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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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Outdoors

The Outdoor Revolution

Give Them More

There is a push in modern education for more.  More hours. More requirements. More technology. More studying. More subjects to cover. Just more!  How about more time outside?  This may seem counter to a modern, progressive education but it is a growing trend with established roots.

 

Time outdoors in all kinds of weather is not anything new.  Charlotte Mason, a famous educator from the turn of the twentieth century, advocated long hours outside exploring, playing, and experiencing nature. Her methods presented a gentler approach to education that also build a strong foundation.

 

In this high paced, cutting edge world, Ms. Mason’s techniques are gaining popularity and a fresh take.  Nature based education is nothing new but it is gaining momentum as we realize our children are deprived of the simple pleasures of the great outdoors there is actually a new disorder! Nature Deficit Disorder is a widespread problem with an easy cure, give kids more time outdoors.

 

Around the World

In Finland, where education is nearly the opposite of the rest of the world, children are given multiple recesses, play breaks outdoors in any weather–even the cold, Nordic winter.  Up to four outdoor times are planned each day for unstructured play.  This play does not take away from education, it is education for these children.

 

In an effort to return to nature, there is a new movement in Germany called Waldkingergarten or Forest School.  These schools are housed in the great forests of Germany.  Students are dropped off in the morning and picked up sometime in the afternoon.  They spend their entire days outside, even having meals together on the forest floor.

 

You may wonder what do these children learn from days of wandering the forest?  Well, recent studies have shown that “Forest Kindergarten children come well-prepared for school and that they are often ahead of their school mates physically, mentally and in their social behaviour.”

 

In the United States, a similar movement is occurring with Tinkergarten.  Bringing young children outdoors to experience and create, this program is building an education foundation built on curiosity and teamwork.

 

What Does All this Mean for Education?

As we forge ahead into the tech-savvy twenty-first century, we must be mindful of not cutting our children off from their roots in nature.  The importance of learning the latest innovation must never crowd out children’s need to be children.  Children play, wiggle, and wonder – that is their nature.  By creating space, time, and opportunity for young people to unplug, stretch their legs, and breath fresh air, we will not be wasting valuable time but investing in the health and well being of future generations.

As One Planet, One People, understanding, appreciating, and conserving the natural world serves everyone around the planet.  Providing the latest technology will change the face of education and teach something new. However, some things never change, and children were built to learn and explore, especially outdoors.  Play, laughter, and dreams are a language that unite us all.

 

Where are you exploring? What have you learned from these experiences?

Join us for our Global Learn Day 2017 Voyage!

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5 Reasons to Stay Up-to-Date

Why Stay up-to-date?

Staying up to date in this ever changing world can seem overwhelming. Technologies often seem to become obsolete as readily as they are introduced to the market.  However, there are reasons to stay up to date not just in the technology field but in our personal education. Here are five good reasons to keep striving to know more.

 

  • The technological changes are not only something that techies need to be kept informed of. These affect our everyday life and change the face of both education and business.  The advancement in technology is happening at breakneck speed. It may seem impossible to keep abreast of every innovation.  However, general knowledge of the newest mainstream devices and software is beneficial to understand the changing marketplace and make yourself more marketable in your chosen field.

 

Strive to encounter and test out as many new technologies as you can on an ongoing basis.  Even if you do not master them all, you will benefit from the exposure should one of them become commonplace as touch screens and mobile apps have.

 

  • Continuing education helps advance careers and keep individuals highly employable if something should happen with a current employer. Aside from the software that may change your job requirements or how you work; there is always something more to learn to do your job better.  Continuing education enriches your understanding of your field and gives you an advantage in a tough market.  Continuing to grow and learn will not just benefit your resume but your overall achievement in your career.

 

  • Educational practices are ever changing and even those who take a classical approach to education are discovering new benefits and methods to aid all students to learn. Being up to date in the educational field provides new strategies for teaching and deeper understanding of how students learn.  In addition, understanding educational practice and policy allows you to better advocate for the education of the children in your home, state, or country.  It also lends itself to better providing supplements and extracurricular activities to enhance what is being taught and make up for what may be lacking.

 

  • Staying up to date on geo-political news and needs of neighbors near and far is essential to serve the world well. Conquering any crisis requires information. How much harder is it to overcome a problem if you do not even know it exists?  Keep informed of what is going on in the world to the best of your ability.  Use the information you acquire to make judgement calls, protest injustices, and aid worthy causes.  Better informed citizenry leads to more stable nations, accomplished initiatives, and greater aid to those in the most need.

 

  • Being current builds bridges and fuels ingenuity. As the adage goes, “The more you know, the more you grow.” Feeding your brain with the latest studies or newest breakthroughs gives you an advantage to soar higher, more quickly.  Innovative bridges are built in the brain, these in turn become bridges in knowledge, opportunity, and unity.

 

Being in the know not only helps you see how to build a bridge but where it is most needed.  Grow your future, help mankind, and deepen your understanding by continuing to learn and keeping up to date.

 

How do you stay up-to-date?

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Guided Education

Do you remember the last conversation that engaged you? Perhaps it sparked an interest that caused you to continue searching for information when you sat back down in front of your computer or visited your local library. What was the topic? Why did you become so engaged?

 

Global Learn Day seeks to engage all people by uniting them in a love for education and learning. In order to do this effectively we, the Crew, search far and wide for engaging information leading up to our event and presenters for the day of our event. We ask you, our voyagers, to help us by recommending individuals who share our desire to use education to help us achieve the idea of “One People, One Planet”.

