Gamification in Education

What is Gamification?

It is the application of gaming mechanics to non-game situations. Overall, it is to look at what makes games motivating and interesting and see how, as a teacher, you can apply this to the classroom. One way to help teachers to understand this, is to play games themselves. While you are playing the game, you should consider what aspects of the game are designed to motivate the player.

How Gamification Works

Gamification has a low risk of failure. This means that if a player is not successful, they have the chance to try again. This makes the player willing to take risks and try new things with minimal direction. Imagine this in a classroom! We can encourage our students to try. Gamification also provides immediate feedback. This means the players immediately know if they are successful, and they can use this to guide and direct their paths, and then try again if needed.

How to Add Gamification to Your Curriculum

Start with small steps. An example of this is to use badges and points versus grades. Students will apply this to a game, and it can create more motivation. Teachers can also send their students on missions rather than assigning homework. They can gain points for these missions!

References:

http://shellyterrell.com/2014/04/15/gamify/

http://www.alicekeeler.com/teachertech/2014/01/20/getting-started-with-gamification/

http://www.wired.com/2014/10/video-game-literacy/

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Blog 4: Why do I want my classroom to function this way?

First of all, since I spoke about the Smart Board in my classroom, I would like you to understand more about why. You may have noticed that these Smart Boards have become quite a trend, and they are becoming increasingly popular in the classroom. One of the reasons for this, is that they can accommodate many different learning styles. If you have a child in your classroom that is a tactical learner, they can learn by physically touching the board, audio leaners can have discussions on the board, and visual learners can observe a variety of lessons being taught on the board as well (PLB, 2015). Along with the many different learning styles, I think a notable mention is the fact that the Smart Board has a certain aspect of cleanliness to it, and maintenance is much easier. As someone who has spent a great deal of my life being referred to as a “tree hugger”, I appreciate the going green aspect this provides my classroom with. A Smart Board can help to eliminate the need for writing, printing, and photocopying for your students (GBS, 2014). As a 21st Century teacher, I believe it is important to be able to help my students to safely interact and share information. When using a Smart Board, my students are provided with an interactive process and can participate in their own learning. When students participate in this interactive learning I am able to easily identify their strengths and areas that may need improvement (GBS, 2014). Overall, I am providing an interactive and engaging way to provide lessons to my students, and it is clear why the Smart Board is a part of my classroom.

So what about the iPads I have within my classroom? What are the benefits? One of the reasons is that, again, I can allow my students to take control of their own learning. The iPads provide my students with a touch-screen, and therefore allows them to be more interactive and engaged with the information (INKids, 2013). As a media literate teacher, I am aware of the fact that many schools will offer digital textbooks, which is a major way to not only save money, but to save the trees as well! I can even allow my students to do their homework on these iPads and post them to my online blog (which I will discuss further later). When you think of using an iPad, a lot of people will think of the apps that are readily available for these devices. There are many apps that assist children with cognitive learning problems such as Speak Auto-Text, White on Black, and Voiceover (INKids, 2013). This allows direct differentiation methods for students with disabilities. These are only a few examples of the long list of low cost, and readily available apps for use in the classroom. Overall, it is clear that many children are excited about new technology and this is another way that I can better connect with my students’ interests (INKids, 2013).

Finally, I would like to discuss with you why I have chosen to have a classroom blog. My grouped seating allows students to interact with each other in the classroom, and I love providing them with a way to interact outside of the classroom as well. One of the benefits to my classroom blog is that it helps to improve student literacy skills (Morris, 2011). Many writers that may be reluctant to write, feel excited and gain interest in blog writing. This gives me a direct way of providing my class with a sense of community. Along with the group seating, blogging requires teamwork and collaboration among my students (Morris, 2011). Finally, the most important function of classroom blogging for me, is that it helps with my students’ confidence. When a student knows that their work will be read by an audience, and particularly their classmates, they often do their best work. This helps all of the students to be able to support each other and to share their achievements (Morris, 2011). It is clear why I would like my classroom to include these technologies and to function this way…what about your classroom?

