What Is Gamification?

Gamification is the latest trend in education but what exactly is it?

Gamification involves bringing game elements to ordinary or already established practices.  The use of gaming technology to teach attracts many students who are more enticed by video games than textbooks.  Games can be used for teaching, studying, practice, and assessment.

Gamification creates scenarios of challenge and reward that shape behavior and expand skills.  These techniques have become common place in marketing, self-improvement, even politics. With schools attempting to engage a generation born into the digital world, these techniques provide an opportunity to draw in those children that are struggling or otherwise not interested.

Why Gamify School?

As stated above, gamifying appeals to many students.  It creates a level playing field, also, since students are working to their abilities and progress at their own pace.  Working independently helps remove stigma and encourage students to keep going to earn more rewards.

The elements of any game, digital, card, or board, that make you want to keep playing even when you don’t win is the key to how and gamifying works. Reaching those who would otherwise be disengaged is the main goal.

To Game or Not to Game?

How Do I Gamify My Classroom?

You may be sold on the idea but where to start.  The idea of creating levels, rewards, interactive interfaces, and score keeping software can be overwhelming.  Thankfully, there are many resources online.

Gamification does not just involve using games or technology within the classroom.  The overriding principle is to entice students to learn by using gaming concepts such as rewards, points, do-overs, the opportunity to fail and start over, interaction, choice, instant results, and expanding capabilities.

There are services online who can create a gamified class for you. There are also numerous tutorials and youtube videos to help you along the way. The greatest advice to doing this is plan ahead of time and don’t be afraid to just try it!

Gaming in School

Playing educational games is not something new to education.  It has existed for many years, gamification take it to a new level by making the entire class part of a gaming system.

Gamification can be very expensive and requires a large investment of time and effort on the part of the teacher. Both of these may make it impractical for some schools.  However, applying some of the gaming principles outside of the digital design can still help to engage those students in need of additional motivation.

Motivating students to keep learning and want to do better is the first step in becoming a lifelong learner.  Gamification could be the tool to achieve this in your classroom.  For more information about gamifying your class, please visit our Pinterest board Technology in Education.

 

 

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:

How to Learn Better

Writing is the Original Hands-on Learning

Before we had ipads, smartboards, apps, and AI, there were blackboards, slates, paper, and pen.  The bland nature of this black and white system seems like it has little to offer in our modern world.  Flashy programs and the latest tech promise brain development, lessons mastered, and ingenuity instilled.  Want to learn deeply, thoughtfully, and more concretely, though,  pick up a pen!

Writing uses parts of  your brain that require  more insight and analysis than high tech recording methods do.  Turns out all that old fashioned copywork is actually cutting edge.

How Does Writing Help?

Have you ever found yourself in a lecture or at a conference and there was just so much good information being presented you wished you could just take down every word so you could remember?  Turns out recording every word leads to less learning, not more.  Writing is a slow process.  Our modern sensibilities that prize speed prefer digital recording of notes for just this reason.  Faster is better…or is it?

Slowing down to write engages more parts of your brain.  It requires you to analyze, evaluate, and question what you are hearing.  Typing records every word, but does not engage the higher level thinking portions of your mind. While you are writing your brain is learning not simply remembering.

Writing to Read and Speak

The teaching of handwriting has fallen by the wayside in recent years, the reasoning being that with more efficient means of taking notes and completing assignments, more time can be devoted to getting children ready for the 21st century of innovation.  However, not learning handwriting is depriving children of vital, critical thinking skills that are even more important in our modern, complex world.

French psycologist, Stanilas Dehaene, observes,

“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” he said. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain, it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize.”

The result?

“Learning is made easier,” he concluded. (source)

Building Bridges Built on Writing

In our global economy. with the planet shrinking at our fingertips, speaking a second or even fourth language is a major advantage.  There has been a great deal of emphasis placed on speaking a language first and foremost. Conversational ability has pushed the academic view of language study aside.

However, one of the greatest ways to develop and understand a language is by writing. Writing increases retention of new vocabulary and fluency of use.  When writing an essay or longer assignment in the target language, the student is learning to converse by pulling together the necessary elements, creating a dialogue, writing it down, and then reading back what is writing.  This process builds the skills necessary for regular conversation and takes a studied language from textbook level to conversational in a way no other study method can.

By understanding and being able to effectively use a second language, bridges to future development and education will be built.  These bridges lead to a future of greater peace and inconnectedness of One Planet, One People.

Global Learn Day is coming tomorrow!! Be sure to have your pen and pad ready.

Please follow and like us:

Are Teachers Obsolete?

Artificial Intelligence and Modern Education

Science fiction books and movies have predicted the takeover of the world by human like robots for decades.  In some sectors of society, this fantasy has become a reality as computer technology replaces cashiers, bank tellers, and even waiters. However, could the same happen in our brave new schools of tomorrow?

 

How AI Has Already Changed Education

Education has been significantly changed by technology in recent years.  The use of smart boards, tablets, and e-books are hallmarks of modern classrooms. Instead of drawing a picture of a giraffe on the chalkboard, teachers can now pull up live feed of zoo webcams.  Hundreds of books can be carried in a backpack without even noticing it.

 

AI tutoring, online practice, and computer generated review are all common uses of technology that are allowing students to access more help without costing taxpayers more money or stretching a teacher’s already limited time even thinner.  The use of innovation for drill and review in subject matters like math is a smart use of resources in schools where teachers are continually expected to do more with less.

 

The other ways that education has changed is more subtle.  Computer apps have replaced taking attendance. Parents can view grades hourly instead of just on report cards.  Technology has also made assessments that grade themselves, with AI they also provide feedback to instruct students in how they can improve next time. The automation of many tedious tasks, has helped to relieve time constraints on teachers.

 

Online School and Autopilot Teaching

The Internet has revolutionized how we learn, access information, and conduct our daily lives.  With the speed of light, information is distributed all over the globe.  This has led to a boon in the learning industry. Instead of classes conducted at set times in a brick and mortar school, they can be accessed any time of day by anyone the world over with a click of a mouse.

 

While most of these classes are still taught by people and then distributed electronically, automated learning does exist.  Apps that are coded to instruct and then assess are a growing trend.  AI teaching is a real phenomenon.

 

With this trend, online schools have popped up to serve every need and style of learning.  These include public schools for children in grades K-12.  These schools allow less teachers to reach more students in less time for less money.  This new version of public school meets homeschooling has left many wondering if school building will one day be laid to waste.

 

The Human Connection

There is much to learn thanks to technological advances and access to information. The automation of instruction has opened doors to learning and changed the face of educational play.  However, none of these can actually replace the human connection that we all desire and need.

 

Algorithms, coding, apps, they all have their place in our information age.  In the ways that they have made our lives easier, there are also drawbacks–viruses, hackers, internet predators, etc. We need to be sure to keep technology in its rightful place, a useful tool but not real life.

 

The arts of compassion, intuitive conversation, and companionship through life, cannot be replaced by even the best AI.  We are One Planet, One People united not by codes and programs but by our intellect, interaction, and understanding.  The one element of this life that can never be replicated is the human touch.

 

Remember that Robot from Third Grade, It Changed My Life!

Education is so much more than checklists, assessments, and lessons learned. It is the development of connections, understanding, and perspective.  When thinking back to our own education, we will not remember pedagogy, curriculum, and educational trends, what impacts us most is the people who taught us.

AI is changing the role of teachers from instructors to facilitators and guides, but it will never replace the value of a good and dedicated teacher.  Passing on knowledge and know how from one generation to the next is the hallmark of the human existence.  In our quest for more knowledge, the who will always be as important as the how.

 

Please follow and like us: