As educators and professionals in a very demanding role we are all aware that we have a responsibility to keep the communication loop open and feedback is an important part of our work. We must communicate with colleagues, leaders, our students and their families, as well as the broader community. This is all on top of the core business we have of supporting the learning and exploration of concepts outlined in the governing curriculum to rank students against a continuum of learning outcomes and communicate this information with the stakeholders who require this information.
Gaming in education has long been a passion of mine. I presented this at the EdTechSA conference in July 2013, and since then have thoroughly enjoyed teaching the fundamentals of this to my year 6/7 students. There have been many occasions where I thought to myself why don’t I just let them play the games? I knew there would be light at the end of this tunnel. We have spent the last 10 weeks looking at the elements of a game, analyzing games for educational value and the tools available to make games.
I linked the elements of a game to a narrative story using “Wreck It Ralph” the movie to tell a story within a game. I asked students to plan their ideal game. To think about their favourite games and pick out the best bits and remix them together to create their game story.
Here are some outlines of just a few of the games. You will agree the ideas are fantastic and as we continue the development I will share the final products.
Idea 1 by Mitchell:
Speedy joe is trying to reach the generator that frees only the town from pixelation. The disaster of the game is that if you lose the game major mayhem takes over the world. The only resolution to the game is if speedy joe reaches the generator and saves everyone in the town. Sworn enemies major mayhem and sneaky steve form a relationship and become ultimate allies of evil. The final twist is when you complete the game speedy joe meets a guardian that grants him ever lasting power.
Idea 2 by Madison:
This game is about a hero who gets cursed by an evil wizard.You must go through all the levels and collect the golden Crystal at the end of each level. There is 5 level with 4 chapters, once you have completed the levels and obtained all the crystals you power-
up and the curse will be dropped.However at the last level you must defeat the wizard,there will also be different bad guys to fight on the way.
Idea 3 by Josh and Maureen
It is just a normal day and the henchmen come and randomly start attacking the kingdom and people in the village. Tulio has to get out of the kingdom and try to find the dragon who started all of this with his partner Kevin. On his journey he bumps into the king who pretends to be good but is an evil Cat King from Outer Space name Monty. Monty joins forces with Melvin who is the dragon and Tulio including Kevin must stop them before it’s too late. So the player will have to try to succeed levels to stop Melvin the dragon and Monty the evil cat king.
Idea 4 by Jessica:
What happens is that you have to build a massive hotel and celebrities come to live in your hotel but you have to answer the fact right for them to stay in your hotel.If you get the facts wrong you will get another change in 5 hours time. Once you finish a level you will get 2000 coins to build a new floor. The next level comes when all the celebrities are in your hotel also before you level up you must do a quiz on the celebs fact.When you level up you will move on to a different category like animals.
Idea 5 by Tegan and Kate:
A boy/girl is kidnapped and put onto a large ship. The boy/girl is then pushed rather roughly onto a beach. A guy/girl is stuck in on mystery island and is trying to find food to survive BUT she or he comes across angry monsters and robots. She or he needs to find their way back home before these angry villains steal her food. She/he will need to fight the angry villains to survive.
NB. I have requested permission to share these ideas from the students.
As you can see the ideas really did run wild when I set them loose to explore and imaging. Now to the development stage…I am not from any coding or computer science background so it was necessary for me to develop some skills on this. I spent some time playing in Scratch, which I found quite easy to control and thought the students would pick it up easily. When we had some practice using this tool, I was unfortunately mistaken and the students found it quite hard to ‘program’. So I was challenged to find another tool that would give instant results with little programming.
I put the question out to my professional network an were supported with a number of links including ‘Gamestar Mechanic‘ and ‘Sploder‘. These both fulfilled the request. I had already had Minecraft installed on out computers as this is a huge draw-card for many of these students. Now is th time to see how their creativity and ingenuity can create these games.
I look forward to sharing these and more completed games.
Please support my students in their game making by writing comments of encouragement and feedback that I can pass on to them.
I have always believed things happen for a reason, and the events that have led to me writing about what has been going on in my ICT classes since the beginning of the year.
It was a Sunday evening and like most, I was on Twitter. In my stream I saw a call out to Australian Teachers looking for someone to connect with a school in the USA. I was immediately interested as I had begun teaching ICT this year and am very keen to have the students use the internet to become true Global learners.