References:

GBS. (2014). The advantages of smart boards in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.governorsolutions.com/the-advantages-of-smart-boards-in-the-classroom/

InKids. (2013). 17 benefits of using ipads in the classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.inkids.com.au/2013/03/17-benefits-of-ipads-in-classrooms/

Morris, Kathleen. (2011). A reflection on the benefits of classroom blogging. Retrieved from http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/2011/01/17/a-reflection-on-the-benefits-of-blogging/

PLB. (2015). Using smartboards in the classroom. Retrieved from https://k12teacherstaffdevelopment.com/tlb/using-smart-boards-in-the-classroom/

Sandbox 3: Have you ever used iMovie? What an amazing tool for DS!

Do you have a story to tell? Did you take a recent trip? Why not try iMovie to share your digital story! You can use videos, pictures, and music to personalize your video and tell any story in a creative way. In case you have never used iMovie, I have posted some links that may be very helpful to you! Please follow through my screen recording demonstration of how to use iMovie, and then check out the video tutorials afterwards. The first youtube link below is my own video tutorial, enjoy 🙂

http://www.dreamsyncapp.com/2014/09/25/how-to-use-imovie-tutorials-for-beginners/

Blog 3: What would your classroom look like? How would it function? How is this different or similar to what you would commonly find?

Welcome to my classroom! Although in many ways it may appear as a regular classroom, this area provides many opportunities for critical thinking, and encourages media literacy in many ways. When you stand at the front of my classroom, you will see many different grouped tables, where can pay attention to what I am saying, and also share critical information with one another as well (during the appropriate and respectable times of course!). Since I would prefer to teach in a junior/intermediate classroom, I would like to have a few IPod’s available to share among groups as well. At the front of the classroom, you will see a smart board along with the regular projector screen. Not only will the Smart Board accommodate and intrigue many of the students, but this will allow my classroom a direct link to differentiated learning (BlossomLearning, 2014). This will benefit the learning styles of many different students, and can also benefit many special needs. There are numerous studies to show that a Smart Board can help students with hearing impairments, mobility limitations, dyslexia, reading comprehension, writing comprehension, ADHD, autism, and students learning English as a second language (BlossomLearning, 2014). Can you now understand why it is so important to me to have a Smart Board in my classroom? Please check out the Smart Boards clip below to see how they can benefit your classroom.  It is clear that we are moving towards a technological world, and many students are taking great interest in these advances. As a teacher, I have the ability to use the growing interest in technology and media to my advantage. Since my classroom would ideally be equipped with a Smart Board, iPads, and computers for the use of students, I will use all of these tools for video streaming important topics (a great Minds On), playing interactive learning games, analyzing social media, podcasts, and many collaborative exercises for group work (Wainright, 2015).

Our students are becoming increasingly digitally literate, so it is important that teachers encourage and understand this concept. As a teacher, I would also like to incorporate various Web 2.0 tools to encourage multiple learning experiences. This allows students to become more interactive with educational tools, and therefore, they can better understand to how to assess their own work and assist their peers (NWT Literacy Council, 2015). Our students will be entering a workforce where technological skills and collaboration are critical for success and job opportunities. One way I will be promoting student learning is with our class blog. Students will be asked to research many different subject areas, and to reflect and analyze the information they have received. The students will then be posting their responses to our online class blog, allowing them to share their information with others and express opinions as well. This also provides parents with a great opportunity to keep track of what their children are learning, and allows for children to be excited to share this information their parents/guardians. I believe these blogs will be beneficial to my students as they can be worked on almost any time that there is an internet connection, and as educators, we will have the ability to create a classroom that extends beyond the boundaries of the classroom (NWT Literacy Council, 2015). This allows students to take a great deal of control over their own learning. Please check out the link below to get a better understanding about the benefits of classroom blogs.

