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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Module #5 - Gaming and Gamification

It's NOT about the Games.  It's about the Gaming.

Did you know that in 2017:

  • 65% of US households played video games?
  • Almost 1/2 of the video gamers were adults < 49 years old?
  • The average gamer was 35?
  • 2 out of 5 gamers were women.?
  • 67% of parents play video games with ther children once a week?  Entertainment Software Association Press Release
Gaming is not a fad. Video gaming is a way of life. Gaming is an activity that provides sufficient positive feedback to cause players to exclude all else. It is challenging enough to entice gamers to continually attempt to beat their last score.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if school was like gaming? Where students would be so motivated by their learning activities that they would get up early and stay up late to engage themselves in the learning process.


Our understanding of learning has taken a HUGE leap forward in recent years.  It is time that we were Rethinking Learning with the 21st Century Learner.




Is it about playing the game or getting involved in something that is rewarding and challenging.  Maybe it has something to do with "getting into the flow of things . . . "


Flow - The Psychology of the Optimal Experience 

Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Chick-sent-me-hi) has studied states of "optimal experience" for over two decades. He is exploring the conditions and attitudes that engage people's concentration and attention to the point of total absorption. He calls this state of consciousness Flow.  In this state of attention, learners are at their most receptive level.

Dr. Csikszentmihalyi discusses his theory of Flow in this 5-minute video. 

It is the primary introduction to the Flow concept. He further explains its application to education in this short interview on Edutopia.org:  Motivating People to Learn.

9 Characteristics of Flow have been identified. Learn these characteristics so that you can later relate them to the apparent aspects of gaming and learning.

Pay careful attention to this concept of Flow because while it may seem like "good common sense," it is an underlying principle of learning.

Gaming's Elements Make for Good Learning

Gaming is a directional process where the player is guided towards a selected goal through positive and negative reinforcement. Isn't that similar to a good learning situation? How does that relate to the 9 characteristics of Flow?

Read this posting which discusses a list of 8 characteristics of Gaming. Relate these to those of Flow. What similarities do you see? What distinctions?  You will also find a video of a leading gaming researcher, Dr. James Paul Gee.  Watch this video and correlate it with the connections we have been discussing.


Gaming in Your REAL Life

Gaming is the basis of living and learning.  When you do something correctly, you are rewarded.  When you faultier, you fail.  It's about how you interact with the world. Before you can explore how you would do this in the classroom, you need to know something about how it works in your life.  Seth Priebatsch shares some interesting ideas about how Gaming appears as a layer in your real life.  



If you are interested in really applying gaming to your real life, Explore Chore Wars.  It is a quest game where you can claim experience points for housework.

Consider your present concepts about gaming. Have they changed in the past 24 hours? If so, what have you realized?  How does this affect your perspective as a trainer, teacher, educator?


Using Gaming Practices to Improve Learning

In this 10-minute video, Paul Anderson explains how he reinvented his course to make it a gaming learning experience. Pay attention to the insights that he shares about the elements of active student-centered learning environments.

 


Explore Like a Pirate
One of the leaders in the gamification world is Michael Matera, is a 6th grade world history teacher who has been using interactive play, passion and purpose-driven learning to transform the classroom for a decade. He has designed his classroom to build upon the human need to earn recognition through achievement. 


Captain Matera's book, Explore Like a Pirate: Gamification and Game-Inspired Course Design to Engage, Enrich and Elevate Your Learners, explores how he developed a gamified classroom and leads readers through the process of gamifying their learning environment.  While this is not a required reading for this class, it could be useful for you to review if you decide to use gamification for your final project.


Short of reading his book, listen to this 25-minute interview with Michael Matera on The Principal Center podcast.  This is a unique interview because it involves a principal interviewing a rogue teacher who is having incredible success in his classroom. Listen to what he says about 80% failure rate and how it aligns with Csikszentmihalyi's concept of Flow. 

Gamification and Instructional Design
All of this background is "well and good" but how do you really adapt this to your own classroom.  I have looked for a number of resources - templates maybe - that you could use to begin thinking about this for your own teaching/learning situations.  There is a PLETHORA of possibilities out there.  I 

One resource that I found that might guide the instructional designers in us is an Infographic called Gamification and Instructional Design from Ethical Island.  Follow this link to find a succinct overview and Instructional Design process based upon Understanding By Design.  It is a good beginning.

