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Surprising Insights: How Teachers Use Games in the Classroom

Surprising Insights: How Teachers Use Games in the Classroom
More teachers are using digital games in the classroom, and they’re using them more frequently, according to a new teacher survey just released by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. But more surprisingly, the study reveals that teachers are finding that one of the most impactful use of games is for motivating and rewarding students, specifically those who are low-performing. The survey, which interviewed 694 K-8 teachers with an average of 14.5 years of teaching experience, aims to understand how and why teachers are using digital games in the classroom. More than three-quarters of teachers surveyed — 78 percent — report using digital games in class, and that’s up from 50 percent who reported using them in a different survey two years ago. Of those who do use games in the classroom, 53 percent said they use video game devices to motivate and reward students, and 41 percent said they use non-digital games for that same reason. Related:  Learning.Gamification

Why Aren’t More Schools Using Free, Open Tools? Tom Woodward/Flickr The promise of using technology in school technology has been to give students more control over their learning, while helping teachers provide tailored instruction to individual student needs. “Personalized learning” has been the common rhetoric driving most one-to-one device initiatives. The stated goal is to make learning more of an individual experience, but many schools have chosen to implement technology programs in fairly regimented ways — for lots of different reasons. Many schools want all students to have the same kind of device, with the same apps pre-downloaded. Students often have little choice over which tools they can use on their devices. Schools have many reasons for wanting to systematize the technology in schools: to ensure equity for all students, the ability of IT department to support the devices, and to comply with federal laws. There could be a lot of reasons more districts aren’t following the Penn Manor path. Related

Gamification 4 - Game Elements | iRez SaloniRez Salon PHILADELPHIA, 9 September –- Gamification with Kevin Werbach of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School, Week 2! The raw materials of games and gamification are called game elements. We’ll earn how to break down a game into its constituent parts and apply them to create gamified systems. 4.1 Breaking Games Down patterns, tools – that we can extract from games and use in other practices Tic-Tac-Toe – what are the regular patterns, pieces, that come together with aesthetics and overall experience that make up the game play? • No progression or scoring Experiences >> Games << Elements 4.2 The Pyramid of Gamification EelementsDynamics ^^ Mechanics ^^^^ Components Around these elements is the overall Experience of the game, and Aesthetics, etc – design creatively based on circumstances Here we’re focusing on generic patterns. Marc Leblanc – MDA Framework – Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics Game Dynamics – the grammar – the hidden elements 1. What functions do they serve? Like this:

Must Have Microsoft Web Based Apps for Teachers June 9, 2014 Several teachers still don't know that Microsoft Office has a set of powerful web based tools that are similar to the desktop versions of its powerful Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Calendar. These tools are hosted on the cloud and you can use them anywhere you are with an internet connection. Microsoft web-based office tools are similar to Google Drive tools. My favourite Microsoft app I have been using on my MAC for awhile now is Word Online. Here is a quick overview of some great Microsoft apps you can use to increase your productivity. OneDrive OneDrive is similar to Google Drive. Word Online This is similar to the desktop version of Word. PowerPoint Online Using PowerPoint Online will enable you create presentations and slideshows similar to those you make using the desktop version. Excel Online Whatever you can do on your desktop Excel is also available through Excel Online. OneNote OneNote is a powerful note taking tool from Microsoft.

Mindshift's Guide To Game-Based Learning MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning How can games unlock a rich world of learning? This is the big question at the heart of the growing games and learning movement that’s gaining momentum in education. The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning started as a series of blog posts written by Jordan Shapiro with support from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and the Games and Learning Publishing Council. Here's a preview of the table of contents: Introduction: Getting in the Game (Page 4) An overview of games in the classroom from Katie Salen Tekinbaş, executive director of the Institute of Play. What the Research Says About Gaming and Screen Time (Page 6) Much of the research around digital games and screen time is evolving. How to Start Using Digital Games for Learning (Page 14) Since each learning environment is unique, here are some steps to assessing your resources before committing to a particular game or platform. Continue Reading Continue Reading

Teacher's Visual Guide to Creating Twitter Lists June 10, 2014 A Twitter list is a curated group of Twitter users and a great way to organize your interests. You can use them to categorize and organize tweets into different categories relevant to the information you are seeking. You can for instance create a list about educational technology and add to it Edtech tweeters you follow. In this way , you will have a pool of resources aggregated in a single page to access anytime you want. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list. Here is how to create your own Twitter list: 1- Head over to your Twitter homepage and click on the "gear" button on the top right and select "lists" 2- Click on " Create new list" 3- Type in a name and description to your list. 4- Use Twitter search to add people to your list.

