A Journey Through Technology

Week 8 Reflection

This week we looked at the story and mechanics behind gamification. Since we started this class, I’ve been thinking about how I would gamify my classroom, and I was so anxious about coming up with something I could actually use. As I taught my classes, I tried to think of ways I could incorporate gamification with my current lessons and activities, and kept concluding that this process was going to be long and difficult. I was sure I was going to fail in any attempt. However, a couple of weeks ago, I was struck with inspiration. I started coming up with so many concepts I could link together to gamify my chemistry classroom. Things started to fall into place! The readings this week helped in my process, because now I have a solid idea of my story, and the aspects that will be most useful in the gamification process, and also an idea of which game mechanics I am going to start with, and others I will play around with to potentially add in the future.

This week I read Theresa’s blog and Matt’s blog. Theresa shared something from Matera about using leaderboards without student names on them. This was something that I was concerned about because I don’t want students to feel bad if they are at the bottom. Matt mentioned how overwhelmed he felt when he read about all of the possible game mechanics, and I felt the exact same way. For some reason, when I first read through the chapters this week, I felt like I have to include everything for this to work well, and I was getting less excited about working on this. I had to stop myself and realize that starting with one or two would be perfect for right now, and over time I could try adding the different parts.

This week was exciting for me because I got to think even more about how I could gamify not only my chemistry class, but also my forensics class, and I feel like each week I am getting one step closer to having a usable game for my classroom. I’m looking forward to what the next few weeks have in store for my gamification plan.

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Week 8: Which aspects of story and game mechanics will be useful in your class and how might you use them?

This week I read through Chapters 6 & 7 in Matera’s Explore Like a Pirate. As I’ve been thinking more about how I will gamify my classes, mainly Chemistry and Forensics, I’ve been toying with the story for my game, and the different mechanics and how they might work in both of my classes. The story of my game is the first thing I wanted to get worked out before moving too far in my gamification journey. “Choosing a theme is the first step in gamification and will set the tone for the lesson, unit, or even the year ahead.” (Matera, 2015, Kindle location 1014) For my chemistry class, I have been working on a story that deals with futuristic space travel for the purpose of saving Earth. The setting, “where all parts of the story come together”(Matera, 2015, Kindle location 1029), will be a space shuttle that carries students to different planets throughout the year. As I work on my story, I’m sure other aspects will fall into place, but in addition to the story, I also need to figure out which mechanics I will use.

Matera says that, “These mechanics work together to build a custom experience that, when combined, lead to memorable moments in your class.” (Matera, 2015, Kindle location 1172) Matera also says that the goal of a good game designer is to “provide a rich game world that includes something for everyone.” (Matera, 2015, Kindle location 1187).

The first game mechanic that Matera mentions is Experience Points (XP). “In most games, experience points act as a measure of how well the player has mastered the game.” (Experience Points and Gamified Learning, 2016) Matera (2015) describes XP as a way of measuring the progress is making through a role-playing game. This is one game mechanic I plan on using in my classroom, and it fits nicely with the next mechanic Matera mentions, Levels. It’s important to note that Matera states that it is worthless to use XP or Levels alone, however they work quite well together.

“Levels indicate a player’s position or rank. A level can also refer to a player’s current stage in the game.” (Matera, 2015, Kindle location 1225) In conjunction with XP, I plan on having students earn levels to track their progress through the game. At this point, I am thinking of a military level scheme, to go with my storyline, and the goal for students is to make to the highest rank by the end of the game/school year. Another advantage to using levels is “With levels, your learners can easily see their current progress and what they need to do to progress.” (10 Game Mechanics You Should Know About, n.d.) To show students their progress, I also plan on using Leaderboards.

“Leaderboards show the standings for players or groups and can report both their local and global rank.” (Matera, 2015, Kindle location 1258) Using a leaderboard will allow be to show students’ rankings within their own class period, and also with all classes together. I also plan on ranking the groups within each class period, and comparing all groups together. “As soon as you show everybody where they rank against each other, a curious thing happens – their engagement levels go through the roof!” (10 Game Mechanics You Should Know About, n.d.) I am hoping that by showing students where they rank compared to each other, they will become motivated to do better in class.

Guilds are another mechanic that Matera mentions, and I am thinking about using this idea as well. A guild is essentially a grouping of students that provides an opportunity for students to collaborate and work together occasionally within the game. I am considering the terms “unit” or “battalion”, as they fit with the military-rank theme I am working with right now. There are a variety of ways the groups can be organized, and I would probably reorganize the groups 4 times per year, or once per quarter.

