Schematic of Gamer Progression #videogamesandlearning @coursera

SchematicGamerProgression

I’m taking two classes through Coursera right now: Comic Books & Graphic Novels and Video Games & Learning. I’ve already read Persepolis and American Born Chinese for the comic book class. I’m really excited about supporting our 8th graders as they read Maus (and teachers as they teach it) this year and working with our art teacher on creating resources for teaching visual culture. Continue reading “Schematic of Gamer Progression #videogamesandlearning @coursera”

Article Review: “Education as Design for Learning”

This fall I am working on a personal statement to articulate my core values and beliefs in education. In my research, I found “Education as Design for Learning,” an article by Richard Halverson and Erica Rosenfeld Halverson.

Perhaps this is an obvious statement, but I find that having the words to describe what you are thinking or observing is necessary  for thinking critically about it. When I am learning something, I need the big picture to hang the details on. Then, as I read, I can square my experience, understanding, and prior knowledge against the framework. Continue reading “Article Review: “Education as Design for Learning””

Final #ISTE13 Post: Connect and Reflect

ISTE hall

ISTE seems a world away now that summer vacation is here and my days are filled with story hour, diapers, ear infections, and naptime (or lack thereof). But I would be remiss not to reflect on yet another great conference on connecting with my current colleagues, fellow SIGISers, and new educators.

This list really isn’t in order of importance:

1. I’ve been using the SuperBetter app for a week now and dig it. I look forward to pressing the “I DID THIS” button and getting the happy ding of the achievements. I’ve even set up some of my own Power-Ups and Quests but I haven’t recruited any allies yet. I’m not sure how I’ll measure the long term changes in my behavior, but I’m enjoying the process for now. I’m hoping to pass this on to our support staff as a potential option for struggling students.

2. From the second keynote: I love Steven Johnson’s remixed quote, “Chance favors the connected mind.” I love the idea of getting out of your silo, connecting with others, drinking coffee, fueling creativity by stepping outside your comfort zone. That said, I have two thoughts:

  1. What about the quiet, mindful, reflective, independent time? I think this is needed in the balance and some people need it more than others. After reading Quiet last summer and identifying myself as an introvert, I guard “me time” as important in my own creativity. Is this another “everything in moderation” type deal?
  2. I’m curious about how the zone of proximal development applies to this idea of connecting with people out of your silo. I would think that the cafes of the 1800s were fairly local and culturally homogenous. When we mix in diverse groups, what happens if we’re too different? Does this break down the connections? Hmmm. I don’t have an answer for this. I’m really looking forward to my first day of Intercultural Competency training this August.

3. If I attend ISTE next year, what would be the best format for me? This year I LOVED the keynotes and poster sessions, but I was disappointed by the sessions I attended. What is the value of me going to this conference, year after year? I was thinking that what I would get the most benefit from is four days of concentrated work on an issue at school or a new project. Could I work on that in Portland? Yes, but I wouldn’t have access to the people that I have at ISTE. So maybe it would be a four-day informal get together (i.e. not paid) where a group gets together, and we learn how to build apps or design professional development portfolios or design a parent education series. This could leverage the power of the ISTE community and give me the space and time to work on a project for my school. ISTE14 is a long way off… but it could be fun!

4. I’m really excited about the summer of making, sponsored by SIGIS and SIGCT. I’m worried most of my “making” will be from 7pm-midnight after the little one goes to sleep, so I hope I can find the energy for it. My goal is to delve deeper into Scratch, take the 3DGameLab course on how to create an iOS App, and print something on the 3D Printer. Okay, I’ll be happy if I do ONE of these!

5. Last, my goals for ISTE13 were:

  1. Be where I am. Done. I feel good about this one.
  2. Gaming. 3DGameLab, SimCity. I feel good about this one too.
  3. Support. Not sure I got enough of this, but it will come out over the summer. I know some people’s brains were so full by the end they couldn’t process. Sounds like a follow up meeting in August would be good.
  4. Reflect. Once this is posted, done!

