Sunday, April 1, 2007

04/01/07 Learning Artifact

While reading the articles there were points made by both authors that I agree with, but I definitely feel that games can be used to teach students. With Peshette’s article for games he makes a very good point how games can be used with students for auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning. I think this is one of the great advantages that games have. It was mentioned by both authors that these great games are a rarity and hard to find, which is very true, and can also mean that they will be costly for the whole class. But I don’t think this can out rule games. I also think that Thornburg, in his article disagreeing with games as education, was a little harsh on games that are not the best. I feel that there are many games out there that are great for students to use along with what they are learning in the classroom. Thornburg makes the point that students need to know how and why they are making certain computations, and know why they are learning facts etc. This is very true, but I see these games as aids to students that will help them catch onto what is being taught in class. While the teacher may teach them, sometimes certain ideas and concepts don’t catch on right away unless the student figures them out on their own, which can be done with many games. From my own personal experience I remember playing grammar rock and those catchy songs that explained the rules about verbs and adverbs, along with the visuals with the song, and the game all helped me to remember the roles different word types play in a sentence. I believe these types of games can serve as great reinforcements, even if they don’t address all of bloom’s taxonomy levels.

Darfur is Dying:
I thought it was an interesting game. I think it is a good way to try to get people motivated to do something for the cause. When people go through games like this I think it tends them to think about what really is happening. The people who want people to help out with there cause can use this type of game to get people interested and then thinking about what really is going on. When people start wondering what is really happening they will most likely go the closest source, which will be the website. Depending on the honesty of those who made the website this can be a good or bad thing.

Ayiti: The cost of life:
I thought this was a neat concept for a game. I like the idea of teaching how hard it is to run a household, and get an education. I didn’t play it to long before I died, so it was hard. I didn’t count on getting sick so often. I liked the idea of the game though.

I thought this had some neat drill style games that might help students learn to answer information faster, or to practice a certain skill more, like choosing plurals of the singular form.

I thought the site was a little hard to navigate through at first. The bright yellow made it hard to look at, so if a teacher used this in the classroom it would be better to open up a link directly to the game.

Funderstanding Roller Coaster
I liked the idea behind the game. I think it is a good way to tie in concepts of physics. This is something a kid might have fun doing in pairs, and then the class watching each others roller coasters. It also could get boring easily if students weren’t interested, or didn’t really care so much about getting their rollercoaster across, since it isn’t really very visually stimulating.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

EME4401 Assessment Article

Johnson, D., & McLeod, S. (2005). Get answers. Learning and Leading with Technology, 32(4), 18-23.

This article discussed how assessment is used in the classroom, and how it can be improved upon by technology, specifically a student response system.
The author states that “Tests, quizzes, papers, and projects are time-honored ways to assess student learning, but they often are time consuming to administer and grade, and there are inherent delays between submission, assessment, and feedback Teachers also use interactive questioning techniques, class discussions, and one-on-one meetings to assess students' knowledge and skills, but these often are neither systematic nor all-inclusive.” It then goes to report how while feedback in the classroom is an appropriate method for assessment there are many hindrances to it, and it is not used frequently in the classroom.
Here is where the electronic student response systems come into play. The student response system is system set up in which the students have access to some type of keyboard in which they can direct comments, questions, and answers to teachers prompts directly to the teachers computer. The students use keyboards with screens, or some type of computer program which allows the teacher access to what the students are doing, and allows the students to send immediate and direct feedback to the teacher. The teacher has power to look through all the students work, questions, or answers and can either reply to it, or display it. These student response systems can be used with class to play games, bring about class discussion, and to allow the teacher to check students work fast.

With this article I really liked the idea behind this technology, and how it can be used across a span of different age levels for multiple purposes. The end of the article contained many great ideas of how teachers had already implemented this software. I really liked the point the author made about how this can build students confidence in themselves, and can encourage students to ask questions and make comments to the teacher, that they might not have made in front of the class. I do see the problem where this technology can be very expensive. I think as this becomes more popular, it may become something that will end up being cheaper to do. It would be worthwhile though, to have some type of program set up like this in the computer lab, so that the teacher could set up lessons around this technology that would be worked on only during lab hours.
Some of these ideas of immediate feedback during writing, or discussions could be worked into using class notebooks or sticky notes, if the classroom could not provide electronic student response systems. While reading a text students can write sticky notes of what they are thinking or questions they have. These could be color coded according to purpose, and then the teacher can easily spot who has questions etc. With notebooks during class discussions students can be prompted to write things they think or questions they have. Later, they teacher can read over the students comments and questions to see what they are getting, and what they still need to know. They teacher may also want to point out good questions and comments so that students begin to have more confidence in themselves and speak out during class.
Overall, I liked the ideas. I think the technology would be simple enough that students would easily be able to learn it, and become used to it. I hope that this type of technology can become more popular in the future, and become something we can see in a everyday classroom. This type of technology really makes you think about how much there is out there that we can use to work with our students and help to increase their learning.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

EME4401 Ohler Article

Ohler, J. (2005). The world of digital storytelling. Educational Leadership, 63(4), 44-47.

What the Author Says:

Digital Storytelling: A form of short narrative, usually a personal narrative told in the first person, presented as a short movie for display on a television or computer monitor or projected onto a screen.
(2004, p. 1)
*Should be used to enhance students’ skills in critical thinking, writing, and media literacy

First Step:
*In the beginning the focus should be on the story. The problem for many students is their focus on the power of the technology rather than the power of their stories.