There are so many game mechanics that can be used to gamify a classroom, and I am sure I will be using more than these three as my gamification plan evolves over time. I don’t want to get too overwhelmed to start, so these three mechanics will be my main focus for the initial implementation of my gamified classroom.

References

10 Game Mechanics You Should Know About. (n.d.) Retrieved October 26, 2016, from http://www.growthengineering.co.uk/how-to-boost-learner-engagement-using-game-mechanics/

Experience Points and Gamified Learning: A practical guide. (2016). Retrieved October 26, 2016, from http://www.growthengineering.co.uk/experience-points-and-gamified-learning/

Matera, M. (2015). Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, enrich, and elevate your learners with gamification and game-inspired course design [Kindle Edition].

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Week 7 Reflection

This week the focus was on the language of learning. Based on the Matera reading and my own research, I found this is very well summarized by Purpose Driven Learning. I think that by using the ten Purpose Driven Learning traits in the classroom regularly, I can help my students shift their focus from just getting a grade, to wanting to actually learn something. I plan on making those ten traits an active part of my classroom as I work on shifting my classroom to a more student-centered environment.

I read Ali’s blog and Heather’s blog this week. Ali shared that it will be difficult for her to transition to having less emphasis on grades in the classroom because of district requirements. I also have this issue, as my district requires to grades to be entered into the electronic gradebook each week. I think that until there is a fundamental change in education across the country, we will continue to encounter this issue.

Heather shared a quote about the way that teachers hand out assignments and how changing that can aid in gamification. If we add more mystery to our assignments and are more explicit when we assignment, we can get students more engaged in our classrooms, and hopefully helping them in how they learn.

I became very excited this week about the possibility of gamifying my classroom. At beginning of the semester, I was very anxious about how I could go about gamifying a chemistry classroom, as there are few examples I have found in my research. I had a bit of a light-bulb moment this weekend, and think I have a pretty solid outline of what my gamified classroom is going to look like. I still have a lot of details to work out, but I feel like I am much more comfortable with the process. This week’s question has helped because I can start using Purpose Driven Learning language in my classes right now, which should help prep my students for our new journey, which I’m hoping we can start at the beginning of second semester. This next week should help me with some of the smaller details, and the weeks after will hopefully help even more.

 

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Week 7: How do you or might you use language to change the way that your students think about learning in the classroom?

In his book Explore Like a Pirate, Matera (2015) shares his experiences with the gamification of his classroom and how it has impacted the learning of his students. “The more I gamified my course, the more I saw a need to change the language of learning.” (Matera, 2015, Kindle Location 608) As we move towards the “New World” of learning which we discussed a few weeks ago, there needs to be a change in the language that we use with our students in the classroom. By language, I don’t mean English vs. Spanish, or using proper grammar, but the types of words we use to describe the way our students should be learning in the classroom. This language of learning is a common theme for many educators today.

In the foreword to her book The Language of Learning: Teaching Students Core Thinking, Listening, and Speaking SkillsMargaret Berry Wilson says “We may, at times, assume that students will somehow access and naturally develop fluency in the language of learning and therefore won’t need us to name it, much less teach it.” (Wilson, 2014) She goes on to say that students do not automatically know this language and that teachers need to be deliberate about teaching this language to their students.

Adam Moreno asks the question, “What do you want your students to learn in your classroom?” (Moreno, 2015) He talks about not remembering much of anything about content from his K-12 education, but has solid memory of “the resilience needed to build a marble rollercoaster and a Popsicle stick bridge in Physics. I recall the confidence needed to get up in front of the entire high school to give my Student Council election speech.” He does not discount the importance of content, but instead suggests that content should not be the main purpose of education. Through his “Keys of Purpose Driven Learning”, Moreno describes “skills that will help our students succeed in our classrooms, will support them throughout their schooling, and will last long after they have graduated!”

