And finally.

Well assignment 2 posted to EASTS and now uploaded to slideshare. Now I just need to finish the presentation, or polish it up a bit and away we go. I’m not sure what is happening on Monday, or Tuesday can’t remember at the moment, but I’m not going to stress.
My main concern was getting the notes down to 1500 words. The area was so big I’m afraid I’ve wasted words on stuff that I should have glossed over instead of leaving more words for the main part. I don’t know. Regardless I’ve learned lots about DC that I didn’t know before and about the positive aspects of online games. The readings have been great and I’d fully recommend them to any teachers thinking about using online games as a club or in their classroom. I’m now contemplating using QUEST ATLANTIS with my kids next term. I’ve also found some other online games that are worth exploring as they may be useful for school. The Educational Games research blog provides a good list.
So here is the presentation. Let me know what you think. Sorry I can’t post the notes as I have to save them for Judy until it’s all been marked. I certainly don’t want her to think I plagarised them!

Enjoy!

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Reality is broken

I’m not sure any of my research is going to really help with my assignment for Judy but I was quite excited when my blog came number 1 in the search for digital citizenship and gamification. That tells me that not many people seem to be writing/blogging about this area yet. I’ve also found it challenging to find anything that points to an obvious link between gaming and digital citizenship in the research.
However I did find a few more interesting links out there. Adventures in Educational Blogging pointed me in the direction of Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal.I haven’t read it yet but I’m hoping it will shed more light on the games/ digital citizenship arena.

Further posts worthy of exploring are The Dangers of Gamification in Education. and the reply by Kathy Sierra.
It appears that gamification and gaming are very different. Games work because people enjoy playing them but gamification seem to imply that we need to create a points system so learners will be motivated and engaged. However research by Pink has demonstrated that points/ rewards work on manual tasks but anything cognitive is actually damaged by the reward system. So first point I need to be very careful about the terminology I use. Games NOT gamification.

Off to the Philippines tomorrow for some R and R. I have more to read than I can possibly cope with and I’m hoping to come back with a large chunk of this assignment in place. Hopefully the family will disappear off diving and then I can get down to some serious study. Hope the internet connection is not too wobbly!

Blue Orchid Resort here we come.

Games and learning

Reading this article by Oblinger has made me think further about education games and the gamification of learning and education. Games engage us and motivate. They have a powerful potential which could enable students to learn information, skills and change attitudes and ways of thinking.

They provide an opportunity to be involved in a  collaborative community in which older or more established players act as mentors for novices. The community share ideas, solve problems, socialize and work together to move things forward. Players are required to accept a set of values so they can integrate with other members of the community.

This is all very well but how does this link to digital citizenship. I looked very closely at the iste nets standards for students. They state that being able to use technology is no longer enough and that today’s learners must be able to use technology to analyze, learn and explore. Under 5b Digital Citizenship they state that students should display a positive attitude towards using technology that supports collaboration, learning and productivity. 5c Digital Citizenship states that learners should demonstrate a personal responsibility for life long learning and 5d exhibit leadership for digital citizenship. I would argue that using games does all of this. Games allow learners to take on leadership roles whilst collaborating with others in the virtual environment. Being engaged, as many gamers obviously are, illustrates that life long learning is more than just a label but a true possibility. And finally that the opportunities through games for collaboration and learning are endless. In fact most of the 6 standards would be able to be achieved through game play.

However it is here we need to be a little more circumspect. The key is how the teacher utilizes the game and for what learning outcome. Just like another tools thought needs to be given as to how it is going to blend with the curriculum and to what effect? Can it be blended successfully with the current educational tool kit?

Other question the gamification of education raises are;

1. What happens to internet addiction when study and learning are linked closely to games?

2.  Is the hardware up to the job? is it appropriately configured and available for extended hours? Is the right equipment available such as headphones and working mics?

3. Are all the other networking tools that gamers need available?  Networked communication systems are a must. (Chat, IM, e-mail?)

 Games are still in an early stage of evolution. Although they can be effective learning environments, not all games are effective nor are all games educational. Games are now being designed based on learning theory and research. Their effectiveness rests on the massively multiplayer immersive worlds they create, where learners “learn to be” and a social network surrounds the learner. The time has come for games to be reintegrated with education, ending a longstanding rift between work and play. Oblinger (2006)

Are we ready for this change or do we remain rooted in the smoggy industrial past? Is the recent interest and push for games based learning based on research? Is it the educational tool of choice or just a current fad? Further reading and learning required!

 

Machine Learning