Looking for “epic wins” in the classroom, I think gaming, gamification, and game thinking are the way to go. After this week’s learning on the topic, I am more excited than ever to find ways to incorporate games into my classroom next year. As I head back into the classroom after being a TOSA for 4 years, and earning my Masters in Innovative Learning, I am feeling what I think Jane McGonigal would call “Urgent Optimism.”
Gabe Zichermann’s talk left an impression on me when he showed the picture of an older man reading a book, and said, “I don’t think today’s kids are ever going to do that.” Our world is too slow for them. Whether that’s true or not, our world is definitely not their world. As educators, we need to meet our students in their world. This is the moment I realized how important games are to today’s students, and how we need to at least try to speak their language, or else we are preparing them for a world that no longer exists.
Gabe’s last bit of advice before he signed off from his TED Talk: “Get into the game with them!” This requires knowing what games they are into--and I have no idea what second graders are playing these days! How will I find out? Perhaps I will develop a “User Profile” style beginning of the year getting-to-know-you questionnaire to find out what kinds of games they like and WHY. I could use this information to gamify my classroom and make things engaging for my students.
One specific topic on this week’s list of game-based learning especially caught my attention: Badges. I’ve heard of badges and earned a few on Moodle, but I’m not even close to being familiar enough to speak on it. But the more I read, the more questions I developed. I would click on an article, run a google search, click on more articles, YouTube videos, and more, and more. I’ve decided what I really want to do next year. I want to create a badging system (or find one) that is based on the common core standards. Maybe I want the individual standards to be badges, and the strands could be quests? I also want these badges to be printable, super cute visually, and also deliverable on Google Classroom. I think I’d like students to have binders where they can place the badges they are collecting. The badge system would also need to allow flexibility to add different quests based on PBL projects, PBIS skills, ISTE standards, and digital citizenship skills and knowledge. Is anyone really familiar with badges and wouldn’t mind talking with me about them?
In "Power of Game Based Learning, " when Katie Salen was talking about missions and quests, she said, "They know where they're at, how far they've come, and they know what they need to work on." Sound familiar? Hattie says that's student clarity, which produces assessment capable learners. The effect size is off the charts when students are clear about where they've been, where they need to go, and how to get there. A badging system sounds like a great way to develop clarity, while using gamification to generate student engagement at the same time.
I realize that my first year back into teaching a class of my own might be a little exhausting--but this is a goal I can keep working towards. My whole classroom theme could be gaming! Scott, I hope you won’t mind if I ask you a few questions here and there next year!
So I know that I said that the week we studied Google Docs was my favorite...but I guess I lied. This week was so jam packed full of amazing resources that it left me reeling with ideas for application in the staff room, as well as classroom. The blended and flipped learning concept is really, really exciting to me and all the supporting tools and resources presented this week were so amazing to read about and play with.
Since I like to prioritize, I decided to begin by playing with tools that would help me complete my 702 homework first. I knew what I wanted the topic of my flipped learning lesson to be:
“Teachers need to be able to access student progress data in order to inform their teaching. Napa Valley Unified School District provides access to Houghton Mifflin assessment products called the Math Inventory, the Reading Inventory, as well as the Phonics Inventory and other online learning products (iRead, FASTT Math, System 44, Read 180). Of these products, the Reading and Math Inventories are currently district mandated assessments. These assessment data are used formatively, and to measure end of year growth. Academic Specialists have extensive experience running reports and looking at data through the report system called SAM: Student Achievement Manager. Since our school will have only a .5 Academic Specialist next year, it will be important for teachers to be able to fluently access their own student data.” ~My Flipped Learning Lesson Overview
I wanted to create an instructional video for my teachers about how to access their student data, what kinds of reports might be useful for different purposes such as student goal setting, parent conferencing, and informing instruction.
Since I have already used Screencast-O-Matic and Screencastify, I decided to try out Voicethread. I loved it! I love that you can upload a Powerpoint or Google Slides and separately record comments on each slide (up to 50 slides on a free account). To create my presentation deck, I used my own screenshot method (which is simply a nifty drag and click feature on my district provided Lenovo Thinkpad keyboard) to paste images onto each Google slide. I then used the drawing tools to add arrows and glowing edges, etc… Once my slides were uploaded into Voicethread, I simply clicked on the plus sign to add a feature to the slide, and then clicked on the microphone icon to record my slide notes! So simple. Teachers will be able to access this video repeatedly in the future, making everyone’s lives so much easier!
Now that I had my flipped learning video and lesson complete, I was able to “play” and explore all the additional resources provided… I decided to try out Haiku Deck and Powtoon video tools. I loved Haiku Deck, but I don’t like the fact that you can only make one presentation before you have to purchase an account. It’s a beautiful tool that produces gorgeous visual presentations and it’s very easy to use. No cons other than it costs $$ to have an account.
Powtoons made my brain hurt. If you’ve ever seen anything produced with Powtoons, you know how engaging it is. However, there are SO many ways to make text and images appear, animate, and disappear that I felt like I’d have an aneurysm if I had to make more than one slide. This tool is for experts in my opinion. Yikes!
The best part of the work this week were the ideas generated by the wonderful flipped and blended learning articles we read. The articles and videos by Catlin Tucker and Jennifer Gonzalez were especially exciting for me as a K-5 teacher. I made the following notes to remember:
In class blended learning stations