Purpose Driven Learning encompasses ten qualities of successful people applied to education. These ten qualities are: Confidence, Creativity, Enthusiasm, Effort, Focus, Resilience, Initiative, Curiosity, Dependability, and Empathy. (Moreno, 2015) By putting emphasis on these traits in the classroom, we can shift the focus of learning from just content to helping our students become successful far beyond the reaches of our classroom. Matera mentions posting the ten traits of Purpose Driven Learning in his classroom and refers to them daily, in a variety of applications. (Matera, 2015, Kindle Location 631)

I want to make the ten traits of Purpose Driven Learning a main focus of my class to help my students embrace the student-centered nature of a gamified classroom. If we want students to accept a new way of learning, then we need to teach them the language of that learning. We can’t expect students to automatically know the learning language that we, as teachers, are just becoming more comfortable with. If students can be exposed to this new language by a variety of their teachers, we can enact a shift towards a better learning environment for all of our students, that they will become more comfortable with each new school year.

References

Matera, M. (2015). Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, enrich, and elevate your learners with gamification and game-inspired course design [Kindle Edition (Locations 615, )].

Moreno, A. (2015, February 3). Purpose Driven Learning — Adam Moreno. Retrieved October 20, 2016, from http://www.mrmoreno.com/blog/purpose-driven-learning

Wilson, M. B. (2014, March 4). The Language of Learning (Foreword) | Responsive Classroom. Retrieved October 20, 2016, from https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/the-language-of-learning-foreword/

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Week 6 Reflection

This week was about player or gamer types. I started the week by taking a player type quiz in which I scored as the Explorer type. This means I like to explore areas and find new things, which fits very well with the way I play video games in real life. I’ve been doing a lot of searching online this week for ideas of ways I can start gamifying my classroom, and I’m getting very excited to try this out sooner rather than later.

I commented on Sara and Theresa’s blogs this week. Sara discussed the possibility of students having overlap in their player types, or not strictly being one type, which I think is a very real issue that we will have to deal with. This means we will need to try and reach all player types as much as possible when we design our gamification. Theresa explained the four Bartle player types and I found it interesting that the griefer or killer types don’t mind being wrong. This is a trait that I think many students are lacking, and it would be beneficial for the griefers to help other students feel more comfortable with being wrong.

All in all I felt this was a positive week. I am feeling more comfortable with gamification each week, and am looking forward to designing my first gamification unit. I also spent some time playinb with a Google Cardboard this week and am trying to figure out how to use it in at least one of my classes. I’m also getting excited to start working with my group for Aurasma because the more I look into this and play around, the more potential I’m finding for using it in the classroom. 

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Week 6: What is the implication of player type on game design?

This week we are looking at player type and the implication that it has on game design. According to the Bartle (1996), there are four different types of game players: Explorers, Achievers, Socializers, and Killers. Each of these player types has a list of traits that are associated with them. Bartle explains them as by using the suits for cards. Achievers are the diamonds because they like to search for treasure, Explorers are the spades because they dig through the game to find new things, Socializers are the hearts because they like to relate to other players, and Killers are the clubs because that is the weapon. (Bartle, 1996) Marczewski (2015) adds two additional player types, Disruptor and Player, to the mix. He explains Players as those who are in it just for the rewards and only for themselves. The Disruptors want to disrupt the gameplay of others, either in a positive or negative way. (Marczewski, 2015)

The first thing I did this week was to take a quiz to find my player type, which ended up being “The Innovator”. The full results of the test are below, including a link to the quiz. According to this quiz, I am 61% Innovator, which falls into the Explorer category from the Bartle classification. The test also categorized me as 44% “Strategist”, which fits the criteria for Achiever. I find these results to be quite accurate for myself as a gamer. I enjoy games that have exploration and achievements built in, and focus on that much more than the other two player types, killer and socializer. It is typical when taking a player type test to display traits of all player types, though usually one is much stronger than the others.

But what does player type have to do with how we gamify our classrooms? Kiang (2016) looks at the four player types and how they would behave in a classroom gaming situation. He explains Explorers as the students whose achievement is learning new knowledge, “those who value knowledge for knowledge’s sake.” He goes on to say that these are often the students who will do all of the work for a big project and then forget to turn it in because the grade isn’t as important to them as the information they learned in the project. The Achievers are the students who focus on badges, trophies, and achievements. “They are often very motivated to “beat the game” and move on.” Socializers make it a goal to make meaningful connections with other students in class. “The game is simply a backdrop for the chatting and interactions that are the true draw.” And, last but not least, are the Killers. “In the classroom, those students often are the first ones to see if they can “hack” the system, and are often willfully oblivious to the consequences to the community.” These students are usually risk-takers and don’t mind being wrong. (Kiang, 2016) By keeping these four player types in mind while designing classroom gamification, we can hopefully make an environment that is appealing to all of our students.

Even though there are so many traits to think about, creating a game that will appeal to all students doesn’t need to be overly complicated “Create a system that appeals to the four basic intrinsic motivations and user types. Make it social, make it meaningful and give people some freedom. Then, integrate a well thought out reward system (points, badges etc.).” (Marczewski, 2015) The way players are grouped can also affect they gamification system. If you group all of the Explorers together, all of the Achievers, etc, you can give each group a job that fits with their traits. You can also form groups with one of each player type, which allows student to appreciate each others’ strengths and keep the group focused on the task at hand. (Kiang, 2016)

Through my research this week, I see that it is important to identify the player types of my students so I can design a gamification experience that best fits the needs of my class. It is possible that two different class periods could have two completely different gamification experiences, based solely on the differences in player-type makeup.

References

Bartle, R. (1996, April). HEARTS, CLUBS, DIAMONDS, SPADES: PLAYERS WHO SUIT MUDS. Retrieved October 10, 2016, from http://mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm

Gamification features for all types of game player. (2015). Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://www.growthengineering.co.uk/why-your-gamification-features-need-to-be-suitable-for-all-types-of-game-player/

Kiang, D. (2016). Use the Four Gamer Types to Help Your Students Collaborate – from Douglas Kiang on Edudemic – EdTechTeacher. Retrieved October 11, 2016, from http://edtechteacher.org/use-the-four-gamer-types-to-help-your-students-collaborate-from-douglas-kiang-on-edudemic/

Marczewski, A. (2015). User Types. In Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Gamification, Game Thinking and Motivational Design (1st ed., pp. 65-80). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Your result for The Four Player Types Test…

The Innovator

39% Ace, 22% Effector, 61% Innovator and 44% Strategist!

Innovators are players that like to “seek”, be it seeking new places, new inventions, new skills, new knowledge, and the like. Innovators are self-oriented in that their focus lies largely on their individual experience and what that experience can do for them as players. While this might make Innovators sound selfish, many Innovators enjoy working with other players and using their skills to benefit a group. However, the group interaction is not the end-all and be-all of game play for the Innovator, and it’s absence from a game is not as detrimental to the Innovator’s enjoyment as it would be to an Effector or a Strategist.
Innovators are often investigators: they are drawn to a game because of the appeal of discovery, be it the discovery of new places, new possibilities, or even uncovering plots and unraveling riddles. Innovators enjoy learning for their own sake, whether or not their knowledge might benefit a group, and sometimes might be reluctant to share what they’ve found with others under the attitude of “go find it yourself”. They are not generally hoarders, however, and are usually excited to share their passions and discoveries with others if given the opportunity. On the field, most Innovators are to some degree mildly active players, and tend to take positions that allow them to use their knowledge and skills to make sharp attacks rather than prolonged straight-on combat.

Take The Four Player Types Test at HelloQuizzy

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Week 5 Reflection

I am feeling very positive about this week. The research I found on old vs. new world teaching was very much in support of Matera’s claims. This research is helping me change the way I’m running my classroom, and I feel very encouraged about continuing with my facilitator role as a teacher instead of a traditional knowledge-delivery role. Already this year I think my students are enjoying my class more because they are a lot more involved than students have been in the past.

This week I posted on Heather’s blog. She shared a good quote from Matera about teachers needing to inspire their students to be self-motivated to learn, and I think this really is the key to getting students more engaged and learning better in the classroom.

I also posted on Larissa’s blog. She wrote about teacher’s become facilitators in the classroom and students becoming active participants in their education so they can take ownership. Her post really resonated with me because I am making an active effort to change my classroom to a more active learning environment and try to be more of a facilitator instead of a lecturer.

I am looking forward to next week, and hopefully getting together with my Aurasma group to start working on our presentation. I just received my classroom set of Google Cardboard last week, so I’m also looking forward to playing around with that this week.

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Week 5:What research can support or refute Matera’s claims about the new world of teaching?