Beyond the Worksheet: Playsheets, GBL, and Gamification Game-based learning (GBL) and gamification are hot topics in education. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they actually describe different phenomena. GBL is when students play games to learn content. Gamification is the application of game based elements to non-game situations. Playing games can give students context for what they are learning. When my students played Angry Birds in the classroom, none of them asked what the purpose of learning x intercepts was. More and more students today have access to technology in the classroom. What is a Playsheet? There are different types of games that students can play on a device. Playsheets fall in between GBL and gamification. The games on Khan Academy are a popular example of what playsheets can be. The website Quia contains games that mimic popular games such as Battleship and Jeopardy. 5 Benefits to Using Playsheets in the Classroom Most math games created for the tablet devices are playsheets.

5 Effective Ways Teachers Can Use Twitter for Professional Development June 10, 2014 What has started as a simple answer to the question "what are you doing?" has now developed into one of the most popular online social networking platforms with 255 million Average Monthly Active Users (MAUs) as of March 31, 2014 . The potential of Twitter in education is uncontested and the research literature in this regard abounds with accounts of teachers leveraging it in their instruction. 1- Real time search Besides being a social networking site that connects people from all around the globe, Twitter is a powerful real-time search engine. 2- Twitter PLNs Another powerful feature that Twitter provides to its users is the ability to create a personal/professional learning network. 3- Hashtagging These epiphenomena called hashtags have really revolutionized the concept of a community of practice. Besides using hashtags as a search tool, you can also use them to participate in education conversations with fellow educators from all around the globe. 4- Twitter Tools

GlassLab Today we launched an exciting new research and development initiative in partnership with Electronic Arts that aims to transform learning and assessment practices through digital games. Named GlassLab, the effort will explore the potential for digital games to serve both as potent learning environments and as real-time assessments of student learning. The Lab’s work is focused initially on assessments that track learning gains in middle school students against the Common Core State Standards and key twenty-first-century skills, like systems thinking, perseverance and creative problem solving. Located on the Redwood Shores campus of Electronic Arts near Redwood City, California, the Lab will draw on top Silicon Valley talent to produce innovative digital games, both modifications of existing commercially successful titles as well as original mini-games designed and developed at the Lab. Check out this video interview about GlassLab. Read more about the work of GlassLab.

A Good Free Web Tool to Create Classroom Posters June 9, 2014 After we have learned how to create a classroom poster using Google Draw, I am introducing you today to another awesome web tool which will enable you to design gorgeous classroom visuals. This tool is called Pixteller . I have been tinkering with it for awhile and found it really worth using. This is particularly relevant for creating illustrated quotes and short posters for your class. Here is one I created for the purposes of this tutorial : Pixteller is completely free to use. There are actually two ways to creat a poster using Pixteller: The first method is to build it from scratch . Click on "create" button Set the image height Select the background you want by choosing from solid colour, Liniar Gradient, Circular Gradient, and Texture. You can also upload a photo and use it as a background. Click on "text" and type in your text. Pixteller provides a gallery of different free icons to use on your poster. Click on "finish" and type in a title for your poster.

This is what Candy Crush Saga does to your brain | Dana Smith | Science Last week, Candy Crush Saga, the mind-numbingly simple yet addictive game that involves matching coloured sweets, was estimated to be worth $7.1bn. While that amount dropped by 16% after the company’s Wall Street debut, it still left the gaming geniuses behind the free app worth billions. Candy Crush is played by 93 million people every day, and it accrues an estimated $800,000 daily through players purchasing new lives and boosters that help them to conquer new levels. All told, half a billion people have downloaded the free app, and King Digital Entertainment, the company behind the phenomenon, reportedly netted $568m last year alone. I am on level 140 (not something I’m proud of), even after deleting the app once because I couldn’t stop playing. So what is it about this game that makes it so addictive? First off, it’s simple. If the game remained this easy, however, we’d quickly tire of the jellybeans and gum drops, becoming bored after a couple of binge sessions. The results?

What’s the Danger of Flagging ‘At-Risk’ Kids Early On? A seventh-grade teacher at Clinton Middle School in Los Angeles looks at Early Warning Indicator data during a morning meeting. (Alyson Bryant/Youth Radio) By Alyson Bryant, Youth Radio Long before students have even entered ninth grade, teachers are looking to detailed data to figure out which kids are most likely to drop out of high school. At Clinton Middle School in East Los Angeles, teachers are using a system called Early Warning Indicators, or EWI, which is part of a school transformation program called Diplomas Now, currently used in 14 cities around the country. Here’s how it works: After reviewing the trends, the teachers examine students’ names that are colored red or yellow, considered off-track or in danger of being off-track. The teachers then discuss the circumstances around each student, things like how often he or she visits the nurse, or what’s going on in the family. But does being off-track definitely mean that a student will drop out? Related

My book | you found me. Visionary game designer Jane McGonigal reveals how we can harness the power of games to solve real-world problems and boost global happiness. More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-one. According to world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal, the reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world. Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science, and sociology, Reality Is Broken uncovers how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy and utilized these discoveriesto astonishing effect in virtual environments. About the Author Jane McGonigal is the director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future.