Assessment 2: INF541 Online Reflective Journal Blog Task 2

How might games be used to develop a more socially inclusive classroom or workplace using Gee’s viewpoint?

Gee, J.P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum,  85(2), 33-37. http://dmlcentral.net/sites/dmlcentral/files/resource_files/GoodVideoGamesLearning.pdf

 

Gaming often has this portrayal of being an isolating activity, teenagers in their bedrooms spending hours playing PS4/XBOX/PC games, only emerging when food is required or they have to get up to go to school. This popular myth is being challenged by a range of scholarly work highlighting the impact of gaming for learning and creation of socially cooperative learning environments. These gaming environments are breaking down the stereotypes through the demonstration of 21st-century skills that they offer.

 

The Four Cs of 21st Century Skills. (Lippl, 2013)

 

Gee (2005) puts forward that good games incorporate ‘good learning principles’ (p.34), which reflect sound pedagogy and links to the modern skills we are trying to teach in the classroom. Gee’s principles are extremely valuable to investigate and explore in his article Good video games and good learning’

 

My experience of gaming is fairly limited and completely as an individual player, rather than in any online/cooperative gaming environment. This is where my challenge lies in figuring out the role of gaming in my classroom and how it can possibly create this socially inclusive space for students. My own experience around gaming has evolved with discovering the power of failure in games like ‘Assassin’s Creed’ and ‘Uncharted’; and as Gee points out that failure is a good thing (2005, p.35), and my early failures have been used as Gee puts it, a way to find the patterns, and to gain feedback to overcome the obstacles (p.35). That is one of the big issues in the classroom that we do not encourage failure and actually work against it at all costs. Dan Haesler (2017) recently did a small twitter poll snapshot that shows how often we actually are allowing students more than one chance.

Twitter Poll (Haesler, 2017)

The question at hand on how we can encourage more failure, but at the same time creating socially inclusive classroom with games, can only take place if teachers are allowed freedom with the curriculum and be allowed to take risks. Kafai & Burke (2015) noted that playing games highlight the personal, social and cultural dimensions of constructionist learning, and this can according to Ives (2015) “not only be a constructivist view of learning, where learning emerges from experiences, but also a connectivist approach where learning is strengthened and enhanced when nodes of knowledge (players) connect and diffuse knowledge”.

 

The digital games which require the creation of “cross-functional teams” (Gee, 2005), where these are people with different functional expertise working towards common goals, are extremely beneficial in developing an inclusive classroom. It allows students of various abilities, interests, expertise, and passions to come together in a collaborative effort to solve problems and overcome obstacles. These are so-called Affinity Spaces, where experiential learning can happen, where novices and masters work together, knowledge is shared and collectively the group develops towards an end point.

 

The issue as Gee notes is that “challenge and learning are a large part of what makes video games motivating and entertaining”, but schools are generally not known for places where students enjoy learning. The challenge remains that we need to look at each game with a pedagogical framework on how we can create these socially inclusive learning environments that can engage students. Each one is unique and can offer endless learning opportunities.

 

References

 

Gee, J.P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(2), 33-37. http://dmlcentral.net/sites/dmlcentral/files/resource_files/GoodVideoGamesLearning.pdf

 

Haesler, D. [@danhaesler]. (2017, Mar 16). How many times will you allow a student to re-take an end of unit assessment before you report on their ability in said unit? [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/danhaesler/status/842247117896785921

 

Ives, M. (2015). Digital Games: Cross Functional Teams and Collaboration. [Blog] Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation Blog. Available at: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mattives/2015/03/22/digital-games-cross-functional-teams-and-collaboration/

 

Kafai, Y.B. & Burke, Q. (2015). Constructionist gaming: understanding the benefits of making games for learning, Educational Psychologist, 50 (4). DOI: 10.1080/00461520.2015.1124022

Lippl, C. (2013, December 16). The Four Cs of 21st Century Skills. [Image]. Retrieved from http://zulama.com/education-trends/four-cs-21st-century-skills/#.WM-vGHSGPBI

Digital Artefact Critique

In order to grow and develop we need to be able to reflect. As part of the #INF532 course we were asked to reflect, critique and provide some feedback on another student’s artefact from our first assessment task. The digital artefact task was about any aspect to do with Knowledge Networking and then to provide an exegesis with regards to the design and effectiveness of the digital artefact. I found the process challenging, but very worthwhile.

