Friday, April 19, 2013

Reading, Writing in the World of Gaming





This week we focused on reading, writing in the world of gaming.  After reading the article, Why Virtual Worlds Matter by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, I started to think differently about video games. Before reading this article I never really thought about video games as learning tools. This article is about the virtual worlds and why they are more than “just games” Virtual words are avatar-based social spaces that provide players or participants with the ability to engage in long-term, joint coordinated action. Players create and shape the world they inhabit. Some of the games the article is referring to are World of Warcraft, EVE Online, and Star Wars Galaxies. People who play these games like the sense of being with others and communicating. Game players are motivated to create teams, groups, and guilds. Game players work together to solve problems. Players are forced to adapt to constant changes in games. Shared interests such as video games bring people together and gives people the sense of being with others and sharing space virtually. Participants form groups when playing games and face challenges that they have to act together to overcome. These games are learning environments. Virtual worlds require us to think about knowing, rather than knowledge. Some players even create wikis and modules for interactive experiences.  Players in world of Warcraft can buy, sell, and trade items creating an economy in the virtual world.  This can teach students about finances at a young age. Games that provide experiences help determine and define identity. Games that change as a result of experiences are MMOGs. “Most traditional models of learning suggest a two step process in the movement from learning about to learning to be. Initially, people learn the basics or fundamentals about a topic or context through “scaffolding,” or acquiring enough information to make sense of languages, ideas and practices which constituted a specific domain of knowledge, at that point, as one becomes immersed within the culture or sets of practices where one starts down the path of “learning to be,” engaging in the practices and absorbing the tacit knowledge that forms the cultural and social underpinnings for a community. Virtual worlds invert that process. Instead of “learning about,” participants in virtual worlds engage with the world by learning to be.”


Learning Conversations in World of Warcraft by Bonnie A. Nardi, Stella Ly, Justin Harris

Three kinds of learning are described in this article: fact finding, devising tactics/strategy, and acquiring game ethos. The article analyzes conversations with peers. World of Warcraft is one of the most popular online video games. Players develop characters that explore, fight, socialize, make money and advance 60 levels of play. Since 2005 there has been ongoing fieldwork in “WoW”.  The fieldwork included in-depth interviews, collection of chat logs, and reading documents. The research was guided by Vgotsky’s notion of the zone of proximal development- the learner advances by taking on a challenge and using resources supplied to meet the challenge. It is what the reader can do with and without the aid of the teacher. Chat conversation is a means of learning “WoW”, but not the only means. Players can also observe other players and learn from their mistakes. Characters in WoW are created and labeled. The writers of the article completed 25 months of fieldwork and monitored chat logs where emotion was present. These chats were also a source for fact finding. Overall virtual games require skill, knowledge, and communication and I think playing can teach all of those. I think that it is good for students to play video games, but I don’t think they should be playing for hours a day. I feel like most of these video games are too advanced for elementary students.



Do you think video games are a valid teaching tool? Are you in a school that already uses video games to teach?
Would you use video games as teaching tools? Why or why not?
Do you think video games are educational? What do you think makes a video game educational?
What skills can students learn from video games?
How can we best teach the “gamer” generation?

Interactive and Collaborative Learning 4/7/2013



April 7, 2013

                                                  
The article, Connecting Two worlds: Collaboration between Higher Education and Cooperative Learning by Elliott Masie is about college students and corporations collaborating to learn from each other. College students and corporations both face rapidly changing technology base. “Higher education and corporate learning are ideal candidates for ongoing collaboration. Yet these two worlds are almost 99 percent disconnected.” Colleges and corporations can benefit from being connected for video collaboration. For example:

- Plasma screens in the classroom showing experts can make for debate in the classroom.
-       An English professor might have the ability to do a ten-minute video visit to an editor’s office at a news magazine for a video conversation about editing and copy proofing.
-       Alumni could add themselves to a list of coaches who are willing to work with students for interviews with potential employees.

After reading the Georgetown University website, I learned the university was looking for ways to improve their teacher and learning. They effectively started using technology.
 Students at Georgetown effectively use technology to enhance their learning by: allowing students to connect with diverse cultural perspectives and experts around the word, helping students learn to write critically and communicate effectively using today’s media, providing a highly-interactive learning environment of meaningful feedback, whether socially through blogs or through computer-based adaptive systems, teaching research skills to explore the words challenges, teaching students how to work with and interpret data, bringing real life issues into classroom through readings, guest speakers discussions projects, pushing students to reflect on their lives and making personal connections, extending classroom discussion and reflection into community-based work. I think that all colleges should take advantage of today’s technology. As an elementary school teacher, I would use technology in the classroom to connect with diverse students and experts from around the world.