There is no denying that education has changed throughout the years. I graduated from high school in 2005, and so much has changed in classrooms in only 11 years. I remember teachers mainly lecturing to us, taking a lot of notes, and then taking mainly multiple choice tests to show content mastery. However, new research suggests that students perform better in a student-centered, active learning environment rather than the traditional teacher-centered classroom. “The New World in education requires us to look past the old ways and create more dynamic learning environments and methods of teaching.” (Matera, 2015, Kindle location 493)

In “Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, Enrich, and Elevate Your Learners”, Matera shares the some aspects of education that fit in the “Old World” education style such as traditional teaching methods, controlling student choice, making students “automatons of knowledge”, and that students are “[p]assive receivers of content”. (Matera, 2015, Kindle location 493) To me, these are all common characteristics of traditional teacher-centered classrooms where students are not active participants in the learning process, but instead simply receive and then repeat information. According to Hettler (2015), “…the relatively passive learning environment of the lecture was the dominant form of pedagogy…for hundreds of years.” (Hettler, 2015, p.357)

In comparison, Matera’s “New World” classroom includes ideas such a student choice and flexibility, “[n]ew and innovative ways to connect and inspire students”, creating independent thinkers, and allowing students to gain a “[s]ense of wanderlust, spirit, and passion. But how do we achieve this “New World” classroom? Bonwell & Eison (1991) share five classroom strategies that contribute to active learning for students:

  • Students are involved in more than listening.
  • Less emphasis is placed on transmitting information and more on developing students’ skills.
  • Students are involved in higher-order thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation).
  • Students are engaged in activities (e.g., reading, discussing, writing).
  • Greater emphasis is placed on students’ exploration of their own attitudes and values.

Another method of teaching that could help us move from the “Old World” to the “New World” is the use of problem-based learning. According to Dole, Bloom, & Kowalske (2016), problem-based learning offers student choice, allows for deeper learning, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and an increase their motivation. These are all aspects of an active learning classroom, and fit nicely into the “New World” classroom as suggested by Matera.

Student-centered learning as explained by Lee and Hannafin (2016) also offers a means for transitioning to the “New World” classroom, by using their design framework titled “Own it, Learn it, Share it.” (Lee and Hannafin, 2016, p.707) This framework has three parts to it:

a. Students develop ownership of the learning process and achieve personally meaningful learning goals

b. Students learn autonomously through metacognitive, procedural, conceptual, and strategic scaffolding

c. students generate artifacts aimed at authentic audiences beyond the classroom assessment.

Matera’s explaination of the “New World” classroom is well supported by a variety of current research, and I think that more teachers will begin to shift their classrooms from the “Old World” to the “New World” as they try to find the best ways to engage and educate their students.

References

Bonwell, Charles C., and James A. Eison. (1991). Active Learning; Creating Excitement in the Classroom. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development

Dole, S., Bloom, L., & Kowalske, K. (2015). Transforming Pedagogy: Changing Perspectives from Teacher-Centered to Learner-Centered. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 10(1). doi:10.7771/1541-5015.1538

Hettler, P. L. (2015). Active Learning in Economics: Increasing Student Engagement, Excitement and Success. Int Adv Econ Res International Advances in Economic Research, 21(4), 357-360. doi:10.1007/s11294-015-9548-6

Lee, E., & Hannafin, M. J. (2016). A design framework for enhancing engagement in student-centered learning: Own it, learn it, and share it. Education Tech Research Dev Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 707-734. doi:10.1007/s11423-015-9422-5

Matera, M. (2015). Explore like a pirate: Engage, enrich, and elevate your learners with gamification and game-inspired course design [Kindle Edition (Location 493, 525, 548)].

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Week 4 Reflection

So many good things happened this week. I really enjoyed watching Katie’s presentation about how she gamifies her classroom, and was very intrigued about using Google Cardboard in my classroom. I talked with my principal and was able to order a class set of cardboard VR headsets. I am so excited for them to come in so I can try using them. My principal also asked me to make a presentation to the rest of the staff on how to use them, which I think is really going to help me become more well versed in them. My husband and I also received a Samsung VR headset that I’m looking forward to testing out as well. So much VR in one week!

This week I read Anthony and Mariah’s blogs and commented on them. Anthony talked about his personal experiences with VR and shared a VR resource called Nearpod. Even though it’s a paid resource, I’m looking forward to checking it out. There are so many VR apps and resources out there, now the trick is trying to sift through them all to find the ones that will work in my classroom.

Mariah talked about using Google Cardboard in a foreign language class which sounds like an amazing use of VR in the classroom. I liked the resource Mariah shared that talked about how excited students get when they use Google Cardboard in the classroom. I hope my students also get excited about using Google Cardboard or similar VR in my classroom.

I think VR is going to become a wonderful tool that I will be able to use in my classroom, whether I use it with gamification or not. I am still interested in having a gamified classroom, but I think when I first try using VR it will be in a non-gamified setting. Now I need to start finding some good chemistry VR!

 

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