 

I have had a brief look at many of the fantastic artefacts created for this subject, and my fellow students have all done some amazing work. Thanks to Karen Malbon who has done a tremendous job of curating every artefact into one place – Check them out here http://www.pearltrees.com/karenmalbon/inf532-cohort-artefacts/id16278628

 

I have selected to write about a close friend’s artefact, Jordan Grant, and I was particularly interested to see how his turned out aiming it at students. URL: https://sites.google.com/site/gogetconnected/

The site has the following clear logo and banner at the top:

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-2-32-00-pm

The start of this website contains a cleverly crafted YouTube Clip that uses a lot of research evidence to support the message presented. Jordan uses quality images and sounds that meet creative commons licensing requirements, and the message conveyed is clearly articulated. It sets up the digital artefact premise of ‘the what and the why of connected learning’ is all about.

https://youtu.be/8fiiGJLRyWI

 

There are some further discussion points and an example of a student becoming a connected learner. A key point that he has on the site is:

“Remember. People don’t normally develop effective networks overnight. This will be a timely process that requires continual work. “

This is one of the key aspects of being a connected learner. It definitely does not happen overnight and is also not a one-way process. Instead, it needs time, effort, sharing and conversing with others.

 

The site then gives the students three different ways to begin their learning journey as connected learners – Blogging, Curating and Connecting. These are great ways for students to start organising their information, connecting, but also a way of reflecting on their learning. The site provides resources and examples of how to use these in practice and hyperlinked clips and articles used to support these sections. There is a clear link to the resources, and the information is set out to make it practical for students to engage with.

 

The final section provides a blogging prompt that enables the students to get started and reflect on their initial introduction to being a connected learner:

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-3-11-33-pm

Overall Jordan has demonstrated effective use of a range of different digital tools for  creative Knowledge construction. The breadth of tools used in creating the site, the clips and then linking to various others shows an understanding of the tools required for connected learning and knowledge construction. Some further examples of student blogs, or students using social media for learning could have been added; but that would defeat the premise of it being their own personalised and unique connected learning that takes place. There is also an understanding of instructional design and the application of knowledge network theory with this artefact. The participants are asked to consider the why and the what, before moving onto the how and then actually doing it themselves.
It is clearly a useful resource to get students started on the connected pathway and I would definitely consider using it with my own class in the near future.

Growing & Connecting

It has been a journey from a basic understanding, to an enlightened disposition on digital citizenship over the past 12 weeks. I have been an active participant online with using PLN’s, managing my digital footprint and recognising the role of creative commons. However, the course has managed to extend my understanding significantly with regards to school leadership and vision, and I have been fascinated by the readings and resources in the course.

I have only made 2 blog posts thus far in the course this semester, and my intentions to do more have been consumed by being a full-time teacher and barely keeping my head above water at times. Being constantly connected and interacting with a PLN has made me use that as my main areas to reflect and question course material. My first blog post introduced some of my thoughts and a link to my personal blog, which has over 80 reflective posts from the past 3 years. The second blog post introduced how I’m introducing my students to twitter and the concept of PLN’s. I have always encouraged using social media for learning, but now I’m actively teaching my students how and why it is important to understand digital citizenship concepts.

Initially, the course introduced concepts that I was very familiar with, DLE, PLN, Information overload & curation; but then the move to understanding global digital citizenship issues really challenged me to explore it more deeply. The group assignment paired me with three educators that come from very different backgrounds, and locations. Working collaboratively through Hangouts, Google Docs and the Wikispaces platform was challenging; but ultimately rewarding with our final product that we produced. Besides the group task, being able to chat on a regular basis with fellow students online has allowed us to push one another and assist each other on this journey.

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One of my favourite quotes from the modules was this one, “21st Century skills harness not only the power of technology but the power of people” from ‘Flattening classrooms, engaging minds’, (Lindsay & Davis, 2012, p. 2). Connecting with fellow students on Twitter has been a great way to share ideas and resources, including the Twitter chat myself and Jordan Grant ran on digital citizenship (Storify of chat).

Being passionate about connected learning and forming a wide-ranging PLN has allowed me to explore many opportunities. This course, previous units and various readings have formed the basis of some of the presentations I will be doing at a number of Conferences over the coming months. Creating positive professional networks gives me access to a variety of experts, but also allows me to share with others.

 

The last 3 modules put the school vision and leadership clearly in the framework and how important it is to have strong leadership. My knowledge has grown in understanding that the whole spectrum of digital citizenship needs to be embedded in all areas of school. My own research and readings have confirmed that teachers themselves need to be better equipped to teach digital citizenship, and that many schools do not have a clear vision on digital citizenship beyond cyber safety.

Moving on from this course I hope to create more awareness at my school on the range of digital citizenship areas, especially student digital footprint and creating global connections. To accomplish this it would involve getting the school leadership on board with a number of key stakeholders to determine the school vision for digital citizenship. There are a number of key resources shared by educators and organisations, from Christine Haynes’s post, to the Common Sense Media (2016) website. As I pursue to bring about some changes I know it will need to be a collective effort, but an absolute necessity in preparing students for the connected future.

