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Posts Tagged ‘answers

Last Saturday, I delivered a keynote and participated in a panel on game-based learning and gamification.

I had questions that I could not address in the limited time during my keynote as well as the panel at the end of the conference. These were from the pre-conference poll.

I wish to address these questions, but I will focus only on questions that I understand.

How to tie in GBL with small-wins or short-term rewards?

I have no idea how to do this with GBL because I have not implemented GBL with this design or intent. Nor will I ever. During the keynote I described how games could be integrated to focus on thinking skills, attitudes, values, and intrinsic motivation. These take time to develop and I would rather invest in these.

How would I use this technique if the University has a set of rules I have to follow and present?

The university (or partner university in your case) is unlikely to have rules about pedagogy. If it did, that is not a university that is looking to serve for today and tomorrow.

You know the content, context, and your learners best. The WHAT of a prescribed curriculum might be very full. The HOW is your responsibility and limited by your creativity.

Must it be IT based?

The “it” could be games or gamification. Both could be enabled with current technology or not. I gave examples of both during the keynote, so I have addressed that part of the question.

Here is the other part: ICT is a more current term than IT since the former is often more interactive and multi-way while the latter is more transmissive and about regulations.

What types of subjects are suitable for game based learning?

Any and all of them are suitable, especially if you do not limit yourself to content-based learning and expand the possibilities to include critical and creative thinking, socio-emotional learning, soft skills, attitudes and values, etc.

Can Gamification ideas be implemented not through a game but just mere teaching activity?

Gamification does not employ games; it uses deconstructed elements of games, e.g., points, levelling up, leaderboards.

Your question seems to hint at game-like instruction. There are strategies like putting the problem (assessment) first or early, and focusing on just-in-time learning instead of just-in-case front loading.

I would like to try this approach but I am afraid it might take up a lot of the class time. How do I go about it without sacrificing too much of the contact time?

Can you have a cake and not eat it? ūüėČ

Something has to give and if it comes to that, you might have to use your judgement to see what to push out in order include something else.

How viable would it be to introduce gamification within a primary/secondary school classroom? The aim is to use gaming elements to increase engagement between the students and the teacher.

It is certainly viable, as apparent by the number of vendors and parties outside of schooling and higher education who want to do this.

Unfortunately, these groups sell you on the low-hanging fruit of “increased engagement”. Do not play this game because this is not why any technology-mediated strategy should be used.

Trying to engage is like trying to take control of light switches: You try to flip them on so that your students see the light. But they are just as easy to switch off or learners can move on to something else.

Engagement is something you do to try to help your students; empowerment is something you pass to students so they help everyone. By all means engage, but do not forget to empower. Vendors might tell you how to engage with gamification; I would rather see learners empowered by game-based learning.

how to know which game is appropirate [sic] for teaching when we don’t game?

You do not and cannot know. So play!

My replies to these questions might have a perceived tone. I assure the askers that my replies come from a good place and with good intent: I want us to collectively change and improve our practice.

Participants of the session observed how the panel and I approached the Q&A. The same tone and concern should be applied here.

Yesterday I responded to a query about how flipping drives discovery and student-directed learning.

Today I answer a question about how students might not discover the “right” content by discovering or Googling. I have a few responses.

The first is doing away with the notion that students “get it” only when a teacher delivers content. This is merely an illusion because there is no indication or confirmation that learning has happened.

My second response is that one way to be more certain about student learning is to get students to create content and to teach it. These processes help both students and teachers to see evidence of learning.

My third reply is that teaching wrong content happens anyway, not just in the flipped classroom or when you facilitate flipped learning. Both the student and teacher can be guilty of this. However, when the learning is visible the teacher can jump in and intervene.

Three dimensions of flipped learning.

This is why I include content creation and peer teaching in my model of flipped learning.

Peer teaching is something that instructors can do with strategies like think-pair-share, any variant of the jigsaw method, and class presentations. Content creation might be viewed as a prerequisite for this form of teaching. Without artefacts students have nothing to show during the tell.

However, content creation does not always have to be on the teacher scale or standard. The content that students create can also be externalisations or manifestations of what is in their minds. These can take the form of short reflections, practiced problems, recorded conversations, summary documents, etc.