 

This is an opportunity for all to participate and many to have a voice. Our most notable Key Note Speaker was Nelson Mandela, many years ago. You can still listen to his address here. Along with the audio, we have made his words available to read for those who need visual assistance to receive his message. Global Learn Day depends on educators and students to share their voices in order to present a valuable experience for all of our voyagers. If you, or someone you know, should be participating and presenting at Global Learn Day, you can find more information and our application here at our Call for Presenters.

 

If you would like to participate in any way for Global Learn Day please contact us and/or Join the Voyage!

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Building a Good Foundation

Foundations

Every Bridge Needs a Good Foundation

The Golden Gate Bridge is not only an iconic landmark, it is a feat of engineering.  The soaring red towers are easily recognized by people around the globe.  Everyone marvels at it great span, and the intricate design of its supports. However, without the ever important, but not as photogenic, foundation, the Golden Gate would be in the San Francisco Bay.

 

Like all bridges, the bridge between cultures, countries, and concepts requires a strong and well laid foundation.  In education, this foundation is built by experience, experiments, and general knowledge.

 

The greatest foundational pillar of education is reading.  Through reading bridges can be build to every subject across the curriculum. Fine literature provides the bricks and mortar for bridges to other lands and creative imaginations. With reading, we can become life long, independent learners.  We can also grow to understand our neighbors down the street and on the other side of the globe.

 

This call to well founded education is part of our mission.  Educating the promise of tomorrow and encouraging them to never stop learning, while also bridging the gap between those with educational opportunity and those lacking the basic freedom to an education.

 

Global Learn Day seeks to build good, solid bridges. Bridges between teachers and students. Bridges across oceans and continents. Bridges that span the old and the new, that bring together generations and point us to the future by embracing our past.

 

The bridges we are looking to build are ones that will stand the test of time and continue to grow. Our bridges need good foundations, though, just like the Golden Gate.   We strive to inspire young and old alike to delve deep into their knowledge base in order to share with others, but also to fortify that base with new learning and the motivation to grow.

 

Through continual learning and outreach to others, we can build a solid bridge that will one day envelope the world in educational unity.  There are so many who still need access to education, and many who are not using their access to the fullest potential. The foundation of our prospects and purpose can only be strengthened by coming together as One Planet, One People to learn more and pass on the richness of our knowledge treasure trove.

 

How can you help us fortify our foundation?  What knowledge do you have to share?  Have you learned something new today?

 

Come build along with us…never stop learning, always seek ways to share what you know!

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Education is Its' Own Language

Education is Its’ Own Language

What was your first language?

 

Spanish? English? French? Education? Wait. What? Education isn’t a language! I would argue that it is. Language is a means for people to communicate, to reach an understanding. Can education not help within those areas? It can and does.

 

Education is a way to come together and communicate with each other. I might have nothing in common with the person standing next to me. We can come from different cultures, have different religions and different languages. The one thing we might share is an understanding of math, or a love of Victorian authors, or Renaissance artists. It is our education about things that allow us to seek and find common ground with those around us.

 

The all-encompassing mission of Global Learn Day is that while we celebrate mankind’s learning we are promoting the concept of “One Planet, One People”. We are a collaborative people, building up ideas one on top of the other, expounding on previous research. It is through this language of education that we come together and improve the human condition.

 

This link lists 100 influential scientists. Looking through the list you find individuals from a variety of eras, cultures and languages. They spoke the same language though. Education opened up their mind and engaged their curiosity. Via their education and their willingness to continue to learn they were able to contribute to man’s understanding and knowledge long term.

This is the language of education. The desire to never stop learning, to never stop sharing what you have learned with others. This contribution has the ability to shape the world, to Build a Bridge to the Future. Never stop learning. Never stop speaking the language of education.

What is your favorite thing to learn about?

As always, consider joining us this year for Global Learn Day 2017!

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Coding for Math

Technology in Education

Tool or Hindrance?

 

It seems that everywhere I look, I see kids with technology. Like many, I have had mixed feelings about this increased presence in the hands of younger and younger children. I paid for my own cell phone as a teen and young adult, but my child has one as part of her every day tools. Granted, she is an avid reader and I have found that the gas and book money I save by being able to check out books and download them to a cell phone covers the cost of the plan she has. It is still a huge difference from when I was young.

Recently, I watched a video on Facebook that equated technology usage to cocaine for children. That is a jarring comparison, especially coming from the After School Special and DARE generation. It caused me to question if there is a way to find harmony between Technology and my children. Can technology be a helpful tool without the harmful effects?

Math and Programming?

 

In my search, I came across a blog by Jonathan Mugan a researcher and author. You can read it here. In his post, Dr. Mugan walks parents and educators through a “how to” in order to use programming to teach our children Math. It seems like fun to me, and I am not all that interested in programming! Disclaimer: This is probably because I LOVE to learn.

This fantastic blog post walks the educator through using Python and how to effectively teach basic arithmetic on up to PEMDAS and Variables. I can see where this could be useful for many kids! It is also an excellent example of technology being used effectively to teach.

 

Back to my child…

 

We had a rough school year and Math was often a struggle. Do you remember the Summer Slide post? This can also be an effective tool in a parent’s arsenal to combat it! I can’t wait to set this up for my mini me to work through. It will break up the usage of the Kahn Academy, which we are on daily and also will provide a new skill. Who knows, could this spark a “First Moment of Lasting Excitement?” Will a new path to software programmer begin?

 

In reality, anything that I can use as a tool to educate could also be abused and turned into a problem. As Dr. Mugan shows with his blog post, Technology can absolutely help with education. In fact, programming to learn Math is Innovative and could be Transformative for many. This could be a child’s “AHA Moment”.

 

So, go check out the blog post and maybe take some time to learn how to program! Consider joining our voyage if you have not already!

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