Walden University Assignments

Benefits and Challenges of Games in the Classroom

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Walden University Assignment – Course 6715: Week 6 Discussion

Benefits and Challenges of Games in the Classroom

One of the main benefits of integrating games into the curriculum is that it brings a tool into the classroom in which students are familiar with and enjoy using. Gee (2005) mentions many benefits of GAME PLAY in education, such as students having to follow a set of rules, analyze their options, make decisions, perform tasks, and evaluate the results on whether their decision produced the desired outcome or not. Games also encourage pattern identification, exploration, and provide a reinforced scaffolding approach to learning; taking what they know and have learned and connecting this with new information being introduced. The most interesting insight Gee (2005) spoke about was “just-in-time” and “on demand” learning. Understandably, for any of us, when we have made clear connections, we become open and ready for new information. All students learn at their own speed, and when they reach an intellectual milestone, only then are they able to truly receive new information, process it, and apply it to demonstrate learning. This method of learning focuses on the individual student; actively encouraging them to grasp concepts in a non-threatening manner, then motivating them to move forward as soon as THEY are ready. This creates a more meaningful learning experience that ensures learning is taking place.

GAME DEVELOPMENT has all of the benefits of game play however, it has additional benefits. Creating games focuses on the student as the teacher and teacher as the facilitator, guide or resource. As the teacher, students have a better opportunity to master content because they must first collect, organize, analyze and interpret information; then plan, apply and creatively explain the concept to demonstrate understanding; and finally create a mini-game based on their own understanding of the content which in turn, teaches that concept to someone else; the game player (Overbaugh & Schultz, n.d.), (Prensky, 2008). This process can help students build self-efficacy as they are given more control over their learning, are able to create something that has value to them and their peers, and are recognized and rewarded for their unique ideas and creativity (Prensky, 2008). Other benefits include soft skill building in peer-to-peer and peer-to-teacher communication, collaboration and cooperation.

Challenges to bringing game play and development into the classroom is (1) obtaining buy-in from the administration and parents as the perception society has on games revolves around them either being “a waste of time” or “a negative influence on our youth;” as well as (2) securing resources and support. In addition, (3) other teachers may oppose adopting this method, as Prensky explains (2008) because they have been taught to be, and are most comfortable with being, the authority on information acquisition. Many teachers are afraid to try something out of the realm of their knowledge and experience because they believe they must have all of the answers for their students. However, with educational strategies today focusing on student-centered learning, so should professional development training. Teachers need to be trained on how to assist student growth by working along-side them, guiding them when needed, and learning along with students.

I do believe in using game play and development as learning tools in the classroom. However, the games students play in the classroom need to be evaluated for content and learning goals to ensure their effectiveness. Game development offers higher pedagogical application, engages and motivates students to be active participants in their learning (as games are a regular part of today’s society), and encourages students to take responsibility for their learning. Using game development in my classroom proved to be as much of an enlightening experience for me as it was for my students. My classroom was filled with active and focused energy. Students were excited to find I did not have all of the answers, yet I would work along side them to research or explore a solution. It became a competition to them to be the first to find the answer. When they did, I would take a moment to stop the class, have the student share what they had discovered, then let the student demonstrate/teach me (and other students interested) how to solve the problem presented. I would then have the student create the single-action/event in the game software and upload it to our library resource with their name next to it. When other students needed to know how to perform that action/event, they would download and open the file, then review how the action/event was applied to reverse engineer the action/event for their game.

Shanna Falgoust

References:
Gee, J. P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(2), 33–37.

Overbaugh, R. C., & Schultz, L. (n.d.). Bloom’s Taxonomy. Old Dominion University. Retrieved June 8, 2011, from http://www.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm

Prensky, M. (2008). Students as designers and creators of educational computer games: Who else? The British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(6), 1004–1019.

Online Learning in K-12 Schools

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Walden University Assignment – Course 6715: Week 4 Application

6714 Reflection: Assessing for Learning

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Walden University Assignment – Course 6714: Week 8 Reflection

Technology integration adjustments I can immediately implement into my instructional practice, as a result of what I have learned through this course, is to establish an online presence for my classroom. Through a website or wiki, I can keep students and parents informed regarding current activities and upcoming assessments, as well as provide a “library” of multiple instructional and learning resources for students to utilize as needed. When I get ready to present a new unit, I can review my current materials and add or create additional materials to meet the auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning style preferences of my students. Involving the students, I can incorporate time for exploring concepts. They can share their findings with the class, the class can decide which links would be most helpful and informative, and then the resource links can be added to the unit library. Not only does this solution promote the building of a classroom learning community, this tool also offers continued variation of instructional and learning materials (Laureate Education, 2009).

Another tool I am excited to use in my classroom is The Birmingham Grid for Learning online survey that identifies which of the eight intelligences people favor most (Birmingham City Council, 2002). As a way to break the ice and allow me to get to know my students at the beginning of each school year, in addition to encouraging students to open up and get to know their fellow classmates, I can have students take this survey, assess themselves, and create a “Who I Am” document or presentation. I would first have to emphasize the importance of our own unique interests and talents with a fun “hook” activity before I allow them to take the survey and begin their self exploration.

Adding to the immediate adjustment of my instructional practice, would be to encourage my students to use the technology available in our classroom computer lab to create their “Who I Am” product illustrating their most prominent learning intelligence(s) and preferred learning style. Since once of the main motives is to break the ice and get to know their peers, students can choose to collaborate with their classmates to gain ideas and explore available technology.

References:

Birmingham City Council. (2002). Multiple intelligences: secondary. Birmingham Grid for Learning. Retrieved March 13, 2011, from http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks3/ict/multiple_int/index.htm

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2009). EDUC 6714I-2 Reaching and engaging all learners through technology. [DVD]. What is differentiated instruction? Drs. Carol Ann Tomlinson, Grace Smith, and Stephanie Throne.

Differentiating Instruction

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Walden University Assignment – Course 6714: Week 5 Discussion

Direct URL: http://voicethread.com/share/1895901/

Universal Design for Learning

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Walden University – Course 6714: Week 4 Application

UDL Interactive Chart

Student Learning Profile Survey

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Walden University – Course 6714: Week 2 Application

Learning to Love Assessment

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Walden University – Course 6714: Week 1 Discussion

Assessing Diverse Learners in the Classroom

I can relate to Carol Ann Tomlinson’s early years as a teacher. I did not like assessments, and only gave them when I had to. However, reading through her ten understandings to classroom assessment, I realized it was not assessing students that I disliked so much, but the singular method through which I might give assessments. We all have our preferences for how we communicate. By broadening the scope for communication, students can demonstrate their understanding via a method they are most comfortable with; like a written essay, verbal or visual presentation, etc. (Tomlinson, 2008).

The fourth understanding described by Tomlinson (2008), “Informative assessment isn’t separate from the curriculum,” has recently impacted me in my work by how I develop curriculum. I used to create lessons first and then build my assessments from what was covered in my lessons. This was backwards. I did not realize at the time that I could not successfully measure my students’ understanding of information if I did not first define my goals and outcome. Covey (n.d.) discusses the importance of knowing first what you should be focusing on so that you can visualize and make connections; “begin with the end in mind.” By clearly identifying lesson goals (what they will learn) and the outcome (what they should be able to do) from the beginning, students have a higher chance of successfully learning what is being taught. Additionally, assessments given during units of study become a more accurate form of evaluating and determining student understanding.

This new insight has helped me develop a template for creating lessons. I first identify the purpose; this is the “overall” reasoning for the lesson. Next, I identify the goals, or objectives, for the lesson which are the key points the students will learn. Lastly, I identify the lesson outcome. This clarifies tasks, or what the students will be able to do with the new knowledge and/or skills. By mapping out my lesson purpose, objectives and outcome(s) from the beginning, students do not have to guess at what will be coming next. They know what to expect, are better prepared for the activities, and more likely to formulate personal connections that will aid in their learning.

