Monthly Archives: November 2016

Week 10 Reflection EDET679 EQ focus on how to use the rubric as it stands or to revise parts of it.

Aleta May

Gamification and Open Education EDET679 with Dr. Graham

Week 10 Reflection

This week I started to consider how the rubric would work for me by starting a draft of my plan. This led me to weaving two websites together for the students; the platform Classcraft and Vocabulary.com. I am still exploring the opportunities for using both.

After reading blog comments, I too realized that the story / narrative is such an enormous part of trying to pull all of this together, I wanted to find a way to tame it down. Yes, I see the importance of a storyline / narrative in that themes seem very cohesive. Yet, I believe this takes time and development through ongoing learning. Therefore, finding a way to narrow this down would really help.

Reading posts from people in class this week also seemed to bring about a great review of learning thus far. I needed this week’s blog post to help me with reviewing the various structures and importance of many elements to make a successful project.

I also noticed that coming from the perspective of a multiple subject teacher is different than that of teachers whose topics are more mastery based. Yet, there are some areas of every subject that must be mastered; so finding fun and meaningful ways to accomplish mastery as much as possible, before the spiral “waits” for another day to revisit that topic in a deeper way, is also important.

Apparently, some of the question in a gamified classroom is how much deep learning needs to take place at this fork in the road for this topic versus, how much mastery through fun practice needs to happen? There is always some overlap, but one or the other usually presides.

Comments I made to blog posts:

Kate,

I think your point about number 5 is well made. One thing I considered here when I read it though, is that we are building a gamified environment in the classroom; so the focus is not on the game only. The way you divided this up into components, mechanics and dynamics, including many examples for each, was very helpful to me. It looks like you not only summarized the entire book we read for class, but added so much more support for your points here. A point can be made for drawing students in initially by something that is familiar for them; games and leveling up; then drawing them over into quests and discussions as well.

Gerald,

In your first sentence you brought out that you really don’t care about storyline or narrative. I think you are making a good point, in that I need to reconsider different player types and what does or does not motivate them as learners in class.

One thing about Minecraft is that it has the potential for being used to express comprehension of a story / narrative students are reading about. Maybe the story or narrative is for bringing together a theme in a classroom. However, this is no small task and teachers, in my view, need time to develop this aspect as he/she tries out different gameplay elements and mechanics.

One thing I notice is that students who are using a reading program, called Imagine Learning, are filling in skills they missed and that the badges earned toward playing games that practice words they need review on. This is motivational—but would be more effective if there were units of theme that tied the different section together—especially for those game player types that do learn from the emotional and social aspects in a story line.

Mariah,

Yes, exceeds does look like a lot for being new at this. I believe that the nature of beginning small and developing connections begins with a plan. On the other hand, I also believe that a plan develops along the way as we observe student learning. Maybe gamifying a classroom can be viewed as an overarching theme that ties together centers across the classroom. Gamifying includes technology but also doing a lot of the normal activities; such as, developing think-pair-share, inside/outside vocabulary practice, and other discussion or physical movement activities that lead students toward deeper thinking.

I have struggled with many of the same thoughts you are describing. As I write, I am thinking that gamifying is one part of the story of developing student engagement. There are so many learning strategies right now coming at us as teachers; such as for sheltered instruction for English Language Learners, that we become the artist and start creating.

Genevieve,

I like that you reminded us that Matera’s four aspects of gaming are theme, setting, characters and action. This presupposes that there will be a narrative connection. Maybe the development of a gamified classroom can take another direction. When I though of a gamified classroom as I wrote my thoughts, I started to consider including more than one subject area for elementary levels.

The idea you gave to us in setting up an XP grading system is a very nice and simple framework; which students need in order to set their own goals, and teachers need in order to avoid getting too entangled in picking apart grades and discouraging students.

Heather,

It is certainly a tempting focus to think of this “final project” as something that needs many details. I considered this as I started to write a draft. This project can get very big, very fast. Maybe the rubric needs to have more generalized alternative statements—the details are helpful in many ways, but if we are also permitted to follow each section of that rubric in more general terms, we will have a framework with some details.

