If it was not for this course I may not have chosen to attend the session “A Minecraft Experiment” presented at the 2014 DL Conference by Edward Hewlitt, @TLATech. The description of the session was as follows: “Two years ago, my DL school principal gave me permission to set up a school Minecraft server to see if Minecraft was, in fact, educational. Two years and well over 100 students later, this “Minecraft experiment” is still going strong. This is the story of that experiment and a presentation of what I have learned so far… “ (Hewlitt, Edward, n.d.). Hewlitt could not say enough about how playing Minecraft has benefitted his students. In his TLA Mines blog he states “TLA Minecraft is a real community, in every sense of the word” (Hewlitt, 2012). There were some challenges though and these were highlighted by Audrey Watters (2014) in her speech as the closing keynote at the DL Conference. Audrey Watters (2102) is the author of “MinecraftEdu: Minecraft For The Classroom”, a blog post shared by our instructor. If not for this course I would not have looked to MinecraftEdu, but I have and now see its value in education. Like anything it does come with its challenges as outlined by Audrey Watters (2014) in reference to Hewlitt’s experience and as I have seen firsthand, MinecraftEdu: Division Farms, (Jacek, 2014, Apr. 12), but I feel the benefits far away the challenges.
Serious Games vs COTS (commercial off the shelf games), an important topic of study when looking to the use of games in the classroom. The difference is outlined in my blog post “Game Based Learning: Serious Games and COTS”. (Jacek, 2014, Apr. 29). In relation to choosing games for use in the classroom, one needs to look to James Paul Gees Video- Principles on Gaming. (Gee, 2013). The focus of this being Gees 13 principles of how video games create good learning or how video games teach. Throughout our study it was made clear that, “ Video games have a lot to offer and should be used and leveraged in classrooms in order to help teach students”(Lewis, n.d. 2). I look forward to continuing to use the serious game evaluation rubric, created by Ben, Breanne and I, that is adapted from the RETAIN Model (Gunter &Vick, 2008) and the label/tag categories outlined by Breuer and Bente, to help guide me through the process of evaluating “serious” or “educational” games for use as part of my lesson planning process.
In relation to mobile technology, throughout OLTD I have heard others talk about the apps they have been using with their students. Luckily the arrival of my school based tablets coincided with the start of this course. I was able to use our second assignment, “Developing An Evaluation Rubric for Selection of Mobile Apps”, to aid me in choosing the best apps for use with my students. As well it gave me the opportunity to explore/evaluate an app prior to my attendance at a related district based workshop. (Jacek, 2014 March). I look forward to continuing to use our rubric as a guide to identifying apps that will meet the needs of all of my students. In looking to increase my knowledge on this topic, I will continue to look to the writings of K. Cantwell, T. Vincent, M. A.Villar, Jeanette Van Houten and B. Ferriter. There continues to be, as with anything new, issues related to BYOD. I was pleased to see that the paper “NEN, -The Educational Network, Bring Your Own Device BYOD” validated my thoughts on these issues. (NEN, 2014)
At the 2014 Digital Learning Conference a number of the presentations focused on the use of mobile technology and game based learning. The reason for this is clear, the use of mobile technology smartphones, tablets, netbooks, laptops, eReaders and PDAs is occurring all around us. More than ever before the children of today are involved in mobile learning and game play from a young age, thanks to the prevalence of mobile technology. In order to meet the needs of these 21st century learners we need to bring in to our classrooms the tools that students see almost as an extension of themselves. But it is important to keep in mind the following question “What should be considered in the “big picture” no matter what the type of device or operating system?” (Lewis, n.d. 1) I believe the following visual created by Bill Ferriter and referenced by G. Couros (2014) answers this question.
Breuer, Johannes and Gary Bente. (2010). Why so Serious? On the Relation of Serious Games and Learning. Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture. 4(1), p.7-24. HTML (Open Access)
Couros, George. (2013, July 10). What do you want kids to do with technology? Retrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3980
Gee, James Paul.(2013, November 13) Jim Gee Principles on Gaming. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aQAgAjTozk
Gunter, G.A., Kenny, R.F.&Vick,E.H.. (2008). Taking educational games seriously:using the RETAIN model to design endogenous fantasy into standalone educational games. Educational Technology Research And Development. 56 (5-6), 511-537. HTML(Access restricted)-PDF
Hewlitt, Edward. (n.d.) A Minecraft Experience. Digital Learning Conference. Sched for the 2014 Digital Learning Conference. Retrieved from http://2014dl.sched.org/event/2422e5db2eccd976f8d0ba46b43d4a08#.U0s4jVdluHs
Hewlitt, Edward. (2012 May 2). Quest #4 Response: Lessons from TLA Minecraft. TLA Mines. Referenced in http://tlamines.blogspot.ca/?view=classic . Retrieved from http://tlamines.blogspot.ca/search/label/QuestResponse
If It’s Hip It’s Here. (2012, December 13). Goodnight iPad, A Parody Of The Children’s Classic For The Gadget Loving Generation. Retrieved from http://ifitshipitshere.blogspot.ca/2012/12/goodnight-ipad-parody-of-childrens.html
Jacek. Jane. (2104, March). Assignment 2: Developing An Evaluation Rubric for Selection of Mobile Apps. Projects, OLTD 508 Mobile Technologies. Welcome to Jane Jacek’s Learning Journey. Retrieved from http://jjaceklearnsonline.weebly.com/oltd-508-mobile-technologies.html
Jacek, Jane. (2014, April 12). MineCraftEdu World: Division Farms. Projects, OLTD 508 MinecraftEdu Assignment #6. Welcome to Jane Jacek’s Learning Journey. Retreived at http://jjaceklearnsonline.weebly.com/oltd-508-minecraftedu-assignment-6.html
Jacek, Jane.( 2014, April 29). Game Based Learning: Serious Games and COTS. Blog, OLTD508. Welcome to Jane Jacek’s Learning Journey. Retrieved from http://jjaceklearnsonline.weebly.com/28/post/2014/03/game-based-learning-serious-games-and-cots.html
Lewis, Greg. (n.d.). Assignment #2 –Designing an Evaluation Rubric for the Selection of Mobile Apps. Retrieved from OLTD508 Course Weebly, private site.
Lewis, Greg. (n.d.). Assignment #4 –Introduction and overall understanding of the principles of learning in relation to games. Retrieved from OLTD508 Course Weebly, private site.
NEN-The Education Network. (2013, April). Technical Strategy Guidance Note 5: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Retrieved from http://www.nen.gov.uk/files/NEN_Guidance_Note_5_BYOD.pdf
Watters, Audrey. (2014, April 9) Engaging Felxible Learning #bcdl2014. Hack Education. Retrieved from http://hackeducation.com/2014/04/09/bc-digital-learning-conference-2014/
Watters, Audrey. (2012, March 15) MinecraftEdu: Minecraft For The Classroom. Hack Education Retrieved from http://hackeducation.com/2012/03/15/minecraftedu-minecraft-for-the-classroom/