I responded to this tweet and from here things “snowballed”. As the conversations continued and the ideas flowed, a teacher in Charlotte, NC (Jill Muller) and I began the intricate details of how and when we could collaborate to develop the learning of our students. We discussed using Skype, but due to the desire to record the session to share with the remaining students we decided to use a Google+ Hangout. The day prior the teachers’ from Jill’s school and I did a test run of the technology and our connection. Everything was so exciting and it was during this conversation when we first met face-to-face, that I realised that the teachers on the other end of the line had never done and international conference before, (nor had I) but I had used video calls to connect with educators and family. The excitement was obvious. And the trial was a success. The technology worked and the connection was imminent.
Early the following morning (7:30am) I had a group of very excited students from my year 3-5 classes gather in our resource centre; and in Charlotte there was a group of equally excited students staying late after school, both to combine and have a conversation about their world’s similarities and differences. Although the questions and answers were pre-prepared the interview developed into a free conversation where the students and teachers all relaxed and began impromptu discussions. This learning was wonderful and helped everyone realise the value of what we had achieved.
We decided then and there that we would all be keen to do it again, so we made another attempt to connect again to allow more students to participate and enjoy this experience. For the first interview, we gained permission to allow student collaboration and in school private sharing but not public sharing of the session. For the second session, with experience behind us, we gained the appropriate permissions for this collaboration to be shared publicly and incorporate it into this post.
Unfortunately, Neither Jill or I bothered to check the time charts…we did it at these times only a month ago so the times worked for everyone, or so we thought. What we didn’t consider was the timeshift when moving in and out of Daylight savings! A lesson learnt. Unfortunately, due to this, the second hangout did not eventuate. We arrived an hour late; and they were wondering where we were an hour earlier. But all those who were in attendance at Ocean Voew College B-12 are all very keen to maintain the connections, even if it doesn’t mean face-to-face yet. We have already pencilled in the earliest viable date & time in early November.
The learning behind this experience is beyond anything any of these students has ever had before and the significance is something that these students will reflect upon and draw upon for the remainder of their lives. To encourage this we are providing the opportunities in class for these students to collaborate and connect through asynchronous means including letters at the moment and in the future we will share audio and video presentations.
We have a shared Google Doc folder where we can upload items for the other school to retrieve and engage with.
This experience has enabled all participants to develop their sense of being a true global learner. And because of this experience we have all learnt so much both explicitly and incidentally.
Thank you to Jill Thompson @Edu_Thompson for the initial connection and then to Jill Muller and your team (Ms Huntly, Ms Parks, Ms Graham and Ms Williams) and all of the students at Highland Renaissance Academy for your support and participation. Also, I would like to thank the staff and students at Ocean View College B-12 for your enthusiasm and excitement.
Unfortunately I don’t have a clip to add for you to watch but I will attempt to gather some images and add them to the post soon.
Have you have any amazing Global learning experiences?
What were the “take away’s ” from your experiences?
In 2013 I resolve to stick to a plan…
I have never made a New-Year resolutions and always got by, but in 2013 I feel there is something worth committing to (other than my beautiful family and friends, who have always been my first priority.) In 2013 I am returning to teaching in a formal sense since 2009. I have a lot more connections in the education world and most importantly I know I have the knowledge to share and lead others into this new fronteer of Education Technology.
I have always known I had the knowledge but I never had the belief. Until…July 2012 when I was an unknown, a blog that only a dozed people had viewed, approximately 350 Tweets, a frequent listener to the Ed Tech Crew Podcast, who was attending the CEGSA 2012 conference amongst educators from across the country. From the moment I walked into the Pre-conference Masterclass and saw a young man standing in front of the room (whom I initially thought was just another teacher attending the conference). I had Neve seen, met or even connected with George Couros before this conference – now I know usual practice might be to check out the presenter before attending to get some background on them, but I didn’t, I just knew I wanted to come in a connect with like-minded teachers from my area.
Following this Masterclass I felt empowered and I knew I could push further. So throughout the next few days I introduced myself to many “known” Educators as I could and the conversations always came back to making connections, Twitter and Blogging. so I took up tweeting with a vengeance to beging with and then I knew I needed to blog. So, I moved my blog and posted a few reflections. For one of my posts I had over 250 views in one day! To me this was almost the ultimate, but since then I have written only 5 posts. It is not all about the stats for me, but I do like to see the acknowledgment that others are reading what I have to say.
I also enjoy reading posts that others have written – and then all of the conversation that goes along with it as this is one of the main purposes of blogging- to start the conversation. so foten when I’m geared up to write I have a look at a few of my favourite bloggers posts for that quick inspiration. But instead I get so caught up in the post, links and the conversation, I never get back to my own post. Therefore I must manage my reading and writing time better to allow me to do both.
I would love to know how others manage this dilemma.
It is not that I haven’t written regular posts because I’m too busy or that I don’t feel I have anything to write about, in-fact that is the complete opposite. I feel I want to write about so much I don’t know where to start. I have ideas when I’m driving, in disengaging meetings, or when I’m not near a computer with a list of tasks as long as my arm to have completed by “NOW”. I write them down as soon as I can and I have created a comprehensive list. But where to begin???
I have decided that I need a plan, and my plan looks a little like this:
- Get support and someone to keep me accountable (at least until I get the momentum going and this becomes regular)
- Start at the beginning (of my list and work through it regardless of the other ‘better ideas”)
- Keep Regular, I have two parts to my blog one which is the regular stream of posts, and the other is a list of teaching resources that I use/am made aware of. I also like to include a little blurb about the tool. So to keep regular I would like to make one addition to each of these every week.
- Read and share blogs from other educators and hopefully reflect on these also. I do read a lot of posts but I find they are so comprehensive that I don’t feel I need to comment.
- Make the time to read, reflect and respond. This, I suspect, will be my greatest challenge, but I am not here to make excuses just the plan. and Using all of my time in a more organised and constructive manner.
In addition to my plan I also need a few essential ingredients. These are things that are out of my control and I hope are of little or no impact to my plan. They include my timetable at work (I hope I have some time throughout the week were I can allocate to my professional reflection in an uninterrupted space).
Also the family, it often seems to happen when I’m geared up to sit and write a post I have family to deal with, wether it be homework, sports, or just generally being a mother. I must get back to blogging ASAP.
This is my plan that I shall continually reflect upon to maintain my regularity.
My motto to support my plan is on I heard at a training session last year:
Work Smarter, Not Harder.
If I can work by these two paradigms I believe I will have a successful year and beyond, connecting and reflecting with Educators from across the world and putting my stamp on a focus that I’m truly passionate about, on a personal and professional level.
I hope this helps me to make this a habit, and if it helps others to get up and have a go I would love to hear from you about your progress too.
A teenager or any young person using social networking is nothing unusual in modern society, and in fact if they are not connected in through one or more of these networks they are disconnected and have trouble keeping up with conversation. Other’s think they are different and continuing the conversation outside of school is something we as teachers we want to encourage and embrace. When teens use the medium as a tool to funnel bullying or undesirable behaviour it becomes an issue for both school and community.
After just reading a comment on Facebook posted by an old school friend in her frustration of her son’s experiences, I truly believe teens with Facebook and social networks are the “have’s” and those who don’t are “have-not’s”
“if your not on FB your not even worth talking to”.
To develop the education of young people and the appropriate behaviours online we MUST begin the education well before they are legally allowed to participate in such media. Just as we don’t give the keys to a car upon the teen’s 16th birthday and send them off on the roads alone with no guidance or supervision, – we instead sit beside them and guide them through the situations as they arise.
Alex Summers posted on the 17th November 2012: 6 Things to Teach Students about Social Media. In this post he says
There are several things that teachers can begin teaching students early on about social media that can help them as they enter college and the job force.
- Online Reputation
- Keeping Connections
- Establish Your Expertise
- Use it to Your Advantage
- Stay Tuned
I believe although as teachers we do have the resources to share proper use of social and opportunities to demonstrate this use in and educational environment, Parents must also play a significant part in this education. The need to be involved and discuss and share these online tools with their children from and age of about 7 right through to the mid to late teens and beyond. This will give all students the chance to become educated before participating and remain guided and supported throughout their developing maturity.
Parent’s, teachers and all adults must be supporting guides for the teens who are ‘coming of age’ in the social networking sense. We must teach what we can before they get the keys and once they have demonstrated they know the appropriate way to conduct themselves and drive themselves along the right road we can then begin to give them probationary licence to participate with some restrictions. After a period of time they can then gain full control of their account and network. But, again like driving there is allowance for social jurisdiction and loss of permit for misbehaviour and breaking the rules.
This structure has been very successful for many years for driving a motor vehicle so why not apply this to the internet superhighway? When cars began their evolution we only had bumpy unsealed roads and no speed limits. As we begin the evolvement of the internet and social media we must also reduce the speed limits and monitor more closely the ‘friends’ our young people connect with and how they communicate. We must monitor the traffic on the internet superhighway and ensure that networking can be utilised and applied at appropriate times whilst controlling the distraction of unproductive interruptions.