I do remember stories being the favorite part of one of my college classes. One teacher introduced many classes with a related story as an example to draw in in and prepare us for the following topic. My concern is that while developing a storyline, I am spending much, much time trying to pull every aspect of the gamified classroom environment together—almost as if I am writing a novelette for the class.

Initial Blog for Week 10 EDET679: Essential Question: How would you change the rubric for the final project to better reflect what is important in games?

Initial Blog for Week 10

Gamification and Open Learning EDET679 with Dr. Graham

Aleta May

Essential Question: How would you change the rubric for the final project to better reflect what is important in games?

The best way for me to think about this question is to try my ideas out by starting a rough draft of my project plan. Also, I consider in my reflective thoughts what I have learned this semester about what makes a gamified classroom environment. Then I look at the rubric points I posted below from our class. I aim for the exceptional column, yet in some areas may reach meets, since this style of teaching and planning is new for me.

Gamification Plan—Rough Draft

The book read in class blends well with the avatars in ClassCraft: Spirit Animals Wild Born by Brandon Mull 680L ages 8 to 10

Since the book I have selected is an animal fantasy, the idea of using Classcraft matches. Crawley (2014) describes it this way: “Warriors get to eat in class, mages can teleport out of a lecture, and healers can ask if an exam answer is correct.” This platform is a way to engage students, in a learning context that is supportive. Students even have the option of buying pets and gear for their Classcraft avatars—this would likely apply more to high schoolers who may have gotten an iTunes account budget given to them.

Students are motivated by leveling up in the game by earning points that add to group points; therefore, they help each other out, creating a more collaborative environment.

I like the plan of teachers being able to interact with students; but to start with, I will keep the use of this platform simple.

So far in Classcraft, I have set up students who are currently in 5th grade at our school. The Class name is Spirit Animals Wild Born, based on the book they will be reading. I decided to set up the Classcraft platform in a manner where I can send messages to class members, create characters for students on a dashboard for tracking points (badges), and manage class content.

I will connect https://www.vocabulary.com/account/classes/ to the reading of the book and collecting Experience Points for vocabulary activities. At vocabulary.com, I have access to either creating my own vocabulary lists or using ready-made lists. This site found vocabulary words for each chapter of Spirit Animals: Wild Born. Points earned can be converted to badges on the Classcraft site. This may be connected to time spent practicing vocabulary.

Students will join the class by using this URL: http://vocab.com/join/D3PWVD

When students visit the URL above, they will automatically be enrolled in the class. If they do not have a Vocabulary.com account, they will be able to easily create one. They words will be from Chapter 1 of Spirit Animals Wild Born. This site has a place to create a list called vocabugrabber.

Before-, during- and after-reading activities are important factors in learning vocabulary. “Word learning, in many ways, occurs as a result of repeated encounters with the term under study” (Wolsey, Smetana, & Grisham, p. 1).  These thoughts combine to mean that although practicing words in a vocabulary.com context is a good thing, making sure that the words are tied to the book context and discussed among students is another way. They may use sentence frames to talk to each other in small groups or pairs to practice the words after being referred to that work in context.

Here are other platforms students may use to upload audio files, images or text. Along the way, students will be asked in a quest to visit on or two of these sites and produce a way to practice words together:

www.thinglink.com/edu (sidebar)

office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint/

www.prezi.com

www.voicethread.com

www.popplet.com (video without audio on YouTube)

The point is to get students more “intrigued by words and ideas, [so] they dig more deeply” (Wolsey, Smetana, & Grisham, p. 1).

If students continue to struggle with a word, they will be encouraged to visit Wikipedia. Here is an example of looking up the word apothecary from the book that has a picture description: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apothecary

A list of the words is provided and a title may be given.

The words are then assigned to a class the teacher has created.

Socially, this can be combined with another school to track progress on Leaderboards Daily, Weekly, or Monthly.

To engage students further, There is a place to build a quest at Classcraft. Of three choices, I clicked on Adventures in the Wild Boss Battles because it reflects the nature of the book I am using where the spirit animals are from the wild. There are 9 avatars to choose from called Bosses. I titled the activity as Spirit Animals: Wild Born, Chapter 1 to match the vocabulary.com title.