Here's YOUR Challenge (If you decide to accept it)
This doesn't fit the aspects of gamification necessarily, but here is YOUR chance to add to the stew.  Next week's assignment will involve you beginning the process of planning how you would include gamification in your teaching/learning situation.  Instead of having Dr. Z find all of the resources to guide you towards the end, here is the Gamification Resource Page where you can place guiding resources that you would like to share as you explore gamification this week. You might begin at this Gamification Pinterest Page or whereever you want to go.  

This week you read and explore.  Next week you will begin the process of exploring the opportunities of gamification in your learning/teaching space.  You will have the opportunity to finish this for your final project.




Thursday, September 13, 2018

Module #4: Universal Design for Learning


The world isn't equally accessible to all people. There are many challenges that we have to be able to function and succeed in our worldly activities.  In the past, people have tended to emphasize the deficits in others' ability to function in the world. This has led to always talking about people being handicapped and disabled. This can cause a great divide between groups. 

Here is a TED Talk (TEDMED) video of Aimee Mullins who talks about what the term, disabled, means to her. She is a double amputee who is an Olympian runner and motivational speaker.  This will cause you to rethink your perspective of what it means to be called "disabled."




Having Special Needs
Consider, if you will, that all humans have special needs. It is just a matter of degree. It might be the need for glasses for reading, the need for an auditory reader because someone has vision problems or the need for alternate means of communicating because someone has Lou Gehrig's disease or cerebral palsy.  As we get older, we might review articles on our computer screens at 150% so that they are easier to read.  It's all a matter of degree.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a combination of pedagogy and technique that acknowledges the different levels of needs. UDL uses brain-based research to identify the need for addressing multiple methods of representation, expression and engagement of learners with information and knowledge. It involves instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments. 

The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) is a leader in the field of UDL. Here is 6-minute introductory video where they actually show the how it is used in the classroom to better address your students' needs.







UDL Guidelines
As you know by now, UDL has 3 specific areas of interest.  The CAST center created the UDL Guidelines and described them using a 9-cell chart.   This is a video of Director David Rose providing insight into how to best use this chart to support your UDL implementation. Open the UDL Guidelines, review them, and then watch this video to develop deeper insight. What is quite interesting is how he explains that the whole reason for using UDL is to achieve what is described in the bottom row. 


Do you think that you know enough to integrate it into your teaching environment?  Maybe watching videos about information is not your favorite means of learning.  In the spirit of UDL, here is an informative article entitled  Technology and Learning: Meeting Special Student's Needs (.pdf)  It might look a little familiar but it is a great parallel with the video.


http://www.tlc-mtss.com/assets/udl-infographic.jpg

For Visual Learners, this UDL Infographic depicts the various cognitive areas of UDL, applications, and resources that you may find useful in your classroom. 


The Difference between Universal Design for Learning and Traditional Education
So what is the difference between UDL and K-12 Traditional Education?  You need to understand that before you can even hope to implement it into your classroom.  The Understood Team created a useful chart to compare the two approaches.  Review it with your classroom (or learning/teaching experience) in mind. It addresses a number of aspects including focus, accommodations, classroom setup, and grading. 

Applying UDL in Higher Education
Now that you have developed a foundation about UDL, how can it be applied in the real world classroom?  The answer is not direct. It all depends upon the learning situation that is involved. Read/watch these resources to see some best practice and good ideas for integrating UDL into course design.  Both of them are situated in a post-secondary learning environment (Notice the diversity you non-NK12 Teacher candidates), but consider how these strategies might work at the lower levels.

San Francisco State University is a leader in using UDL in Higher Education. They created a website that addresses how to UDL could be applied on campus entitled Using UDL on Campus.  This is a 30-minute workshop on using UDL in your teaching. You don't have to complete the workshop, but the support documents are what give it depth. You will see that they follow the UDL principles by sharing the information in video, audio and printed formats. They even deepen the content by providing videos of case stories. Use the Quick Links on the side to find a wealth of additional information.    


Differentiated Learning
Recognizing that students have varying backgrounds, levels of readiness, preferences in learning, and interests is important if you are going to be able to address their needs. You will need to Differentiate your teaching styles to address their learning needs. You try to meet students where they are from an educational perspective. UDL is a strategy that is based upon differentiated learning and teaching. Read this article, Differentiated Instruction and Implications for UDL Implementation, to see how these strategies work together.