Connected Learning

Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub (CC BY 3.0)

 

 

 

References

Common Sense Media (2016). Common Sense: Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/digital-citizenship

Haynes, C. (2016). Digital Citizenship: A Community ApproachRetrieved from http://christinehaynes.me/digital-citizenship-a-community-approach/

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2012). Flattening classrooms, engaging minds: Move to global collaboration one step at a time. New York: Allyn and Bacon.

 

Digital Essay Proposal

I’m looking forward to exploring this topic over the next few weeks and developing a digital essay.
Any links, resources, readings that you might know of, please feel free to pass them along 🙂
Proposal topic
Educators also need to become 21st-century learners
 
Proposed digital tools and/or spaces to be used
Digital tools selected will be either Tackk or Storify. Both platforms allow for seamless integration of multimedia from a variety of sources. As I develop the essay with research I will explore both platforms to determine which will serve the topic best.
 
Rationale for topic focus for the multi-modal essay
The majority of teachers grew up in an educational system before the advent of social media, mobile technology and Google. In just over 2 years we will never have school students again born before the year 2000. With the changing dynamics of technology, access and networks, it is becoming imperative that teachers develop a growth mindset in themselves and leverage the power of digital tools to increase their skills. By doing this they will be able to serve their school and students, and be able to model digital citizenship to students. I’m passionate about connecting teachers, sharing ideas, resources and having discussions to improve our education settings. In being involved with Twitter, Blogging and TeachMeets my PLN has widened and I have grown as an educator. Many teachers are still not engaged in directing their own personal development and realising the potential that technology offers. What restricts them? Why? Many questions to look at, and to explore what research says about this area.

Connected Potential & Changing Mindsets

The new innovations of the past two decades have created a digitally connected community of learners. Yet, many educators are not embracing the potential they hold and are thus becoming more disconnected with their students and communities. This is part of my own personal aim in this course – to learn new ideas, skills, knowledge and understanding, so that I can support my students, staff and parents in embracing the Digital Age.  Students may be assigned the term ‘Digital Natives’, but many are far from being proficient or aware of their own learning and interactions in the digital world. The reading about Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (Prensky 2001) reinforced some of my views on the topic of ‘digital natives’ vs ‘digital immigrants’ perspective. Even though my students are all born in the Digital Age (current Year 12’s born in 1998), many are unskilled in utilising technology as a an effective way to learn, create, connect and communicate.

The concept and practices of the Digital Age is the driving force behind enrolling into the CSU Masters course. The Digital Age is where I’m working, living, learning and interacting in, and thus it is essential as an educator that I’m acutely aware of my own understanding and knowledge of this area. My teaching context involves being the Head of Humanities for an independent Christian College in a regional town in Queensland. The region is one of the lowest socio-economic areas in the state, with some of the highest unemployment figures across all areas of society (a challenge in itself). My role involves teaching Senior Modern & Ancient History, as well as Business Management for Year 11 & 12. Since changing careers from Logistics to Education I have been amazed by the connected world for educators and I love engaging in discussions with educators from all sectors.

There is a digital convergence taking place with regards to media, literacy, communication and sharing of knowledge. The ubiquitous nature of technology is allowing for new practices to emerge and requires new methods of engaging learners to develop. However it does not come down to technological skills alone, but rather the mindset changing amongst educators and students. This is well supported in this image by Reid Wilson on ‘The Profile of a Modern Teacher’:

The Profile of a Modern Teacher by reid Wilson (CC BY-NC-ND)

Another reading I came across was on ‘What is 21st century learning? by Amy Heavin that was published on Fractus Learning:

“What is 21st century learning?

  • It is collaboration.
  • It is creativity.
  • It is critical thinking and problem-solving.
  • It is research and information literacy.
  • It is digital citizenship.
  • It is responsible use.”

Immersion into the developing these skills to connect and share knowledge will become key for educators and students. The ease of access to information and possibilities to share knowledge has resulted in a paradigm shift that needs to be embraced, fostered and utilised to realise its full potential.

The  Connected Learning Research Hub discussed in Module 1.6 really reinforced my beliefs, and challenged me to develop my own thinking further to serve my students.  The infographic I find incredibly powerful, and is a wonderful model of learning in the information age. This leads me into my own goals and challenges with making connections between the different groups, allowing digital tools to be utilised to their potential and developing my own knowledge and understanding through this course.

Connected Learning

Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub (CC BY 3.0)

 

References

Connected Learning Infographic | Connected Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2015, from http://connectedlearning.tv/infographic

Educators Need to be 21st Century Learners Too… (2014, July 15). Retrieved March 15, 2015, from http://www.fractuslearning.com/2014/07/15/educators-21st-century-learners/

Prensky, M. (2001, 12). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. doi: 10.1108/10748120110424816

Sheninger, E. C. (n.d.). Digital leadership: Changing paradigms for changing times.

Wayfaring Path. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2015, from http://www.coetail.com/wayfaringpath/2014/10/14/the-profile-of-a-modern-teacher/