Next, I chose a whole number to represent a Boss HP; I chose 100. Then there is a place to ask questions of the students. Since this is Chapter 1, naming characters that match spirit animals should be included. Then a link could be added that takes students to images or sites that match with what is read, so they may answer questions.

One consideration I have made is to also include the use of OSMOS math with iPads and connect every correct answer with an opportunity to points toward build badges or XPs with names that extend the theme of Spirit Animals to math. The point here is to add in a social small group math activity that uses technology equipment for independence and motivation toward a more gamified overall classroom. The idea is to expand a theme across a class—especially since my project is an elementary 5th grade project.

Skill scaffolding will include learning vocabulary words as well as building math skills.

References

ClassCraft: https://help.classcraft.com/hc/en-us/sections/204016697-Classcraft-101

Crawley, D. (May 31, 2014). Classcraft makes the classroom a giant role-playing game—with fermium pricing

Vocabulary.com: https://www.vocabulary.com/account/classes

Wolsey, T., Simetana, L. & Grisham, D. L. (2015). Vocabulary plus technology. The Reading Teacher, 68(6). literacyworldwide.org

So far, the Rubric created below looks like it will fit my classroom gaming plan.

  1. Clear purpose that correlates with multiple learning objectives standards pertaining to coursework (20)

Exceeds  The game requires deep understanding of multiple learning objectives and provides opportunities to demonstrate higher level thinking.

  1. Narrative Context/Storyline (20)

Exceeds  Provides opportunity for the player to explore other avenues of learning/adventure. Allows the player to deepen knowledge about various aspects of the game and naturally develops a deeper understanding of the context or storyline.

  1. Well-organized, risk oriented problem solving (20)

Exceeds  Problem solving opportunities are recursive and transformative. The player is able to finish the game with an added skill set or transformed world-view. The user is able to create their own environment and scenarios that can be shared with other users. Users elicit their own discussion about the gaming experience.

  1. Engaging and Motivating (20)

Exceeds  The game is so engaging it is difficult to stop playing. The games learning environment offers an ideal mix of fun and challenging material. The game provides and excellent risk/reward system.

  1. Interactivity (Collaboration): students are able to interact with other and the game (20)

Exceeds  Interaction with others and/or with the game occurs regularly during game play. Collaboration is encouraged and allows the player to progress in the game while receiving support from other players and the game.

  1. Skill scaffolding and mastery (20)

Exceeds  The level of challenge provided by the game and player ability converges quickly. The difficulty level and pace of the game adapt to the player. Different levels of the game build upon prior learned skills.

  1. Encouragement and Feedback (20)

Exceeds  Feedback is immediate and specific, offering support for the player at least 60% of the time, allowing the player to learn from his/her mistakes.

  1. Utility (20)

Exceeds  Game play is intuitive and requires little or no administrative guidance for use. Game play encourages modification and customization, allowing for imagination and ingenuity. Examples might include: creating an avatar or some design elements like building/creating a home.

Week 9 Reflection: EQs–How do you currently infuse play into your class? How might you change this as a result of some of the ideas you have encountered?

Reflections for Week 9

EDET 679 Gamification and Open Learning with

Dr. Lee Graham

by Aleta May

November 2016

Currently, I am building in the use of hands on and visual activities in math so that my two students who struggle with math can see the math. We have a Dream Box math program that uses the same or similar manipulatives that I am using. Two boys are using concrete manipulatives which will prepare him to use the ones on the screen that do move and are a bridge from me to that math book (that will not come off the page except for now in his mind from our lessons).

I use Imagine Learning for a learning mangagement system (LMS) for reading. The lessons I teach one particular student one-on-one, come to life off the screen exactly where he needs reinforcement for reading word work and where he needs new language arts concepts taught to him. The part I find trickly, is the balance between letting him try and fail on the computer before turning the volume down that “reminds him to answer now” for going on; and using quick reminders. For example, there are words that are ee/ea and new plural/nonplural nouns and now pronouns. If I help too much while the game is operating and moves him to that level outside his zone. I find that this and other students love the gamified approach to this program, where they build up booster bits.  It would be more appropriate set in a class where there are other opportunities to use ways to learn these concepts in other ways.  It is different to vary activities as they get older and spend more time in the resource room.