Assistive Technology
While UDL involves strategies to benefit all learners, Assistive Technologies (AT) are devices (some electronic and some not) that increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. UDL is a teaching practice while AT is something that you can touch. 

There are many Types of Assistive Technologies. (These technologies are grouped by manufacturers but they are explained on each of the websites.)  Not all AT are electronic, but this list includes a variety of ways that people can interact with technology to function in the world. They may involve input devices that control computers using a variety of methods. They may be output devices that allow computers to communicate with people through Braille, voice, visual representation or even physical activity. 

Examples of UDL and Assistive Technologies

iPads in the Special Ed Classroom
This is a blog run by a special education educator. This page is a treasure-trove of resources. It explains a variety of benefits of using tablets (yes, I know that it is iPad-based, but think "tablet") as computing tools for students. These are from the teacher's, student's and education's points of view. Explore the many resources in the right column as well.


Universal Design in the Workplace
Universal Design can refer to learning or it can refer to accessibility in the workplace. This can mean a great deal when we want to make the workplace a welcoming environment for people with special needs. While UDL has 3 areas of implementation, UDW (UD in the Workplace) has 3 as well: 1) Workplace environment, 2) Workplace technologies, and 3) Workplace policies and tasks.


How Do We Apply Universal Design for Learning?
Now that you have been introduced to UDL and experienced the needs for using such strategies, the question remains about "How to implement UDL strategies." The Readings and Watchings that you just completed will provide a strong foundation for the activities that you will be completing for your assignment.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Module #3 - Connecting Through Your PLN

georgecouros.ca
georgecouros.ca
The networked teacher is a successful teacher.

This graphic depicts the myriad of resources our educators have at their fingertips.  These aren't just Wikipedia, Google, and Flickr. The networked teacher is connected to the world of education through a plethora of social media including Twitter, Blogger, and Pinterest.

It's not about the tools, it's about using tools to access the wisdom, creativity and experience of your worldwide colleagues to enrich your students' learning experiences and make your life easier.

PLN is an acronym that has many meanings and connotations.  Primarily, it is a network of people and resources that we use in our everyday lives both personally and professionally.

Personal (Professional) Learning Network - This is the set of connections that you use in your personal or professional life.  With most educators, there is a drastic overlap between their personal and professional lives so making the distinction is not necessarily important. What is important is how we build our PLN and what we do to grow it as needed.  What is important is how we contribute to our PLN so that others can benefit from our experiences as much as we benefit from theirs.

Why are PLNs important?  Here are a couple of educators who share the true meaning of using PLNs in their personal and professional lives. The first video is an elementary school teacher explaining how integral his PLN is in his life.  The second is a technology coordinator who explains his strategy for growing his PLN over the year.



Almost makes you want to pop open your Tweetdeck to see what has appeared over the past hour, doesn't it?

Sure, your PLN can include a collection of Twitter pals, favorite Bloggers and interesting Flickr collections, but this is just the beginning.  Kathy Schrock, one of the leading educational technology specialists, has created a 25-minute webinar about how to use and build your PLN.



Students Use PLNs Too
Creating PLNs isn't just for teachers.  Students can find opportunity in organizing their resources. This next video was produced by a 7th grade science student who is taking you on a tour of her PLE (Personal Learning Environment).  She has used Symbaloo as a simple way to create a page of resources that she can use for her research all year long.  Notice that she is even connecting with scientists around to world as part of her research. Can you see how this tool could be useful for your students? (Notice that she has over 85,000 views - someone thinks this is important.)



There you have it, you have reviewed how PLNs can change your personal/professional life and what you can include in your own PLN. Let's return to our UNI elearning page and see what we can do with your own PLN.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Module #2: Social Networking - Blogging

Blogging

speedofcreativity.org
Blogging is today's newspaper, book, magazine, and thinking pad all rolled into one.  The beauty of a blog is that it provides the creator with a true freedom of expression.  It allows us to create freely and express ourselves in ways that weren't available 20 years ago.

This form of expression is ripe for the classroom:  
  • Many teachers at all levels use blogs to provide a painting easel for students to create. 
  • Some teachers use them to share information about what is happening in their classrooms (a much more direct form of communication than sending newsletters home each week. 
  • Many teachers use blogs to share their projects or ask advice of other educators.   The opportunities are endless.
I thought that I would share a few of the blogs that I like.  I have tried to break these into the three categories that I have just listed.  PLEASE share your favorites with us by inserting a link in one of the comments below. (It may say "no comments:" now, but click on it and add your thoughts.)