Shanna Falgoust

References:

Covey, S. R. (n.d.). The 7 habits of highly effective people, habit 2: begin with the end in mind. Stephen R. Covey: The Community. Retrieved March 2, 2011, from https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit2.php

Tomlinson, C. (2008). Learning to love assessment. Educational Leadership, 65(4), 8–13. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

GAME Plan Reflection

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Walden University – Course 6713: Week 8 Reflection

Reflection on my GAME plan:

I developed my GAME plan based on parts of the NETS for Teachers, 3C regarding effectively corresponding with parents through the use of current technologies, and 4A concerning teaching “legal and ethical use of” technology and online content (ISTE, 2008). During this course I discussed my thoughts and plans with my colleagues and came to a decision to create a class blog where I could add parent emails and manually sign them up to received emails anytime I posted an update regarding assignments, assessments, projects, etc. It was a bit difficult to collect parent email this late in the year, and therefore had to seek other means to obtain this information. Another obstacle presented itself once the blog was set up and the emails were added, which was manually changing each users’ settings to auto-receive these update emails. It basically came down to the parents “signing up” for this feature, which was a little disappointing to me. However, as one colleague pointed out, some parents would prefer to check the blog site themselves, than to receive these automatic emails. In the end, I believe I was successful in providing an open channel for relaying information to parents.

As for, teaching legal and ethical issues, I believe that having a quick MLA style guide for myself has made it easier and more convenient for me to check student work and therefore I have consistently been adding an assignment requirement for students to include in their projects the resources from their research. Additionally, I have witnessed my students voluntarily pulling out their MLA Style Guide reference cards to assist them during their assignments.

New learning that resulted from your following your GAME plan and impact it will have on your instructional practice

By using the GAME plan I was better able to focus on specific needs I had and goals I wanted to accomplish. Once I identified a goal, I had to plan ways to accomplish that goal. Through constant monitoring and evaluation, I was able to determine if my action plan was working or if it need to be modified my plan in any way. This has given me new insights into how I can integrate this learning strategy with the student-led method of learning in order to better help students form their own questions, come up with their own solutions, then monitor and decide if that solution is appropriate or if they need to think of another approach.

Are there any immediate instructional practice adjustments regarding technology integration in your content area(s) as a result of your learning from this course?

My main instructional practice adjustments would be to use more social media tools online, as allowed by our district. It’s a great way for the students to communicate, collaborate, share ideas, and explore new options…just like educators use in their “professional learning communities.”

Shanna Falgoust

Resources:
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). NETS for teachers 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2011, from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers/nets-for-teachers-2008.aspx

Using the GAME Plan Process with Students

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Walden University – Course 6713: Week 7 Application, Part I

A NETS-S technology standard that I can incorporate into a lesson, using the GAME plan process, falls under the heading of Creativity and Innovation.

NETS-S standard 1D, the Goal of the GAME plan, states that students will identify technology trends and forecast possibilities (ISTE, 2007). The Action students will take is to research current technology trends, choose one, then blog about why they feel it is considered a trend and forecast the possible evolution of this technology trend in the future.

Students will Monitor their progress by continuing to blog about any new research they may find. In addition, they will blog about interviews they conduct regarding the use of this trend and any other technology or concept that might contribute to the possible evolution of this trend.

Students will Evaluate their own progress by later using this data and synthesize their thoughts to give a projection on the feasibility of their prediction. In addition, students will evaluate each other by posting their thoughts to 3 of their peers’ blogs regarding the projections made on future trends.

Resources:

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). NETS for teachers 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2011, from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers/nets-for-teachers-2008.aspx

Evaluating My GAME Plan & Looking Beyond

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Walden University – Course 6713: Week 6 Application, Part I

What have you learned so far that you can apply in your instructional practice?
I like the idea of posting class information in one common area. Instead of typing up my daily agendas for my students, I think have a class wiki would be a great place to post these agendas. Students would know immediately where to go to find that day’s activities and can immediately get started on the “bell ringer” assignments. Plus, if students are out sick or know they will be out for a school activity, they know they have a resource to find out what we will be doing that day so they can stay up with the work.

What goals are you still working toward?
I am still looking for tools that give me the greatest access in modifying privileges based on teacher, student contributor, student facilitator, parent, etc.

Based on the NETS-T, what new learning goals will you set for yourself?
I am continually looking into Moodle and the various add on modules available to create a media-rich educational environment that provides tools for differentiated learning. This personal goal follows the NETS-T (2b) standard: develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress (ISTE, 2008).

What learning approaches will you try next time to improve your learning?
I will definitely continue to seek insights from my colleagues and other professional educators by remaining involved in local and national professional organizations such as TCEA, ISTE, etc. where I can attend conferences, webinars, sign up for news feeds, etc.

Resources:
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). NETS for teachers 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2011, from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers/nets-for-teachers-2008.aspx

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