Today, I explored the ClassCraft.com game. I really want to use this gamified classroom Learning Management System (LMS) so I can add lesson plans, post resources and eventually get students to talk about an assigned topic in the discussion portion I read about. I wrote to the company, since I did not seem to have a path for just purchasing this LMS portion on my own. After spending time exploring the site, I really think that very useful aspects of this platform are the features I listed. There is a portion where teachers are asked whether they would use this to teach an online class. Since this is at least one direction I am preparing for, this gives me another reason to try different ways to use this. Also, I think storing resources and building plans on the go over the summer without actually needing a physical notebook would be an advantage. I could add in a class topic related to items found to (like brochures), pictures in nature that relate to nature for geography and biology, what people do when they make things and the jobs they are in, and build up correlated lesson plans that match the content area standards. Last summer, we had the electric company put electricity to the shop.

Another platform I want to use even this week is one Ali discussed on this week’s post. She likely uses it, though may have researched it only. Either way, once I clicked, I could see ways to use Prodigy math for a variety of students. I will be working with one group from 9th grade who is working on basic math skills; and another student who has many gaps in his math skills since he had not started reading until recently.

As I read Gerald’s post, I thought of how I want to incorporate math art design into geometry. He said he has done that. It would be wonderful to see pictures of his students’ work when he does that. This brings up the word gamify—what constitutes gamification in the classroom. Well, I definitely believe art is emotional, intellectual, and playful expression. Art is both playful and that indescribable endeavor to tie things together in learning.   Drawing is an expression of reading comprehension; so too it is in math. Gamifying then includes what Ali led us to in watching the YouTube interview with James Paul Gee. In my notes from watching him, he discussed how the mind learns new ideas by simulating them visually and with actions or experiences and dialogue. Gee’s whole topic was the way gaming and learning are closely tied. Even if the game is not exactly literal—such as changing a scientific concept from the actual laws of nature and changing them to science fiction—much of the vocabulary and understanding overlaps both real and pretend worlds. Learning is connected this way.

These are replies I received from my post on Week 8–where the EQ was; “Which aspects of story and game mechanics will be useful in your class and how might you use them?”  

Mariah Smith

mmedowsmith@gmail.com

67.58.18.106

Aleta,

I really enjoyed reading about your theme of sailboats and being stuck. There seems to be intriguing aspects to your story that students will enjoy. You seem to understand how planning and playing around with ideas and thoughts is necessary to have a successful and interesting gamified course for our students. Thank you for your input and we are excited to see what you come up with and any more ideas that you share with us!

Sara Lucas says: 
.comment-author .vcard October 30, 2016 at 10:36 pm (Edit) 
.comment-meta .commentmetadata I think this was a similar topic for all this week: Theme, Setting, Characters, and Action. Genevieve talked about this and I talked about it as well. I think it is so central to starting to fantasize about how to gamify your own classroom. As I was picking a theme I couldn’t help but get to the rest. I just started to get really excited once I had my theme. I was wondering where I could put certain elements and how they could be most useful. Then I ran out of time to ponder due to my other duties. It was actually really disappointing. I can imagine if I get this excited my students will have not choice but to be excited with me.

Below are responses to blogs I read during Week 9.  My views of gaming were greatly expanded just by seeing through the window into their educational practice and their responses to same and similar readings.

Anthony,

I think your idea of building rapport with your students through the teacher getting points when students get wrong answers is great. You found an example from Matera in House vs. the Teacher—this sounds fun!

Wow—combining the basketball hoop and Classcraft XP sounds awesome. The rule for earning points for shooting into the basketball hoop for 25XP and adding these to the Classcraft characters has inspired me to start using Classcraft.

I remember paper football from middle school.

It seems like mini-games are an easy way to get started on gamifying a classroom. From there, it may next emerge into a theme.

Genevieve,

Card matching games for capital and lower case resonate with me; since I notice that even older struggling readers may struggle when there are words with all capitals for emphasis.

