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INF532

6 digital learning tools and strategies I’ll be using in the future

I have used a tool called Interactive Image to visualise what the tools and strategies I will be using in the future for my teaching and learning development.

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INF532

INF532: Flexible Learning is Awesome

I have realised that my blogs have been a bit negative in tone and so I wanted to write one that was positive about the course and some of the things I have learned so far.

CSU’s uImagine page on flexible and adaptive learning really resonated with me in its goal to help learners prosper on their own path. I have a background in sport and to me this spoke of the ‘coaching’ approach I have grown up used to, where the coach was there to help you achieve your goals in a symbiotic relationship.

I think this is different to the more reactive approach I have taken to teaching previously where I was very willing and happy to assist students but only reactively when they asked for help. I am personally never likely to ask for help and so through my approach, I am ignoring students like me.

coach has water poured over him by happy players
A coach celebrating with his team following their success

 

So how do I tackle being more proactive? I think there is a level of extra engagement required with your students in reaching out to help understand their experience so that you can activate that existing knowledge base. This is one of the ‘First Principles’ of instruction discussed by Merrill (2002). The next step is demonstrating the knowledge in ways that activate different parts of the brain. This course has exposed me to a raft of new tools for me to do this and the things you need to focus on to ensure the tools you use actually achieve you goals. Claire has a great blog about the need to invest in pre-production to improve the quality and effectiveness of your multi-media resources.

I am going to be a better teacher as a consequence of this course and the interactions I have had within it 🙂

References:

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology, Research and Development; New York, 50(3), 43.
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INF541

INF541: Online Reflective Journal Blog Task

Using these articles as a springboard, and your readings and interaction with the subject to date, develop a statement about your current knowledge and understanding of game-based learning. You may wish to recount an instance of your own learning through game (whether the game was designed for learning or not) and reflect on what you learned. What is the context of your ongoing learning through games? What are your personal aims in this subject? What challenges are you hoping to meet for yourself?

My knowledge and understanding of implementing game-based learning is limited but developing rapidly thanks to this course. Game-based learning is going to become an increasingly important to promote the skills required in the jobs of the future (such as collaboration and digital literacy). Game factors can be a great motivator but they must meet instructional design goals.

The Mary Rose game was very rudimentary but I can remember being so excited about it!

My personal experience with game-based learning is more varied. In school I played a number of rudimentary “progression” games. The most memorable being a game where you discovered the wreck of the Mary Rose, a sunken Tudor warship. The goals for the game (of me learning Tudor history) were brushed aside as I quickly endeavoured to finish the tasks as quickly as possible. That desire to “win” was my experience with most games and reflecting back, there were lots of teachable moments that were missed because the explicit links were not made between what I learnt in the game and how it could be applied to other parts of my life (a critical step as discussed by Spector et al (2010)). My time with edu-games were not accompanied by teachers prompting discussion on the topics the game raised.

 

In Theme Park, a good tactic was to increase the salt content in your chips so that customers would buy more drinks.

My entertainment gaming experience was mostly around strategy games such as Sim City and Theme Park and again, reflecting back, I learnt a great deal from those games about logistics, budgets and contingency planning. My early game-based learning was mostly as an individual and it was not until much later that I began to appreciate the learning potential from playing games with others. Halo was my first experience with cooperative play and it was exhilarating to be exchanging ideas an strategies and quickly evolving tactics and techniques to be able to complete the game.

I always learnt so much more about how to “beat” the game when I played Halo in coop mode (and had more fun)

Reflecting on my own experience and the lessons of this course I believe the game-based learning can be a very important tool. A number of the readings have raised that some scholars, teachers and parents are concerned that there is not enough evidence to support the use of video games as a valid learning tool. In order to appropriately respond to these questions on effectiveness, it is vital to look to the instructional design model. If the teacher can clearly articulate the learning goals and the skills they are looking for the student to develop, then it should be much easier to convey why the game choice will help develop those skills. The reasons for game choice will then form an important role in helping the students to make explicit links between the skills and knowledge learnt in the game and how they can be translated in to other parts of the students life.

I found this YouTube video to be a good description of Instructional Design

My readings so far have raised some important cautionary lessons to be considered if you are using game-based learning as a tool:

  • Ensuring that students have sufficient digital literacy in order to use the game for the desired learning outcomes.
  • Receiving feedback from students and iterating on your approach is important to ensure that you can harness the “tremendous potential” of game-based learning and not fall in to traps such as an over focus on  the game factors of winning and losing. (Media Literacy : New Agendas in Communication, edited by Kathleen Tyner, Taylor & Francis Group, 2009. ProQuest Ebook Central)

My personal aims for this subject are to be able to:

  • understand and convey to others why game-based learning is important;
  • learn the principles of good game-based learning so that I can create or adapt games for my work environment.
  • challenge myself to think creatively about how different games can be utilised to convey the learning goals of a subject.