Student Creations

Sharing What's Happening in the Classroom

Sharing Ideas with Other Educators

Resources

The best way to learn about blogging is to read blogs. Select at least 4 blogs concerning your educational interests to follow throughout this class. You can select from the list above, or you could look for suggestions at Top 23 EdTech Bloggers to Follow in 2018 or you could Google it by entering the term, Blog, and then your area of interest, i.e., Universal Design for Learning.

Following Blogs

Once you have found the blogs you want to follow, you need to find a way to get to them easily.  Yes, you could bookmark them in your browser and then click on them daily.  BUT, there IS a simpler way. 

It is possible to use a Feed Reader to check your blogs daily and inform you when something new has been added.  There are many of these feed readers, but to make it simple, I am going to suggest using the Feedly Chrome Extension.

Here is a short video on how to install Feedly Tutorial.*
 
* I am recommending using Chrome as a standard - for simplicity sake.

Once you have added Feedly, add at least the four blogs that you have decided to follow.

Getting Into the Blog-o-sphere

You have already entered the blog-o-sphere by beginning to follow some bloggers.  What did you learn?  What comments did you leave on the bloggers' postings?  Did you get any responses back from anyone? 

Now that you have reviewed the postings of accomplished bloggers, what do you think?  Was it useful? How could you make blogging useful to you?

It is time for you to create your own blog-o-sphere identity. You will begin by creating a blog and then begin to share your ideas, experiences and resources. In the past we have said that blogging involves Reading, Commenting, and Writing/Creating.  You have already had the opportunity to read and comment.  Let's hope that you continue with this enthusiasm as you embark on your blog writing/creating experience.

Writing/Creating a Blog

Writing is the key to it all. This is where you can share your ideas with world. It is where you have to confront your thoughts. I once had a professor (Dr. David Moursund) who told me that he didn't know how he felt about a topic until he had written about it. Writing requires you to organize your ideas so that you can express them in a clear and cogent manner.

First thing you must do is create a blog. Do you already have a blog?  If so, review these steps and then move on. The easiest blog to create is in Blogger.  Some of you have created blogs using other tools like WordPress or Kidblog.

WordPress: A powerful blogging tool that is used by many of the leading bloggers.  I know of a number of them who have even moved their Blogger blogs over to WordPress because of the additional advantages.  If you are interested in continuing your blogging after this class, you may want to open a blog on WordPress.


Kidblog: If you haven't heard of Kidblog, you might consider it for your students.  It has many advantages
  • It is easy to use. 
  • Each student has his/her own blog.
  • All of the student posts can be directed to appear in the class blog. 
  • All postings and comments can be moderated by the teacher
There are probably many other pros and cons for KidBlog so if you have experience using it or like to explore new software, please inform all of us about what you find.

Here is a 5-minute video by Adam Bellow on How to Use KidBlog.  They allow you to have one free active blog.  If you want more, it will cost you $5/month.

How to Start a Blog
I have written many instructions on how to begin a blog but I just found an extraordinary blog posting that Tells It All.  This posting, How to Start a Blog Today, by Scott Chow is an easy to understand simple step-by-step tutorial.  I must warn you that he has written this to market the BlueHost website, but it is possible to do all of this for free using Blogger, WordPress, KidBlog or any other blogging system you find useful.

  • If you don't have a blog, decide on a blogging system that you would like to use and then follow Scott's steps. 

  • If you DO have a blog, read through Scott's steps and see how it might step up your game.  I know that it gave me a couple of good ideas.

    REMEMBER!!!  Blogging is PUBLIC!! It is NOT in an enclosed eLearning discussion group that ONLY you, your classmates and Dr. Z will read.  It is in the public. All of your classmates will be reading it. People in the public may read it.  DON'T write it like you are answering writing prompts on a test.  Write it in a manner that will interest your colleagues.  

    You will find the ACTUAL ASSIGNMENTS on the eLearning Website.


    What to Write?  Sometimes it's tough to find what to write.  The MOST important part of blogging is to be PASSIONATE about what you write.  Here is a collaborative list of ideas for writing prompts.  Look there for inspiration but share your own ideas and sources for inspiration as well.