My fourth response is to agree that simply copying and pasting Google search results may not be valuable learning. Most teachers tend to focus on content from an expert’s point of view. This is how they judge if content is good or not, and right or wrong. However, this is not how a learner processes information because s/he does not have structure.

The structure is put in place by thinking processes. So instead of just focusing on content (what artefacts students find and use), the teacher should also model processes of learning. For example:

  • How do I look for information?
  • How do I verify information or evaluate it?
  • How do I incorporate it into my own work?

This response is not unique to flipping. But a focus on process over product is particularly important in flipped learning because one desired outcome is students who are more independent learners.

Yesterday I reflected on my long-running integration of Padlet in my courses and workshops. I intend to share screenshots of two sets of takeaways and questions from participants at the end of a workshop on flipped learning. I address one concern today and another tomorrow.

Flipped learning takeaway and question.

One concern was whether students uncover content in the way the teacher intended.

I am glad that the participant used the word “uncover” because that was something we practised during the workshop. Uncovering is based on discovery and not on the traditional notions of a fixed curriculum, recipe-like strategies, and narrow outcomes.

This does not mean that the process is haphazard. In the past, I have described the implementation as creating serendipity.

One way to design the learning experience is to envision a large plot of land in which you have buried opportunities for learners to unearth. They not only dig up treasures (content-based learning about), they also figure out how to problem seek and problem solve (skills-based learning to be).
 

 
My reply to the query is that a strategy like flipping is a means of transferring the ownership of learning to the students. While the teacher is concerned with curriculum, schemes of work, worksheets, and other standard practices, these are not always congruent with the overall design and ultimate goal of flipping.

To put it simply, the standard terms, practices, and tools that a teacher is comfortable with are not necessarily what learners understand and need. The teacher may be armed with a spoon to feed; the students need shovels and other more varied and complex tools.

The teacher may be prepared to deliver; the students need to discover. It is inevitable that the scope of what the teacher expects will be much narrower than what the students discover.

Returning to my analogy of the plot of land with buried treasure, what if students discover relevant and useful nuggets elsewhere? What if they go beyond just digging (e.g., clicking on links in web quests) to surveying with drones and satellites (e.g., Googling, YouTubing) or communicating with previous treasure hunters (e.g., tweeting content experts, consulting Facebook contacts)?

One concern that teachers might have is what if students unearth the “wrong” things? I address that concern tomorrow.

I could go on about why this quote might almost singularly represent pedagogical change, but I could also challenge you to Google for answers.

I could also explain how I created the image quote, but you can easily use Google to find out how. But I will share the original CC-licensed image below.
 

Over the last two weeks, I had the privilege of conducting two workshops for groups of motivated instructors from a local institute of higher learning.

As usual, they had a slew of questions. While I think I was able to address some of them during the workshops, there were others that were submitted to me via a Google Form that I did not get to. This is my attempt to answer those questions.

How to measure the effectiveness of flip classroom teaching & learning?

You might be tempted to say test the learners. I say let us not feed the test machine because it is fat, lazy, and greedy. Tests are not necessarily the standard for the effectiveness of flipping.

This question is also about two aspects: Teaching and learning. Teaching does not necessarily lead to learning. Ideally this is the case in the flipped classroom (which focuses on the teacher’s efforts); this is not necessarily the case in flipped learning (which focuses on the learners’ efforts).

However, to get a measure of effectiveness of both the flipped classroom and flipped, learning, you might consider:

  • increased attendance (reduced truancy);
  • increased motivation or interest in a subject;
  • more critical and creative thinking, and better attitudes.

In other words, I recommend operating outside the test box because flipping is an opportunity to do things differently.


How do we assess whether students are able to grasp the particular learning outcome from flipped classroom learning?

If you have academic outcomes that need to be addressed, you might approach this the same way as non-flipped courses. You could do this as long as those approaches do not undermine the flipping efforts.

For example, no or low stakes quizzes might be fine if you design them for formative assessment and just-in-time teaching. But if you and your students only need to prepare for a single major test, then both of you will rationalize that everything else is not important. You will then focus only on the test results.