So although you may walk into my classroom and think it looks like your “average” learning environment, we are constantly pushing ourselves to become media literate individuals who are able to think critically and encourage students to enhance their learning. As Downes stated, “to teach is to model and demonstrate, to learn is to practice and reflect.” (Downes, 2012). Although some classrooms are still lacking many of these resources and education tools, hopefully there will be more public funding available to give all students equal opportunity.  I have only scraped the surface of the uses for technology in my classroom, and will need to explore this concept deeper to help you understand why I want my classroom to function this way…

Smart Boards:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U05WeXPGlk

Classroom Blogging:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfJETK3am1M

References:

BlossomLearning. (2014). Smart boards and special needs students. Retrieved from https://www.blossomlearning.com/showresource.aspx?rid=56

Downes, Stephen. (2012). Connectivism and connective knowledge. Retrieved from http://www.downes.ca/post/58207

NWT Literacy Council. (2015). Blogging in the classroom. Retrieved from http://en.copian.ca/library/learning/nwt/blogging/blogging.pdf

Wainright, Ashley. (2015). 7 fun ways to use technology in the classroom to enhance learning. Retrieved from http://www.securedgenetworks.com/strategy-blog/7-Fun-Ways-to-Use-Technology-in-the-classroom-to-enrich-learning

What is Visual Literacy?

Visual literacy can become a major part of your classroom. Imagine being a visual learner, and having a ton of resources available to you, to instruct a completely visual lesson. As a visual learner, I would have loved having more visual literacy implemented throughout my schooling. In order to do this, we need to first understand one key question…what is visual literacy? Being visually literate means that you can derive meaning from images. These images can include everything that we see! We need to be able to read and write visual language. As teachers, we need to be able to teach our student to analyze images for their message, understand images, examine media curriculum to connect visual literacy to teaching, review the framing and validity of the imagery, create unique visual displays using the Web 2.0 tools (mentioned in the previous blog), and explore the different tools available to them for creating visual stories (Blog Week 5). Now that we understand a bit more about visual literacy, we need to understand why it is important, and how we can make use of it as teachers. You may not even realize how often you are employing visual literacy strategies, as you could be doing this all the time. Therefore, we have the option do look deeper into visual literacy and apply it exciting ways. We can make learning fun! Although the curriculum stresses the idea of critical thinking, it does not stress enough how important visual literacy can be for this. Our students will all think and interpret things in different ways, and give different meanings to different images (Blog Week 5). In today’s classrooms, it is clear that there are broader literacy needs for our students. These are skills that we have the ability to teach our students in which go far beyond use in the classroom. Regardless of the path you choose in life, the career or job you accept, visual literacy can have vital importance (Toledo Museum of Art, n.d.). Understanding what we see can have a major impact on both our own lives, and the lives of others as well. So how can we teach visual literacy in the classroom? How can we make this concept truly beneficial to our students? Visual literacy can mean many different things ranging from film, dance, images, and maps (Toledo Museum of Art, n.d.). Our world is consumed with visuals and media, and we can use this to our advantage. Let’s be real, our students are pretty good at keeping up with new technologies and advancements, so we need to keep on top of things too! If these images and media devices are consuming our world, then our students need to understand how to critically analyze what is being presented to them. We can even use our own blogs to keep students up to date with the success requirements, and to encourage classroom discussions (Blog Week 5). Teachers can rely on technology to create higher order thinking, and advance the learning of their students, regardless of the grade. We are allowing our students to have deeper interaction with texts of all kinds. If students are using the technology and media tools, they also need to understand how to be smart and skeptical about them. Visual literacy is a critical life skill that can be used within all academic disciplines…so let’s get looking! Take a look at the following links to get you started.

Sources Used:

Media Literacy Blog Week 5. [Text]. Retrieved from http://mdl4000.weebly.com/week-five.html

Toledo Museum of Art. (n.d.). What is visual literacy. Retrieved from http://www.vislit.org/visual-literacy/

Visual Literacy and Art, (n.d.). Youtube Video. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Stc9EyGAOY

Visual Literacy Across the Curriculum. (2012). YouTube Video. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQNbAtK3c3g

What is a Digital Story? Let me show you!

References:

Alexander, Brian. 2014. Sad-Cow. Retrieved from http://www.westernfreepress.com/2012/11/23/here-comes-the-war-on-fun/sad-         cow/

Ahluwalia, Shanti. 2015. Kiwis might go off pork. http://safenewzealand.org/2014/04/15/kiwis-might-go-off-pork/