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Posts Tagged ‘game

 
I read this CNET article on a game for social emotional learning (SEL).

It sounds like an interesting development. And I get it. I also think that these forms of learning (along with higher order thinking) are more important aspects of game-based learning than just content.

But I wonder, aren’t good games that are not designed specifically for SEL already social and emotional events?

Like it or not, what we use or believe in divides us into tribes. Often these same tribes pit themselves one against the other.

Consider the iOS vs Android camps, qualitative vs quantitative researchers, or any A vs B political parties.

Like it or not, stereotypes of each tribe are based on some truth. Like how folks who play only the numbers game see what they do as a popularity contest.

At last month’s department meeting, I used a recent annual report we wrote to illustrate the importance of a narrative over simple numbers.

I am going to use the another example at our next meeting to reinforce that point.

Consider the Twitter followers that entity X has (currently at 11,045) and what I have (currently curated at 743). By that measure alone, X is more successful than I am. If you consider how I have been on Twitter longer, then I must be failing badly to win followers.

But here are the missing narratives. X has used prizes and gimmicks to get the followers. I cull my list of followers and prevent up to 1,500 from following me every month (why I do this [1] [2] [video]).

Let us return to the numbers game.

If you use a tool like StatusPeople Faker Scores, the analysis of X’s followers looks like this.
faker1

Mine looks like this.
faker2

To continue with the narrative, I could ask if

  • quantity is preferred over quality
  • dissemination trumps conversation
  • old mindsets can pair with new tools

I know where I stand.

If you play only the numbers game, someone who can play that game better than you will beat you. Or someone will uncover unflattering numbers.

If you focus on a fuzzy prize like the hard-to-measure quality, the quantity will come.

If you focus on listening and networking, then your power is no longer based on position but on reputation instead.

If you put new wine on old wineskins, the latter will burst.

If that last reference is too old school to understand, then ask yourself if you can stuff an HD movie into a diskette. You cannot do this not just because of the file size but also the fact that it will be tough to find diskettes and disk drives.

The sad thing is that while diskettes are rare, dinosaurs are not. Not the bird dinosaurs but the human ones. The same ones who will bite with their number games.

Bite back!

It is Friday and time for something light.


Video source

Safwat Saleem created this wonderful animation that explores the origins and evolution of video games we know today.

Video games may have started in Science labs and military bases, but they have exploded almost everywhere else today. Everywhere except many classrooms.

But I expect that to change soon. I do not just hope that will change. I have taken action. I show teachers how you can use off-the-shelf games to teach just about anything.

It is not the game that determines or limits what is taught or learnt. It is the designer of the activity that does this.

Thanks to @NikoChenzh, I learnt about the iOS game Clash of Clans. Now my son and I are hooked on it.

What is the game like?

You have to maintain a village of warriors by starting from scratch. You clear the land, build infrastructure, train troops, go on raids, harvest resources, defend your land, etc. You know, stuff that could happen in life but in a more engaging way. It is not easy, but it is heaps of fun simply because it is difficult.

Like most games of this ilk, there is just-in-time instruction at the beginning, progressively difficult but motivating tasks, and opportunities to compete and collaborate. It has all the ingredients of what makes games good and all the hallmarks of good game-based learning.

Anybody can play the game. Anybody can teach it too. This is a kid offering some advice on YouTube about the game.


Video source

Did he have to share? No.

Did he want to share? I am quite certain he did and mostly on his own. If those tips do not suffice, there is this forum and a wiki.

Those resources are not perfect, but that is perfectly fine because they are part of the process of learning, not just the end product. Both will only get better with time.

This sort of self-directed and loose collaborative learning are the main reasons why I believe in off-the-shelf video game-based learning.

I hate the people who play the numbers game and manipulate it to their favour. These might include politicians, policymakers, and researchers.

If you have any data, you can do all sorts of analysis to make yourself look good and someone else look bad (even though the opposite is true). Researchers might do this to get continued funding, policymakers to push an agenda, and politicians to strike fear.

One such figure is the average PISA ranking of students in the USA. It is in the murky middle and this is used to justify changes in schooling to better test scores.

But as Scott McLeod and Michael Petrill point out, the average number can be deceiving. To quote Petrill:

In raw numbers, the U.S. produces many more high-achieving students than any other OECD nation—more high-achievers than France, Germany, and the UK combined (both in reading and in math).

On the downside, in raw numbers, the U.S. also produces many more low-achieving students (both in reading and in math) than any other OECD nation, including Mexico and Turkey.

If you examine the report in Petrill’s article, it notes that:

In math, the total number of highachieving students in the U.S.—over 417,000—is nearly as great as the number of all high math achievers in Japan and Korea combined. In reading, the total number of high-achieving students in the U.S.—about 415,000—is greater that of Japan, Korea, and France combined.

The fact is that the USA might rely on its high-achieving students to maintain its competitive edge. Even those who do not score well in tests might have the creative edge that students from other countries do not [my reflection on this].

Trying to extrapolate economic competitiveness from test scores is like trying to predict how many great CEOs or inventors a country will produce. It took one Bill Gates and one Steve Jobs to shake the world up and neither were scholars.

I am not recommending that we throw good statistics away. I am saying that we tell a more complete picture and that we teach people to be critical thinkers.

Tags: ,

If you play the numbers game, you could be a gambler. You could also be a person who makes decisions only on quantitative data.

This blog reflection is about being the latter and I am not one of those people. If I was, I would not block folks on Twitter who follow me for the wrong reasons. (For the record, I am not a gambler either!)

A short time ago, I checked my Edmodo profile. It stated that I had only eight students. That is not true, of course.

My co-learners are student teachers, inservice teachers, or other adult participants of my workshops. I tell my “students” to sign up for teacher accounts. I only have actual student accounts for testing or if my participants create a teacher and a student account.

Those who play the numbers game might view the process as a popularity contest. Everything should not be viewed from that lens.

Numbers do not or cannot measure everything. My Edmodo profile does not indicate the true number of co-learners or the quality of learning.

If I let anyone follow me on Twitter, I would deceive the educators or para educators who follow me. I would also disappoint the folks who think that I am a celebrity, soccer player, or other Ashley.

Tags: ,


Video source

This iOS game, Johnny Test: Roller Johnny, is different in that you can create shared gaming spaces simply by putting other iPhones or iPads nearby.

Some might propose that this idea could be extended simply to share and extend a digital whiteboard. But that idea is not valuable in itself. More complex variants of that idea might be.

For example, I can imagine three or four iPhone/iPod Touch instrument apps near a central iPad or computer that serves as a mixer or compiler for music notation, synthesis or creation.

I can also imagine a multimedia project group first brainstorming and then managing their project with this tool. First each member composes ideas in their own devices and “flicks” them to the central device which is displayed for all to see and discuss.

After the group agrees on a plan of action, each member uses a different tool on each device, e.g., web search, background music composition, video editing, and text crafting. They then discuss their progress in real time by sending updates to the central device and by putting the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.

Ooh, I smell an app for project-based learning!


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