*The two important components of teaching storytelling are story mapping and practicing written and oral story- telling before bringing in digital elements.

Story Mapping: A storyboard, used commonly in the movie and TV industry, is an ordered presentation of drawings or photos that each summarize a major story event.
+Enable teachers to quickly assess the strength of a story while it is still in the planning stage and to challenge students to strengthen weak story
+Helps students plan the events of a story
+Enables teachers to quickly assess the strength of a story while it is still in the planning stage and to challenge students to strengthen weak story elements.

*essential components:
+A call to adventure. Normal life is interrupted by a significant event, initiating a physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual journey for the main character.
+Problem-solution involving transformation. Characters encounter problems that are solved through a personal transformation of some kind. Transformation can happen in a number of ways, including skill acquisition, maturation, learning, and self-discovery.
+Closure. The story comes to a meaningful conclusion, not necessarily through a happy ending. Often, closure involves the main character's realization of something significant, a moral, or evidence that something or someone has changed.

Written and Oral Storytelling
+The most important tool used in the creation of a digital story is writing scripts and story treatments.
+Oral storytelling is a powerful way for students to develop their own voices and discover what events and details are essential to their stories.

Creating a Tie-In to Academic Skills
The lessons need to be tied to the curriculum and used to strengthen students' critical thinking, report writing, and media literacy skills.

Media Literacy
Creating digital stories is a perfect opportunity to engage students in media literacy, in learning about how the media influence our perceptions of the world

Tapping Dormant Skills
Through creating narratives, students develop the power of their own voices and become heroes of their own learning stories. Most important, digital storytelling helps students become active participants rather than passive consumers in a society saturated with media.

What I say:

While working with these types of projects I think the most important fact to remember is that it needs to be made worth it. These tools needed for projects can be expensive to come up with, so what the student is doing with them needs to be worth it. While using this technology in the classroom can seem fun, the fun cannot take away from the learning. Just like the author said, lessons need to be used that are implanting the curriculum used in class, that are teaching the students’ critical thinking skills, and about technology.

I also agree with the author on the importance of the written and oral storytelling. These parts of the digital storytelling are crucial to the students learning. These are the activities that help students review what information they know, and what they are trying to tell the audience, and then implement that. The students need to work on the writing aspect and practice visualizing what they want to tell, then talking about it, and then transferring it to paper. This can help students learn to vocalize what they know and feel, while teaching them writing skills.

I liked the aspect the author brought up about teaching media literacy, how when the students are doing the projects, to help them see how the media works in our lives, and how they use information to create mind frames in viewers. I think this is an important aspect for students to understand. As students work on these projects they will learn how media can be used to enhance a story and create and draw emotions from viewers. Students need to see how the media does this so that they can know when they are seeing it on TV and in movies.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

EME4401 Pensky Article

Prensky, M. (2005). Listen to the natives. Educational Leadership, 63(4), 8-13.

Good Points from the article
• Teachers need to pay attention to how their students learn
• Need to value and honor what their students know
• Encourage decision making among students
• Involve students with designing instruction
• Gather input from students on how they would teach
• “if educators want to have relevance in this century, it is crucial that we find ways to engage students in school."
• “true prerequisites for learning- engagement and motivation”

My Comments:

Even when we don’t understand things about technology we can bring up discussions about it in class.
Also the students know how they might use the skills they know in use with material they are learning.

• Teach students to use the technology to learn from it
• Students may know what they have, but not how they can use it to learn
• Ties in with allowing students to use their own materials when learning and exploring. In another class we were discussing problem solving, and allowing students to choose from a variety of materials to use in thier exploration of finding the answer. This can be said for technology also. When working on problems and projects students should have a variety of technologies available to them to use so that they are comfortable in thier learning, and can get the most out of their study.
• Collaborating with students is such a good idea, we need to hear from the students how to teach them. Some of the best teachers are the ones who get down on the students level, take interests in their lives, and find out what is happening with them and what interests them
• Integrating technology into curriculum is so much easier today with virtual field trips and so many games and software available. Just on the internet for free there are many resources we don’t really even know about until we go out to find them.

• “herding”
o one- to-one personalized instruction, continually adapted to each
o “having all learning groups self-select. Kids love working with their friends, especially virtually I'm not saying, of course, that students should join any group in this context, but that they should be able to choose their own learning partners rather than having teachers assign them.”
> • I disagree, this will work in some cases, and if the situation calls for an activity in which this grouping can be used, then that is good. Just because students like to work with certain other students does not mean that those students will be the one that they have the greatest learning experience with. Students also need to learn to work with other students they might not be as comfortable with. Allowing the students to continually pick their own groups can also leave out students that the other students may not want to be around. This can lead to that student becoming hurt and discouraged.
• One last point I wonder about is, while it seems like a nice idea to be able to use all of the technology tools out there that so many are using, these things do cost money. The education system already seems pinched as it is. Also, many families out there still cannot afford some of these more luxuious 21st century items, how could we expect to fund a classroom for them. I see how we can use the internet and resources that are on it, and buying games for the school and such, but there are so many things schools still need that talking about using phones and mp3 players in the classroom, seems to me, to idealistic.