Games Can Teach!

25 03 2014

Nicole and I just returned from an excellent training/conference in Orlando. One speaker who really resonated with both of us was Karl Kapp and his presentation “Game Elements for Learning, Engagement and Fun” (we even purchased several copies of his books to share with faculty at iTeach). We’ll let you know when they arrive on campus and you can check one out. Gamification isn’t just the newest buzzword.

Now, don’t get me wrong, neither of us are particularly thrilled about mixing games and education. Neither of us were sitting between sessions playing Angry Birds on our phone. That said, Karl Kapp’s research really did make us believers in the sense that there are better ways to look at your course, to make it appealing, to incorporate some of the elements from addictive games and figure out how your students might engage with your content more effectively if we learn from these popular gaming activities.

Karl Kapp Article on GamingHere is an article that he wrote in 2013 that links some gaming elements to educational strategies. I think, if you take a look, you won’t find this too far off the mark.

Additionally, during his Orlando presentation he took a close look at learning objectives. He told us basically, “Games start with action. Instructional designers and online courses start with learning objectives.” Hmmnm, from our student’s perspective, that doesn’t sound nearly as interesting, does it?

Instead of listing learning objectives for a course bullet by bullet, point by point, ASK A QUESTION. That’s right. Ask an intriguing question. Grab the interest of your student right away by presenting a scenario or choice — do they know the answer? No? Enter the learning module and find out. Or, ask a series of questions letting the student know that if they continue, they will find the answers. You want the learner primed to learn, excited to move on.

His take home message in the article is pretty compelling: The debate should not be whether games teach; instead, the debate should be how we leverage the best elements of games to create the best instruction for learners.

What do you think?

 

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eLearning 2013

6 08 2013

Are you back in the swing of school? Are there terms you are hearing (“gamification”, “mlearning” etc.) or other words you’ve been coming across that you aren’t sure you know? Check out Ms. Marshall’s post: 10 Terms You Should Know in eLearning and get familiar with the language of eLearning today!

We were lucky to hear some excellent speakers this year at some educational technology conferences.  One stand-out speaker was Sugata Mitra. He is the 2013 TED winner of $1,000,000 for his latest endeavor in education.  You probably heard of his “hole in the wall” computer project 13 years ago in India. His talk this year involves what he learned from that project, and also some newer projects where he is convinced that kids can teach themselves with the proper encouragement. It was a fascinating talk. You can listen to the lecture at this link: Highlights from Bb World — if you want to skip directly to his talk, move the player about 11 minutes into the video. You can also watch his TED talk Build a School in the Cloud. 

Additionally, be on the lookout for a post from Mary describing a ‘book club’ event we’ll be hosting this Fall. We found the keynote Tony Wagner to be so compelling that we’re looking at purchasing his book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” and hope to hold a discussion about some of his ideas to revamp education. Here is a recap on his talk, Closing the Skills Gap by Educating Innovators.

Stayed tuned for more information as we sift through all of our notes and find more valuable apps and links to share with you all!








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