The math bingo games give students an incentive to complete the work they’ve already learned in order to call bingo! I had not heard of Reflex Math before—does this cost? iPads are so fun for kindergarten and first grade students! They are so tactile and visual. In my readings this week, young children need a variety so they are not only using digital. It is awesome that your students get some of each.

Earning points as a group for Class Dojo so they can choose a game sounds like a good idea.

Thank you for giving a peek into your classroom life with K/1.

Gerald,

I visited the clicker site in your references: https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/clickers/ and what stood out to me were the many types of clicker questions this system can be used for: Recall, Conceptual Understanding, Application, Critical Thinking, Student Perspective, Confidence Level, Monitoring as well as classroom experiments.

It makes sense not to require students to solve all of the problems if they don’t need that much practice. I can dream up ways that they could apply problems in real world situations by using math; but I am picturing that you have several larger classes of students per day, and little access to something like a shop (wood, mechanics, sewing, a 3D printer for geometry, etc.) and little time between classes.

Maybe you should not underestimate the power of clickers! I want to try them out. Though you acquired a set, do you know where to purchase one? It seems like a great tool for teachers to take turns using.

Gerald wrote to Matt:

Gerald ScarzellaNovember 4, 2016 at 10:29 AM

I love games, but trying to gamify a math class is still a struggle for me to put my mind around it. Even games in general. There is so much to cover in a high school math course, that time is valuable and limited. If I do have extra time, I teach a nice unit on math art. Stuff like Escher-like tessellations, perspective drawings, mandalas, and knot designs. Those activities seem more enlightening than playing games, and it introduces students to a great niche in art that incorporates math.

I replied to Gerald: Gerald, I think adding in the math art sounds like a perfect way to show how math is applied in one of so many areas. Art is relaxing as well.

Matt,

The side quests draw me in as well. They seem like such a natural way to add in choice, interest, and a practical way to add project based learning as a mini-unit.

I’ve thought about the time in a day a lot lately. Even elementary is affected by this now. At our school, we have a 4th 5th grade dual language team teaching and they have tried different ways to follow the program that has been prescribed for them, as well as, get those fun projects back into the day. The way it is set up seems so separated to me; for example, 50/50 of the day in each language and a language of the day.

Theresa,

There is a high school teacher here who started using Kahoot and really loves to quiz students this way since he can watch their responses to know how many more need to respond—and most students really respond well to the competition.

I need to learn how to make badges to integrate them into learning as well. Is using ClassCraft a good way to get started with this? I need to get into looking at this more closely.

I remember reading about Mega Tic Tac Toe. There were several guidelines, like start up in the left corner, then go to the center, etc. What I would really enjoy is coming to your classroom and having us both try several of these ideas together. We could draw in those low motivated students together.

It is so true that games connect people. This is true for table games as well as digital. I am more willing to take risks, because we can just finish off that game and try again with that newly acquired knowledge.

Ali,

Thank you, Ali for sharing about the Prodigy math site! I then noticed the 1st through 8th grade range, aligning to the standards for our own state. Since I will be working with a variety of age groups over the next five weeks, this will be a fun and helpful way to fill in math gaps for them.

I am working with a few 9th grade students who are in a basic skills math group, I can offer this to them and see if they like it or if it helps.

I use visuals as much as I can to help teach students. Then if possible, we use manipulatives as well. I know this is what the STEAM programs with robotics are trying to do. Even in my reading program, the idea of making reading meaningful to kids by seeing that words in their environment mean something relates to this idea.

Notes I took while watching the very valuable video you posted. By watching, and note taking, I could slow down my thinking, and “see” what Gee is talking about–Thank you for sharing this video; James Paul Gee he is so important in education today!

Gee in edutopia.org. on YouTube:   “The basic unit of 5 people with different skill sets. They have to be deeply skilled at one skillset, but has to understand the big picture, so they can integrate their skillset with a very different skillset, the other people. In the world of high tech work, this is called a cross-functional team; that has to be able to work together with and understand others role in their team.   Often the players that play games outside of work will go to an affinity site, research the game, discuss it and write about it. They are using vocabulary and concepts of physics even though the world they play in; such as, World of Warcraft; in order to get better at the game—the game is only half of what they are doing then.