I know and understand the importance of using social networking with teenagers and young people. But when it is impacting upon them and their study it becomes another distraction rather than enhancing their collaborative working. I have previously suggested that changing the common title of networking from “social” to “collaborative”. My reasoning behind this is that the perception that social is unproductive and you can’t learn from social but collaborative has much more of a productive connotation where working together to achieve a common goal is more desirable.
As parents and teachers we are torn between the knowledge that participation is better that isolation, but when the impact is unproductive we know there must be some restriction.
But, how much restriction should we apply?
And, how can we truly determine what impact this restriction will have both academically and socially?
Upon the resumption of the final school term I was asked by our Principal to read a very concerning email that had been sent into our school via our website. This was a notification to the school about some undesirable behaviour by students of our school on a page naming our school, on Facebook. The author of the letter also expressed her concern about this online behaviour as the company she works for actively seeks information online about prospective employees and the behaviour of these students will reduce their chances of being employed by some companies.
Through further investigation we found that there were quite a few schools (approximately 30) across the state who had similar pages. The major concern for us as educators is that of the future of our students. We recognize this digital association will remain attached to their names indefinitely.
The analogy was recently made that the decisions and posts we make online should have more consideration that the decisions of a tattoo. A tattoo will go to the grave with the individual but the posts online will remain in cyber-space forever.
The following is an Info-graphic about employers screening employee candidates, from How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates [INFOGRAPHIC], By Erica Swallow
I would like to know how you teach socially appropriate behaviour for students’ future? And what action your school takes with socially unacceptable behaviour online when it is posted out side of school hours?
When I started teaching back in 2007 I found myself doubting my ability to keep up the motivation to return every day. I soon became exhausted and contacting my university lecturers & colleagues for support. I was wondering how I could ever come into such an important role in society feeling so under prepared. I still reflect upon this when I am working with new teachers. I wonder if they also feel so under prepared.
I was having a conversation about this with a pre-service teacher recently who was on her final placement before graduating. We had worked together for several weeks and developed a great rapport. We were talking about the lecturers at her University and compared them to the Lecturers who were teaching when I went through Uni. Although we studied in different states and about 13 years after my graduation the feeling between us was the same.
“How can anyone know what we need to teach students for their future? Our world is changing too fast and we can only guess what the students’ will need to know and hope the skills of learning to learn are embedded along the way to ensure they can find the most accurate and appropriate information when they need it.”
The lecturers of today must instill this in pre-service teachers. I have always had the belief that to teach someone you must have a sound grasp of the concept yourself first. Thus, with all due respect and admiration for our universities and the lecturers, I believe we must reinvigorate teaching and learning at the university level by developing more diverse and innovative delivery methods to encompass the modern learner and future students.
I believe that the vast majority of University lecturers for education have not taught at the primary or secondary level for quite some years and have, to some degree misunderstand how current students learn and interact, with each other, their learning, the environment, and their teachers. This is supported in Dan Haesler’s 2011 report quoting Steve Biddulph‘s remarks that
According to a federal government report in 2008, the average age of teachers in Australia is 43. A professor of teacher education at the University of Sydney, Robyn Ewing, believes this is a barrier to the effective use of technology in education.
My concern is that if so many university lecturers are struggling to bring themselves into the modern day of technology, social networking and learning. How can our pre-service teachers present this and the teach students to learn through the progressive processes of technology, interactive, online networking, world wide collaboration, and filtering accurate information?
Until the change can be made completely and thoroughly at the higher education level, pre-service courses are rewritten to accommodate the new way of learning, and the recognition of need for new teaching methodologies eventuates, we will continue to provide a disservice to our students and young people. I am not saying at all that University lecturers are all behind the times and need to change, just that teaching today is different to teaching 10, 15, 20 years ago. We need to realise technology has a vital role to play in education, for both students and teachers. Innovative university lecturers like Alec Couros who encourage the use of new technologies and social media and networking, is only one such example of many. i’m sure who do integrate these technologies into their courses. The unfortunate fact is that these innovators are few and far between.
It is unfortunate that in our world of networks, connectivity and mobility that students in the primary and secondary environments are restricted to the theory of teaching from decades before.
- How can we embrace the knowledge of our more senior University lecturers whilst developing innovative teachers and learning in our schools?