Instead, design for formative feedback and measures of change in attitudes, behaviours, and performance. This might involve the inputs and approval of administrators and policymakers, and this is how flipping can be a strategic key element in systemic change.


If a student did not read or prepare the materials in advance (regardless of reasons), how can facilitaton be continued when the class meets

and

How to avoid re-teaching the “flipped content” when learners come back to class unprepared (not read or viewed or attempted pre-lesson activities)

and

How to motivate students to do flipped learning when they want to be spoon fed all the time?

Reduce the urge to re-deliver content; it is the students’ responsibility to consume content outside class in a flipped classroom. If you re-deliver, you undo your efforts to flip and undermine the efforts of the students who did their part.

Instead you could:

  1. apply social pressure by not repeating the content;
  2. not punish students who had legitimate reasons for not consuming content beforehand by creating a learning station or corner for that purpose;
  3. design for flipped learning (make the learner the content creator and teacher) instead of relying on the flipped classroom model.

Flipping requires that you starve an old and irrelevant monster. Feed it and it will gain strength and take control again.


Is flipped learning suitable for Year 1 Sem 1 students (freshie)?

The flipped classroom and flipped learning is not dependent on age, ability, or aptitude. It is up to the creativity and care of the teacher who flips his or her classroom. Anyone can and should create and teach content, and that is why teachers should flip the learning.


When a group of students have prepared the content and they are presenting, how to get the other students interested in their presentation?

This is not just an issue of the flipped classroom. You cannot make anyone interested in something they have no stake in. So create that sense of ownership and give it to them. How you do this is a function of your experience, creativity, and care for your learners.


How to design flipped learning effectively if my class consists of students of diverse learning abilities/motivation?

The method I modelled was to use station-based learning. The stations were pitched at different levels and needs, but were designed with the same learning outcomes.

Another important method is projects where students learn by creating content and teaching based on where they are at and with something they can relate to.


What motivations are there for students to look at the materials outside of their official classroom hours?

If they have no stake or interest in it, frankly none. You are asking them to watch, read, or listen to your content or your interest. That is a function of teaching.

Focusing on the learner and learning is about figuring out what makes our students tick. Instead of answers, I ask some questions in return:

  • What makes them gravitate towards YouTube videos?
  • Why do they want to spend time on certain forms of social media?
  • How to they get the energy to pursue their passions?

I have said this before and I will say it again: Questions drive learning, not answers.

I am not saying that you do not learn after you get a question satisfactorily answered. However, what pulls a learner in to seek answers in the first place are questions.


Video source

Do not just take it from me. The inventor of the Rubik’s cube, ErnŇĎ Rubik, had this to say:

That’s the problem with old schooling, because they were teaching answers. I believe questions are probably more important today than the answers.

An issue most schools might not realize they have is that they are set up to provide answers to unasked questions. The biggest question is: Why do I need to learn this? For learning to be powerful and meaningful, schools must reorient to be driven by questions.

On a related note, I discovered this in the exit poll of my session at SST’s event on Monday:

Is the time right for workshops on the Pedagogy of Questions?


Video source

If someone asked you a question like “What would you take to a deserted island?‚ÄĚ you could provide an assortment of answers, just like the people did in the video above.

You could also react in a few ways.

The first way is refusing to answer.

The second is providing an answer with barely a thought. This is something an author at TNW advocated recently when he suggested that being dumb is smarter than being smart. While there is much immediacy and honesty to such a response, the suggestion seemed to be built on the premise of not overthinking things.

The example the writer cited was how you might respond to a question: Do you want an orange? You could dimply say yes or no, or you could wonder if the asker had ulterior motives.

A simple question warrants a simple answer. That makes sense. But life rarely has simple questions or answers. If schools are meant to prepare kids for life, they should not focus on just the simple questions or the simple-to-grade questions.

This leads to the third way: Answering the deserted island question by asking clarifying questions first. Just think of the questions you could ask. Now think about which questions are better than others. Then think about how we might teach kids to think like this and productively distinguish the critical questions from the criticizing, time-wasting ones.

This might be a good starting exercise in my dream workshop on the Pedagogy of Questions.


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