Thursday, February 20, 2014

a trip down memory lane to Switzerland

A colleague of mine recently mentioned the ThinkQuest site as a place for students to browse and create projects. Early in my teaching career I was asked to help "coach" a ThinkQuest competition team, and the team made it to the finals in Switzerland. There were three students involved, one from Salisbury where I was teaching, one from Taiwan, and one from Estonia. They were were great to work with, and it was a wonderful experience.

If you're interested, you can check out their creation here: The Learning Curve.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Comment Spam

It seems that comment spammers haven't figured out that their efforts are ineffective. They are still trying to post a paragraph (sometimes copied directly from the post itself) followed by a link to an unrelated website.

Usually I just ignore them and delete without reading, but since I'm usually careful to proofread my writing this one actually made me smile.

naturally like your web site but you need to take a look 
at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it 
very bothersome to tell the reality nevertheless I will definitely come again again.


The link has been removed, of course, and I didn't allow the comment to go live. However I just thought I'd share an example of comment spam.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Gamification Challenges

If you're interested in learning more about gamification, I set up some challenges for a session at Convention last week. I'm reposting them here. Unfortunately we won't have a leaderboard or group discussions though.

  1. Come up with a definition for gamification.
  2. Identify the difference between gamified and game-based learning.
  3. Consider how you think student motivation might be affected by gamified learning.
  4. Consider how you think learner self-efficacy might be affected by gamified learning.
  5. Decide whether or not to continue working on these challenges.
  6. Read the Wikipedia article on gamification.
  7. Do a survey of those around you to see what percentage of them play games (video games, board games, sports, etc.).
  8. Reflect and share how gamification might be similar to some things you've tried in the past.
  9. Discuss how gamification might affect student engagement.
  10. Investigate Csikszentmihalyi's concept of "flow" as it relates to games and/or learning.
  11. Find a peer-reviewed academic article on the benefits (or risks) of gamification.
  12. Discuss how gamification might align with Inspiring Education, High School Flexibility, and/or Curriculum Redesign.
  13. Read about Quest to Learn (Q2L), a public school in New York City.
  14. Find and share an example of gamified learning, such as the UofA's EDU210:
  15. Share online (social media, blog, etc.) an example of gamification, in education or some other field.
  16. Explore how "serious games" (also called persuasive games or applied games) are similar to and different from gamified environments.
  17. Check out "Games for Change", "", and "Play to Cure: Genes in Space".
  18. Brainstorm a quick and easy way you (or someone you know) can quickly and easily gamify something.
  19. Come up with a list of things to consider when designing gamified activities or environments.
  20. Watch a TED talk by Jane McGonigal, Gabe Zichermann, Seth Priebatsch, Ali Carr-Chellman, Tom Chatfield, or Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
  21. Read about some of the criticisms of gamification, such as Ian Bogost's "exploitationware", Jane McGonigal's "gameful design", or others who discuss dangers of extrinsic motivation.
  22. Have an extended conversation about why gamification might or might not be a good idea.
  23. Write about your experiences with gamification (either here or elsewhere) in your blog, journal, social media, or on paper.
  24. Come up with three pairs of statements in the form "I used to think _____, now I think _____.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Simon Breakspear - Innovative Learning Environments

I've heard Simon Breakspear speak a couple of times lately, including at Convention last week, and I've been very impressed. Here's a YouTube clip of him talking about "How do the innovative learning environments get created?"