Gamifying Classrooms

Gamifying Classrooms

The idea of using game based ideas in the learning environment or gamification continues to gain momentum with teachers…but more importantly with students. Let’s not mistake “using games in the learning environment” with “gamifying the learning”. They are two different approaches to using technology within the classroom. Gamification is using the ideas that are found in games to motivate students in a fun, competitive and engaging way that speaks to their inner kid. Gamification really seems to be taking off in the later elementary years like 4th and 5th grade and middle school. Hannah Kingsley in her COETAIL Final Project gives us a great look at gamification in action in a middle school spanish class. You can visit her blog to get the full details along with links to the software she used and a unit planner outlining the process. If you want to learn more about Gamification and Game-Based learning, join Robert Appino in his new course Gamification of Education. Game-Based Learning Overview from Eduro Learning on Vimeo. The course runs from June 22 – July 31st and is going to be a great way to do some summer professional development while you “level up”. Photo Credit: flickr photo shared by chrisgj6 under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA )...

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New Teachers Won’t Save Us

New Teachers Won’t Save Us

This is going to come as a shock I know…but pre-service education programs are not preparing teachers for a technology rich classroom teaching experience. Or to put that another way the classrooms of today. According to a Project Tomorrow Report …principals concluded that they want to hire new teachers with creative ideas about how technology can be leveraged to create authentic and differentiated learning experiences. But student-teachers report that their tech training focuses only on simple management tools. At the same time, the report concludes that those who have the biggest influence on new teachers — veteran educators –  don’t always embrace new ways of using technology to engage students. ~MindShift This is an issue and one I have seen first hand. I have had the privilege of meeting with pre-service educators in both undergraduate programs and Master’s In Teaching programs…mostly here in the State of Washington. Now some of these programs are doing things different, trying to do things differently or bring a different approach. However, for the most part what I’m finding is technology is still an afterthought in these programs and not a true representation of what is happening in schools. One of the main issues I see is that technology, in many programs, is a separate course and is not integrated into each of the subject/classes that a pre-service educator takes. History teachers….as part of their program should be required to know how to use all the amazing layers found in Google Earth. Math teachers should know about things like PhotoMath and how you could leverage this in the classroom. English teachers should study and understand how writing has changed over the years and have students practice writing in mediums that apply to 2014. Blogs, Tweets, Status Updates, images and videos. Those are the writing tools of today and of the future. Or how about just on an professional level. I wonder how many pre-service program cover things like: How to respond to an upset parent over email How to respond to an upset student over email How to respond to colleagues professionally over email How to write a professional email that conveys your message and will be read How to handle a situation in which a parents sends you a DM on Facebook about their child (yes they can…yes it happens) How to handle yourself professionally when everyone has a camera in their pocket...

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