    Once you have an idea, here are some hints for making effective postings.  You may have found some other ideas about what makes a posting interesting.
    • Begin with an active title. (i.e., Making Your Blog Postings More Interesting; 5 Ways to Extend Your Summer Vacation; How Blogs Changed the Writing Process in my 10th Grade English Class; or ????)
    • Include an image or photo of some sort.  You can find a wealth of photos you can use (as long as you cite them as I have done below) at Flickr/CreativeCommons  (www.flickr.com/creativecommons)
    • Always include at least 2 links to something relevant on the web. This means that when you discuss the Dr. Z Reflects and Clif's Notes blogs, you must have links to those websites so that your reader can examine them.  It is similar to the APA citations you have to do in your research papers, only it is MUCH easier to include. Include links to your classmates' postings.  Build community.
    • Your postings must have depth and that is more than can be captured on the single page.  Writing a post can be a small research project that will provide readers a deeper understanding of the topic.  This depth is provided by the additional links you provide your readers.
    • End your postings with questions to elicit responses from your readers.
    Here are some blog postings on how/why to create good blog postings.
      So how do you see yourself using blogs in your future teaching/training careers?

      Vlogging Challenge


      If you are interested in taking the challenge, explore this posting, How to Create a Free Video Blog (or "Vlog") by Gretchen Siegchrist.  Don't think that she is a certified teacher, but she provides a series of steps with a plethora of resources.  Spend some time and challenge yourself to take the next step.

      The only tricky part in inserting a video into your blog is EMBEDDING it so that it will play like my video above.  The easiest way to do this is to upload it to YouTube and they will then give you the HTML code that you would insert into the HTML code of your blog posting.  If this sounds like GREEK to you, then ask a friend (or classmate) or search on the web or ask Dr. Z.


      Let's Hear from You!!

      Respond to this experience in Blogging.  Insert Comments below to add your ideas and suggestions.  Make this a 2-way process.  You won't be graded for your comments but this is a wonderful way to build our community. 
      • How do you use blogs?  
      • Which blogs to you like to follow?  
      • What suggestions do you have for using blogs in an educational situation? 
      • Have you already posted this on your blog?  Insert a link to your blog so we can read it and learn more about you.


      Thursday, August 24, 2017

      Module #1 - The Introduction


      Welcome to your RWLD.  
      The RWLD is a resource page that includes an assortment of Readings, Watchings, Listenings, and Doings. This multimedia approach is designed to improve the learning experience in multiple ways:
      • Z-Generation students (ages 9 - 23) think best using multiple forms of input. The RWLD approach provides a variety of forms of information.
      • Even older learners enjoy differing ways to absorb information. RWLDs address differentiated learning needs as well.
      Your assignments will be found in the eLearning website.  They may be mentioned in the RWLD, but the real instructions are on each of the assignment sheets.

      Toss the Textbook!
      About 9 years ago, I decided that textbooks were enough for our students. Our students are in the Multimedia Generation. These Millennials spend most of their waking hours Reading, Watching, Listening to, and Doing multimedia. This means that their brains are wired to acquire and assimilate information through multiple forms of media but most of our teachers still use paper textbooks.

      The challenge was how to provide recent and relevant materials for my classes.  I needed a system that was easy to create, easy to use and easy to update. I wanted a tool that would allow me to release pages of resources on predetermined days. Did I mention, that I wanted it to be easy?

      Blogger was my answer. It was simple . . . It was free . . . and I knew how to use it.  It would also provide an easy RSS feed for students to capture their assignment Certainly, there are other more sophisticated blogs and website design tools, but Blogger made the job that much easier.

      I realized that there are basically 4 types of activities in learning.  These activities include Reading, Watching, Listening and Doing. What I needed to do was to create a tool that would allow for students to access all of these types of resources.

      . . . and so the RWLD was born . . .

      Consider how this might work with your future teaching and working. How could you use an RWLD (or similar system) to provide your students with a resource center for learning, exploring, and creating ideas? Review this Toss Your Textbooks page along with the sample RWLDs used in various classes and three resource pages at the bottom of the document.

      Generate some innovative ideas of how you could/would use RWLDs in your present and future lives. Based upon the results of your Learning Survey and your knowledge of how you like to learn, generate ideas for what the optimal RWLD would include for you. This will be the basis for our in-class discussion for next Tuesday.

      photo:flickr.com/GypsyFae