Running ideas through the mind simulations of images, actions and experiences (goals and dialogue), that the words refer to is what helps them to learn. We have handed the manuals to students without the games. Bring the activities, problem–solving, surmise new possibilities, live in the worlds of chemistry and algebra that are connected to the books. The text/world is not understood by abstract generalities. “

Week 9 Initial Post–Essential Question: How do you currently infuse play into your class? How might you change this as a result of some of the ideas you have encountered?

Week Nine Initial Post November 2016

Aleta May

for EDET679 Gamification and Open Learning with Dr. Lee Graham

Essential Question: How do you currently infuse play into your class? How might you change this as a result of some of the ideas you have encountered?

Currently, I infuse play into my work with students through a gaming, reading program, and using matching cards to learn vocabulary. My primary focus lately has been on teaching one student to read—and he is progressing by leaps and bounds. This has been a very intensive road, for he and I, but as a 5th grader, I vary the methods I use to teach him as much as possible.

Something that interested me the most in the reading from Matera (2015) is the use of side quests. According to Matera, “An important learning opportunity provided by side quests is that students become less dependent on their teacher for initiative and content acquisition” (p. 215). He also states that a side quest can only be turned in one time, have a connection to the current unit, and turned in before the unit test (p. 215). One idea that I think would be great for weaving into a trade book reading that involves exploring an island where the characters experienced a tropical cyclone, would be to have students take quests on a Pacific volcanic island or study tropical cyclones as compared to Atlantic hurricanes (Spires, 2015). Making connections across the curriculum through taking quests are endless. Mapmaking for geography, the study of science and weather, art, music, and digital reading are all examples of using quests to cross the bridges between content areas for a more thematic learning environment that includes gamification in the classroom

When learning is set in gamification, themes, and quests, children are learning in their natural element. “According to Piaget, play becomes more abstract, symbolic, and social as children mature through different developmental stages,” (Plass, Homer, & Kinzer, 2015, p. 259). Children develop cognitively when they activate their schemas.

Constructivist, behaviorist, and cognitivist elements may differ in many ways; however, “playfulness serves as an enriching yet orthogonal dimension—a dimension that can be present no matter what model of learning a game is based on” (Plass, et al., p. 261). There are multiple ways to engage students. What they all have in common is playfulness.

Intrinsic motivation tap into what learners are interested in. Game designing should keep this type of motivation at the heart of gaming, in contrast to external motivation (Plass, Homer, Kinzer (2014). Intrinsic motivation includes meeting the needs of students by “providing immediate feedback, providing control over the material, and inspiring curiosity . . . because learners want to participate, knowledge improves. . .” (Brull, Finlayson, 2016, p. 373).

The chart below describes Playful Learning in a Cognitive Map. It is from Plass, et al. (2014): Figure 1. Integrated Design Framework of Playful Learning.

Please click for the chart to go to the wordpress link:

playful-learning-an-integrated-design-framework

For the next six weeks, I will be working with a wide variety of students. One small group of high school students will study pre-algebra skills, while two others are reading novels for Novel Studies class. Another student comes in for repetition of math skills—he can read really well, but his math skill retention is very low and therefore must be visual and hands-on. Two students work with one-on-one assistants. I have a wide variety of opportunities to engage students in playful learning. I think this chart helps keep me focused.

References

Brull, S., & Finlayson, S. (2016). Importance of gamification in increasing learning. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 47(8), (372-375).

Plass, J., Homer, B., Kinzer, C. (2014). Playful learning: An integrated design framework. Games for Learning Institute. White Paper # 02/2014. http://create.nyu.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/G4LI-White-Paper-02-2014-Playful-Learning.pdf

Matera, M. (2015). Explore like a pirate: Engage, enrich and elevate your learners. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.  Reading: Chapters 8, 9 & 10- Explore Like a Pirate

Plass, J., Homer, B. & Kinzer, C (2015). Foundations of game-based learning. Educational Psychologist, 50(4), pp. 258-283.

Spires, H. A. (2015). Digital game-based learning: What’s literacy got to do with it? Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 59(2).