Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gaming in education

Today I attended a seminar at Penn State about gaming in the classroom. This was presented by Chris Stubbs.
  • Games can integrate and add value to lessons.
  • All games can be use in education

What is a game like element?
  • needs  to be compelling
  • can be used to alter motivation
  • piece of a game that adds something to it
  • objectives - can be overall objective, can be spelled out or subtle embedded within a game
  • scaffolding - gives a player enough information to play, but not so much that it keeps them from playing. (WOW- great example), constantly reuse skills or topics learned and reflect, start off easy, use it!
  • expression and progression - progression bars, meters, fill up bars, level up
  • feedback - sound cues, grades, meters, numerical, fail or “die”, progress, success
  • competition
  • achievements  - badges, developer creator goals, objectives of the game (mini quests), about feedback, accomplishment, positive reinforcement, allow for reflection, shareable and social
  • narrative - gives background information, gives context, story telling
  • role play
  • choice - character, reactions, gives ownership to players
  • fixed rewards
  • interval rewards
  • lottery
  • modifiers
  • ownership
  • status
  • ranking

Gamification  - takes pieces of games to make it more compelling (improve engagaement or change behavior) - takes these elements and use in different contexts

How can we use these elements in the classroom?
  • Attendance
    • Extra credit ball - 4 x a semester a ball is tossed out (inside the ball are numbers) the ball gets tossed out into the crowd a student picks a number, whatever number is pulled, that's the number of extra credit points is given that day to students.
    • A code is embedded in a presentation to unlock quizzes or extra credit points given to students who attend class
  • Experience and meters
    • Start out with an F in course, each item handed in then meter goes up, shows progression throughout course
  • Give objectives that are clear (a rubric)
  • Blogs - start a leader board (based on comments) - bring your A game to a blog post

  • extrinsic motivation
  • competition doesn’t work for everyone
  • over justification effect - constant feedback etc. ask to do without an extrinsic reward - the motivation is at times lost
  • privacy - use systems that are not all about grades, most items are not required

Examples of frameworks that already have this to import into your class:

Sam's Super Diigo Finds! 10/27/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest post - Elaine Hirsch - iOS vs. Office

 This week's blog post was created by Elaine Hirsch. Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history, to medicine and video games. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead.
Productivity Programs: iOS vs. Office

     Microsoft Office is the desktop productivity suite familiar to users from elementary school to online PhD programs and used on a daily basis for word processing, spreadsheets, and preparing presentations. However, what happens when you need to make a few edits on the go? Thankfully, Office isn't without competition, and Apple has you covered with apps that perform the same functions as Office on your iOS devices.Word Processing

     One of the best programs available for iOS is the Pages app, which was recently made available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The document editor offers the ability to change settings for just about anything, including text weight, height, headers, and even editing tables on the fly.

     While it may seem like a hassle to perform these tasks on a small mobile touchscreen, Pages' interface is rather intuitive, so you quickly get used to editing and performing the functions you're used to doing in Microsoft Word. What makes Pages so great to use even on the iPhone is the smart zoom feature, which zooms in on the part of the document you're editing, then zooms out when you're finished so you get a good overview of everything.

The only downside is Pages currently has no syncing options, not even with Apple's new iCloud service. Dropbox support would be nice, but without syncing, files have to be moved manually to the phone using iTunes which can be a hassle.

     Microsoft PowerPoint has long been the default tool for creating presentations, and Apple has tried to mimic and surpass it by making Keynote available for mobile devices. While Keynote does get a lot of things right in terms of being able to create elements from scratch, one problem that does pop up with the iOS version is importing presentations. Images can only be selected from their respective photo albums, and adding audio has to be done by importing a presentation with audio attached, then pasting the audio where you'd like it to go within your presentation.

     For all of its problems, Keynote is a decent presentation editor for people on the go, but the lack of features designed for importing make it an impractical choice for users who want to begin a presentation on their desktops and move to their mobile devices. Microsoft's importing feature goes off without a hitch, and the ability to get started quickly probably makes it a superior program even in the face of Keynote's mobility.

     Although Numbers can now import Excel files, it still fares far worse in our comparison, as
several major design flaws make it nearly impossible to use as a day-to-day spreadsheet editor. The biggest problem is simply that Numbers doesn't support landscape orientation on the iPhone, thus making it very hard to edit spreadsheets with any efficiency. Thankfully the iPad interface is much better, as it supports landscape orientation by default and sports a dedicated undo button instead of the iPhone's annoying shake-to-undo gimmick.

     In terms of how it performs against Microsoft Excel, the editing functions are similar and anyone familiar with one should be able to use the other without issue. Thankfully Numbers does support integration with iCloud, so you can instantly synch spreadsheets on all your devices.

     Overall, Apple's productivity apps are undeniably better than Microsoft Office when it comes to their mobility. However, they're lacking in important areas such as the ability to edit in both landscape and portrait orientations, and in terms of easily importing and synching files. Perhaps with the exception of dedicated iPad users, it's hard to imagine anybody using the iOS productivity suite as a complete alternative to Office. It may not be long, though, before Apple fixes these usability issues and stands a real chance of eclipsing Microsoft's long dominant workhorse software.

Sam's Super Diigo Finds! 10/21/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy and Haunting Halloween activities

     Looking for some happy and haunting halloween activities to do with your students?  

     One of my favorite activities to do with my students was  jibjab. Jibjab has great halloween videos that your students can star in! I used this Math, I had student count money to watch the movie. They had to count out money to get their picture taken, to get their picture in the video, to buy a ticket to watch the video, popcorn, juice. Students really enjoyed watching themselves do silly dances, but they really enjoyed putting their teachers or principal in the video. 

     Here is a list of some great ghoulish games:
'Pumpkin Lovin Kitties 626' photo (c) 2009, Alisha Vargas - license:

Halloween safety - Play this halloween safety game, first go over the rules then play the game.

18 educational apps - Here is a great list of apps that are educational and have a halloween theme!

Frankenpup - cute text to speech tool just in time for the halloween season

Be witching cat cute text to speech tool just in time for the halloween season

Halloween hide and seek - Halloween hide and seek Disney game 

Things that go bump in the night - Interactive halloween e-card watch it turn from day to night. Great for cause and effect on the Interactive whiteboard

Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Patch! Touch the things in the pumpkin patch and watch them do, well, something! 

Halloween card maker - Choose the hallloween theme and make a great card to print and share. Great activity to do with switches.

Pumpkin puzzle - Interactive pumpkin puzzle

Cyberhaunt’s Virtual Pumpkin Carving Use a cute pumpkin pattern and carve your pumpkin's face. 

Pick a Pumpkin to Carve Carve a pumpkin with a click and drag type feature.


Happy Halloween!

For more bewitching games with a spooky Halloween theme please visit Wednesday's with Sam

Perfect Pumpkin games click here 

Sam's Super Diigo Finds! 10/20/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sam's Super Diigo Finds! 10/18/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sam's Super Diigo Finds! 10/16/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.