as a theme, is tied to their learning.


When you mentioned visual arts in teaching through gaming experiences, I looked up this topic. This also ties in with fun learning from your blog. By the way, the makerspace is, in my opinion, part of a gamified classroom 🙂

The Essention Question in the article I found by Han (2015) is “How can students benefit from visual learning courses set in 3-D Animated Virtual worlds?

Although this 3-D space was developed at a university for a Civic Learning Space in college, students in High school can use “role-play to explore different roles in civic studies.”   The author brought out how digital natives, Net Generation, are willing to delve deeper into learning in a 3-D that is part of what their brains are already wired for.

Below is Figure 1. Civic Multiple Learning Heaven in Virtual Commons for Education and Research (VCER):

Look at this Figure 4. Storytelling Fairyland in Virtual Commons for Education and Research (VCER):

I can think of a book for younger students that would go with this world, but they would need to be patiently guided as they learn to build in a 3-D environment. Students build persistence as noted in this comment, “. . . they expressed feeling tired by the end of the project, they were also very excited to be able to create an object in the virtual world.” Students are working at the top end of their own flow level, willingly motivated by a visual environment that challenges their minds that are already used to expressing themselves and recognizing the visual before the text. There are interactive tools to use while learning, and your own observations may be shared at places like Facebook.


 Hsia0-Cheng (Sandrine) Han (2015). Teaching visual learning through virtual world: Why do we need a virtual world for art education? Art Education.


Self-elements and social-elements are the categories I had not read about or heard of yet. I like how the individual and social gaming elements combine to reach a common storyline goal that reaches across abilities for a shared theme.

I went to (to the projects section).   Then I clicked on the category “Space.” Then I clicked “Measure and Map Our Galaxy.”This looks like a massively open online learning experience (an element that can be added to a class project.

There is a Milky Way Project Tutorial that shows how the tools presented in the activity may be used. Then there is a place to go to a discussion or add comments; this one is called Milky Way Project Talk.” People can collect and share their own data. Thank you for sharing this site.

Rely to my post:

Sara Lucas says:

.comment-author .vcard

October 9, 2016 at 6:13 am (Edit)

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.


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.


I wrote on Sara’s reflection—because I discovered that I was a part of her reflection comments.


In your reflection, I felt a connection to you. Our students in the bush may be the ones most likely to latch on to how to use Internet as a tool in their own lives. I find that many students want to either leave and come back or stay here. Over time, services have improved substantially; so I’m sure they will continue to be upgraded.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s