Sunday, September 26, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
This post answers questions (for now) about my Action REsearch. Please let me know what you think. I need the feedback.
What is your official problem statement?
My official problem statement is the use of simulation games in education. How can they be used to help students achieve better and more meaningful understanding in today’s secondary school curriculum?
I have kept my problem in general terms since I am still researching exactly what game and what curriculum I am working on. I am looking at a game called Immune Attack. The students navigate a nanobot through a 3D environment inside the patient’s body. Their goal is to retrain non-functional immune cells and save the patient’s life. I have talked to our health careers teacher about using it in one of her classes.
How did your research end up shaping this?
I knew I wanted to work on a different way of teaching. I also knew the military has been using simulation games for a very long time. It is an excellent way to teach something dangerous that will minimize physical threat to the student. Business also uses simulation games to teach a variety of subjects by putting employees in real-life situations without causing an adverse effect on their business. I have found that while some colleges and universities are using simulation games, secondary education in America has not embraced this 21st century tool. Most of the studies I have found are based on research done in Europe. At first, I was thinking of changing my area to something with more information, but as I did my research, I was amazed how much has been done in the field of simulations.
What outcomes are you expecting?
I have decided to use qualitative assessment rather than quantitative assessment. At this point, I am more interested in student and teacher responses and not so concerned about test scores. If I keep with this subject over the years, I would then have to justify my research with quantitative results. I am expecting that I will meet some resistance by both teachers and students at first. There is a learning curve to Immune Attack that has to be overcome. Students in America are used to computers giving them instant gratification on a low level. They usually are not wiling to work hard to get the right information. Once they have the information they need, they are not used to applying it. We have a culture of memorization and multiple-choice answers. So my outcome, I hope, is to show that applied knowledge can be fun, useful and satisfying.
How are your critical friends helping in this process?
Up to this point, I have not involved my critical friends to any great degree. I have talked to them all to assess their interest in my project. I have found that they have different views and should be a great help to me. Some of my critical friends are low on the technology scale. Their opinions will help me clarify my research for those who are not technology savvy. Others are using technology on a daily basis and will give me their views when I am unclear as to my direction.
How is this month’s course helping in shaping your ARP?
The video with Dr. Michael Wesch was interesting in that it gave me detailed information on how a simulation game could work with a large group. The fact that his game was not just computer based, but involved groups meeting and solving problems was very interesting. I never thought about the computer simulation as being only one part of the game. This class also introduced me to many web 2.0 tools that could be a part of a simulation.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
This week’s web 2>0 tool is a site called Pixton. In most of my talks with my fellow teachers, we agree that getting students to write is difficult. Students just don’t like to write. That is why I am excited about this site called Paxton. Paxton will let students create cartoon strips where they can add their own characters and create stories. They can create a character that they can transform into their alter ego to express their opinions. They can also add sound and music, and import their own backgrounds. I showed it to a civics teacher in my school. She immediately saw how she could use it with her students. She is planning to have her students write on current events, complete with news photos as backgrounds. I also took it to an English teacher. She saw how she could have students do reading reviews, even book reports in comic form. I haven’t shown it to our newspaper and yearbook teacher yet. But I’m sure she can use it in her publications. The student’s comics are cleared for publication.
One thing about Pixton is that they do charge for the full use of the site. I have set up a meeting with my principal to discuss how we can get the funding. We in Dare County are fortunate to have a group that is willing to fund projects that incorporate 21st century skills. If my principal approves, we plan to send in a request for them to pay the fees.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Reading for my AR project.
I have started my research into gaming. I think I even have a virtual game in mind to work on. Right now I am doing background research. I will be adding things to my AR website as we go. I am also having trouble with my AR website. I will have to reload it on the web. I will let everyone know when I am back online with it.
My first reading is actually a web site;
It has facts on gaming in education along with 6 questions to ask when evaluating a game. I have copied them directly from the website listed above.
Some questions to ask when evaluating games
1. How compelling or engaging was the experience?
2. How comfortable did you feel with the game controls (interface, etc)
3. Did you feel you were playing or learning?
4. Did the graphic quality help or hinder the experience?
5. What kind of instructional design could you observe in the game?
6. Did you choose to continue on to the next level or stage when you had the opportunity?
This site also contains a link to the game I intend to use in my study. It is called Immune Attack.
I will be referring to this site in the future.
The next is an article on sex differentials in geometry using games and simulations. Although I am not testing a math game, I found their study interesting. Is there a difference in learning between male and female students? Their result was that no significant difference was show between improvements in math scores between males and females that used games and simulations. Both scored higher than the control group.
Anchor, Emmanuel E. Sex differentials in Students’ Achievement and Interest in Geometry Using Games and Simulations Technique.
The next article was a current event simulation game at the University of South Dakota. It involved a simulation of a contemporary event. Specifically it involved the war on Terrorism; or more properly, insurgencies and counterinsurgency efforts. The game became more than just an assignment done in class. Students used blogging to communicate and blogging became an important part of the game. Real news releases were incorporated into the game and students were introduced to a variety of perspectives. Although the governments and terrorist organizations were fictionalized, news events reflected what the players were doing.
Hacker, Kurt. More than a COIN flip: Improving Honors Education with Real Time Simulations Based on Contemporary Events.
The final article evaluates how the three “C” s models for literacy (creative, critical, and cultural) can be applied to the study of computer games in the English and Media classroom. It used examples such as Harry Potter, which is a book, a movie, and a video game. It also analyzed the term literacy and how it applies to computer games and simulations. This is an are that I did not consider before, but I will look at it as part of the game learning process.
Partington, Antony. Game Literacy, gaming cultures and media education.
I am doing my AR project on gaming in education. The more I read about it, the larger the subject becomes. When I went to Joomla, I found a lot of podcasts and information on educational gaming as well as recreational gaming. Although this site won't satisfy my requirement for peer reviewed articles, it could be a great site to help me with my research. I can also post my own views. When I teach digital media, especially the advanced class, i can use this site with my students. Of course "Blog sites" is one of the many words that will block a site in school. Like many site, it includes a variety of views. It also includes interesting statistics and where the information originally came from. It's a site I plan on visiting as my research progresses.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
They say good things take time, but I’m not always willing to wait. After some experimenting, I think I have Google Reader working. I also have a link in my Google page. I can see two uses for Google Reader. First, it would be an easy way for me to know whenever a site I use is updated. The second use would be to communicate with my students and for them to communicate with each other.
As I try to get my students to communicate with their fellow students and me, I can see a good application for Google Reader. I teach Digital Media as well as Digital Photography. Many of the things I teach are not in textbooks. This would be a great way for my students to keep track of the websites that I want them to use. I could also get them on blogs. I can see that this could be a good way for them to talk with each other even if they are not in the same section, or even the same school.
My school’s guidance department has started to combine my classes. Now I teach two periods that contain both Basic Photography and Photography 2. That means my photo 2 students do not meet face to face. It also means that I spend less time instructing them. Google reader can help them blog classroom discussions. They would be alerted whenever one of their fellow students adds a comment. I could also videotape new lessons (I am already doing one for them this weekend) then they would be notified when I put it online for them.
Of course, my school uses light speed to block unwanted sites. Blog is a word that would automatically block the site. So I would have to work with our tech people to work out the details.