Now I should really go open that free Surface still sitting in the box…

Poster Presentation #iste13

PosterPresentation

Yesterday evening I presented my SimCity project here at ISTE 2013. (You can find all the info on the conference resources page – please feel free to remix and reuse!) It was definitely a highlight of this conference for me, not just because I got to talk about my favorite work that I’m doing but because of the connections I made with other teachers and tech coordinators.

There are two connections that I’m really excited about though they are very different. The first connection is with two teachers from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, who teach at a small boarding school for Cambodian students. It would be fascinating for our 7th graders to video conference with them to discuss the ideas of urban planning and design. What interesting perspectives they would have on city development and infrastructure!

The second connection is with a teacher from Quest2Learn, the gaming public school (OOPS! – I initially posted that it was a charter) in NYC, and his referral to SimCityEDU. I thought it was just a forum for teachers to post lesson plans, but it sounds like the Institute of Play is actually taking SimCity5 and modding it to provide scenarios that teachers can modify for their classes. It might then offer feedback to the student and teacher about how they are interacting with the system. This means that I could see evidence of systems and design thinking rather than just believing that this project is effective.

Presenting my poster also affirmed the value of having other perspectives on your work. One visitor said that he no longer uses the word work in his classroom, but calls it purposeful play. It sounds like a small, semantic difference, but I do believe words matter.

I think the poster sessions are the hidden treasures of the conference because you get to see all kinds of different projects in different phases of development and you get to talk to the people doing them. As a pragmatic person, I appreciate seeing lesson plans and rubrics because I’m always thinking about the literal how-to of a project.

Speaking of pragmatic, next time I present a poster I will remember to bring my own video adaptor and push pins!

Over Ambitious Planning for Next Year #iste13

diy_gamification

http://blog.8r4d.com/2013/04/30/6-ways-to-gamify-your-marathon-training

I’ve got a couple ideas for a new approach to my 6th grade class, and I’m pretty much just going to list all the things I’m thinking about. It’s a little jumbled stream-of-consciousness right now, but hopefully writing it all down will help.

I teach 6th grade technology. In the current schedule, I see a group of 18 students one week on Tuesday and Wednesday for an hour each day, and then not again for another month. The librarian also teaches in this rotation, so for next year we are thinking of team teaching the group of 36 students in order to see the kids for more time and have more continuity. In this set up, we would do two-week long projects.

But what kind of project is engaging to 6th graders in an hour-long class right before lunch? Honestly the best class I can remember was teaching them how to use Scratch. Actually, I wasn’t so much teaching as just allowing them the time to play it.

So I have two ideas:

1. Gamify the class using 3DGameLab and turn it into a series of quests. We could find quests that involved using library and tech skills so that they were learning the skills from both classes. Some of the early quests would be fast, like taking a screenshot of their calendar to show they had properly subscribed to all their teachers’ calendars, and some of the later ones could be longer, like designing their own avatar. I’m daunted by the amount of work that would be needed to build this all, but maybe it would be worth it both for the better structure to the class and to test out what that looks like. Hmmm.

  • There is a camp through 3DGameLab to learn how to design your own app, which I’ve always wanted to learn and I have one in mind to build. I could do the camp and get the license to build for students.
  • I would love to pull some ideas from Jane McGonigal’s Find the Future game, like having students write their own constitution and/or origin story.

2. A project that I have always wanted to do with students is to have them design their own avatar or logo. They would first build it as a profile image that they could use for their google apps account. We could talk about image resolution and thumbnails if they were to try and print it the size of a page. It should be an image that looks good large and small. The FINAL step would be for them to print it from the 3D printer as a stamp, so they could stamp their logo.

  • I’d like them to workshop it to get feedback from each other.
  • I want it to be something that is really meaningful to them.
  • They could research logos for different companies, read excerpts from Tipping Point or Made to Stick.
  • They could make Scratch stories to tell their origin story and then turn them in to an adventure game at the end.

At first I was thinking I would have to choose one or the other, but after writing this out, maybe we could do BOTH! I am hesitant to try a new format with a new project, but it seems like a huge opportunity.

Also, my class is a rotation class that meets twice/week and repeats. It wouldn’t be that much prep. And how can I expect other teachers to try it if I don’t? Besides, our head of school asked us to change one thing this coming year. Reimaging my class in both content and form sounds like a good place to start!