Flat Classroom 3/31/2013


March 31, 2013




Discuss your experience so far with your students. What comments have you made on their work and how are their wikis coming along? Did you have any issues with bridging the student-adviser gap? Any hurdles or barriers to overcome?

At first I had some difficulty with the wiki, but I have become more familiar with flat classroom over the past few weeks. I am an expert adviser for flattener #10 group 9: Mobile and Ubiquitous. Ubiquitous means present, appearing, or found everywhere. Mobile refers to portable communication devices. This topic has to do with mobile connections being everywhere. Laptops and smartphones are the most common mobile and ubiquitous devices. Both teams have worked hard on their wikis. I made a few comments about grammar and spelling.  I told them they left some areas on the wiki blank and they need to add more information. I told them to let me know if they had any questions. Unfortunately, the students still haven’t made any changes to the wiki of responded to my comments.
Although we are the tech advisers, we might not be experts on the topic. 

Have you learned anything new working with your students on these topics? Feel free to share a snippet of their work, a link, article, or more.
Both groups added a lot of interesting information and graphics. Below are some examples of student work.

Team A:
How are cell phones changing the world and making it faster to get in touch with people around the globe?
The more high tech cell phones get the faster they get it's much easier and faster to get in touch with people. Computers, cell phones, the internet, and emails changes how the world works and communicates. One good thing about cell phones, emails, computers and the internet is it's easier and faster to get in touch with someone. One bad thing about cell phones, emails, computers and the internet is that kids are learning how to misspell words at a young age and how to use text language and look up bad information at a young age. More people now have access to emails and the internet a lot of people admit that they take advantage of these sources at school or work. "Majorities of residents in 37 of the 47 countries surveyed now own a cell phone, including 98% of Czechs and Kuwaitis, and 97% of South Koreans, as well as two-thirds of Nigerians (67%) and residents of Ivory Coast (66%). While large differences persist in the overall rate of cell phone ownership in the rich and poor nations, this gap appears to be narrowing rapidly." The more computers grow and our nation is changing.



Team B: 6 steroids
• The first steroid: Computing power. in 1971, the Intel 4004 microprocessor contained 2,3000 transistors. Intel's Tianium processor has 1.7 billion transistors in 2006.
• The second steroid: Breakthroughs in instant messaging, peer-to-peer networks and file sharing.
• The third steroid: Breakthroughs in making phone calls over the Internet (VOIP) -- Skype.
• The fourth steroid: Videoconferencing -- people can collaborate, "communicate their thoughts, facial expressions, feelings, ire, enthusiasm, and raised eyebrows."
• The fifth steroid:Advances in computer graphics. "Video games are particularly important in this regard, because in addition to their very realistic visual images and great sound, they are highly interactive and increasingly collaborative." (p.194).
• The sixth steroid: Wireless technologies and devices. In Japan, you can get uninterrupted wireless internet service on your computer or cell phone while traveling on the bullet train at 150 mph. According to Tamon Mitsuishi, senior VP at DoCoMo, the Japanese cellular giant, " the mobile phone will become the essential controller of a person's life. For example, in the medical field it will be your authentication system and you can examine your medical records, and to make payments you will have to hold a mobile phone. You will not be able to lead a life without a mobile phone, and it will control things at home too. We believe that we need to expand the range of machines that can be controlled by mobile phone."

Now that you have looked at the other projects through Flat Classroom, can you envision completing one with your classroom or student you work with? “The Flat Classroom® Project is a global, collaborative project using Web 2.0 tools to foster connection, communication, collaboration and creation.” What about implementing the ideas behind Flat Classroom on your own? How would you flatten your classroom?

I don’t know if I would use flat classroom in my classroom because I don’t think elementary students would know how to use this wiki. I think flat classroom is great for older students. This project has taught me a lot and I am looking forward to hearing more feedback from the students.


Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing 3/24/2013


March 24, 2013

                             

This week, I learned more about Wikipedia and how to use it in the classroom.
I do sometimes look up information on Wikipedia, but I have never collaborated on Wikipedia. Most educators don’t want their students to use Wikipedia as a source of information because it isn’t a credible source. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone and false information can remain on it for an extended period of time.
One of the articles I read this week is: How today’s college students use Wikipedia for course-related research by Alison J.Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, this article is about how and why students use Wikipedia to do research for school work. The Majority of students who were surveyed said they do use Wikipedia for background information, but not as much as they use other resources. Reasons that students use Wikipedia are: Wikipedia gives a summary on a topic, the meaning of related terms, gets students started on their research, and it is easy to use. Students who were majoring in architecture, engineering, or other sciences were more likely to use Wikipedia. Over half of the students surveyed used Wikipedia- even if a professor told them not to. Some students said that they could not start their research until they knew what they were writing about. I can relate to that because if I want to know what something means or where to start my research, I will sometimes start with Wikipedia. The article, Learning outcomes and students’ perceptions of online writing: Simultaneous implementation of a forum, blog, and wiki in an EFL blended learning setting by Terumi Miyazoe and Terry Anderson is about the effectiveness of forums, blogs, and wikis in a foreign teaching practice.  In Taiwan, Wu reported an 18-week blog course where students had to carry out a peer review. The results showed little progress n the students’ writing skills. Murray and Hourigan’s study used the blog in an academic writing class with students majoring in different languages. Students were to reflect on their language learning process on the blog. The students had a positive experience with the blog. These are just a few of the studies that have been done on blogs. Overall the studies claim that the three different writing tools have a positive effect on students’ language learning process.

Connectivism, Social Media and Participatory Learning 3/17/2013


March 17,2013

This week we focused on the role of connectivism, social media in participatory culture.
I read Opening Plenary at NMC 2010 by Mimi Ito. She is a cultural anthropoligist who studies new media use in Japan and the US. She talks about the three principles: Knowledge of power, originality and appropriation, and assessment vs. reputation. Mimi made some very good points-  google isn’t making us stupid; we are just not using it the way we should. She talks about us expecting students to do original work after giving them the same and standardized assignments. This is such a great point, but with all of the standardized testing it’s so hard for teachers to do anything different. We are seeing an evolution of video ecology and we have to learn how to incorporate this creativity into our classrooms. Students can still do what is expected of them, but with some creativity. I think that the creativity depends on the teacher. It will probably be hard for older teachers who are used to teaching a certain way to incorporate any kind of technology into their classes.  After reading the article, Investigating Instructional Strategies for Using Social Media and Informal Learning by Baiyun Chen and Thomas Bryer, I was surprised to read that despite popular use of online social media, a low percentage of students and teachers use them for educational purposes. Social media has been defined in different ways. For this study, we use the definition advanced by Bryer and Zavatarro (2011, p. 327): “Social media are technologies that facilitate social interaction, make possible collaboration, and enable deliberation across stakeholders. These technologies include blogs, wikis, media (audio, photo, video, text) sharing tools, networking platforms (including Facebook), and virtual worlds.” The technologies of particular interest in this study are those that are web-mediated, thus falling within the realm of read/write collaborative Web 2.0 tools (Bryer & Zavatarro, 2011). These contrast with media tools that have social features, but which may not connect individuals or groups through the Internet (e.g., response system technology, Rishel 2011). I think that social media is our future. As older teachers retire and young, creative teachers take over, we will see more and more social media being used in classrooms.

 This week my group and I used Xtranormal to create our webquest movie. We have never used Xtranormal before. We had a lot of fun putting this together. I would definitely use this in my classroom.
http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/14274446/presidentz-movie


                                   

Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing 3/10/2013


March 10, 2013

This week I used Screenr to present how to use Wiki’s in the classroom. I have never used Screenr prior to this assignment. It was very easy to learn and fun to work with.

Here is my presentation on Wiki's in the classroom:
http://www.screenr.com/GxE7
                                                     

YouTube, TeacherTube, and the Future of Shared Online Video Open 3/3/13



March 3, 2013 module 5: YouTube, TeacherTube, and the Future of Shared Online Video Open

                                 
This week we explored the use of online videos such as YouTube. As a future educator, I would incorporate online videos in the classroom everyday. I would encourage students to go on www.youtube.com/schools, which is a program like YouTube that has thousands of educational videos in a safe and controlled environment. The teachers choose what videos are available to students. Some other good teacher online video sites are www.SchoolTube.com, which has videos from students and teachers everywhere. www.watchknowlearn.org, which has free educational videos grades K-12.This website has a review panel of educators that watch the videos before they are submitted. www.Khanacademy.org has a library of lessons on every topic students can watch.
My only concern with videos in the classroom is that it may be difficult to filter inappropriate videos. I don’t think I would use videos as a homework requirement because some students do not have access to technology at home. I would probably focus on educational sites to find videos to use in my classroom. After doing some research, I found the websites above to be useful. I have never posted a video online before. 

Educational Blogging, Podcasting, and Oral Histories in the Literacy Classroom.




This week we focused on Educational Blogging, Podcasting, and Oral Histories in the Literacy Classroom.


My group used Prezi to present our Web 2.0 tools. We had the topics of: Academia.edu, LiveBinders, LinkedIn, and GoodReads. Deborah researched GoodReads, Nicole researched LinkedIn, and I researched LiveBinders and Academia.edu. I have to admit, I didn’t really enjoy using the academia.edu site. I think it is probably better for students who are in doctorate programs. I am very happy that I was able to research LiveBinders because I found this site to be very useful. We put all of our presentations on the Prezi. We love using Glogster because it allows us to be creative. This was my first time using Prezi and I really enjoyed it.