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. “

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