This was one of the topics that was discussed in my tech class. Gamification is basically transforming the classroom culture into a video game. Instead of gaining points from quizzes, students gain experience points. After students gain a certain amount of experience points, they can "level up" and maybe gain a prize for doing so (like a homework pass or certain privileges). Gamification makes the classroom more engaging, just like video games engage kids.
When kids play video games, they are having fun learning what they need to know in order to finish the game, whether for fun or for social status among their peers. If they come across a challenging part, kids will keep trying in order to finish the game. And when they finish the game, they feel good about themselves. This concept of a video game is translated into the classroom when that classroom is gamified.
If students love to play games and you are having trouble engaging your kids, gamification may be the thing to try. Even if you can't completely gamify your classroom because it's the middle of the school year, set up some kind of point system for when kids turn in their homework or participating in class (whatever you are having trouble with). After a certain number of points are earned (stickers on a chart would work, too), offer a prize. Not only does this incentivize whatever you are working on with your students, this can also help students learn to delay gratification and work towards a goal.
This is my second post for the day. What questions do you have about gamification? Do you prefer topics of the week or journal articles? I would love to know!
Here’s what I have learned this week:
Monday (Tech in the Classroom): Gamification in the classroom is something that I am thinking about implementing in my classroom. The issue I am thinking about is whether or not I will have a classroom or if I will do more travelling so gamification may not work for me. I do see why I feel more teachers should gamify their classrooms, but is it practical for me? I would love to figure this out for my classroom. I might put some games together this summer. I won’t guarantee it, but it’s an idea I will keep noted.
Tuesday (Learners with Exceptionalities): So this was the night we spent about an hour and a half looking at an Evaluation Team Report (ETR), an 89-page document (yes, I counted) to prove that a student needs additional help. And by 89 pages, I mean 89 sheets of paper printed front and back. I can say that it is quite comprehensive. I’m still not sure that 89 pages should be required to give the student the help that he or she needs. It should take awareness of different conditions that the students can have and ways to help the student work around or work with the conditions. If it gets to be significant, then let there be documentation and get the kid the help that he or she needs. But it should not take 89 pages to prove that the child needs help. It might need half that. I will even say three-quarters. But when documentations starts turning into a novel-length book, that might be too much.
Wednesday (Learning & Human Development): Today was a review of chapters 8 (Behaviorist Views of Learning), 9 (Social Cognitive Views of Learninsg) and 10 (Motivation) for the next exam. Not sure what else to add, other than we were given scenarios and had to figure out how to deal with the scenarios using information from chapters 8-10.
Thursday (Phonics): Today was going over different types of sorts, such as sound sort, spelling sort, concept sort, picture sort, letter sort, word sort, open & closed sorts, blind sort, visual sort, speed sort, and write to the sort. Sorts are used as a way to physically sort words or pictures into categories. I have done a few sorts in this class, and I enjoy figuring out which concepts I need to study more than others. I find it more engaging than a study guide.
This is my first post for today. I am trying something different and would like your opinion: do you prefer these journal articles or a more specific topic of the week? Also: what do you think of some of these concepts?
Here’s what I have learned this week. I realized that I probably needed to define what classes my reflections was coming from, so I added that in. I will try to post these every Friday. (This week kind of failed. Great way to set expectations.)
Monday (Tech in the Classroom): Learning management systems (LMSs) are online websites that can be used to keep track of grades and attendance, and to post and record assignments, to name a few. I have not really played with LMSs from a teacher’s point of view, but I might play with Schoology and/or Google Classroom this winter or summer when I have more time. If I do, I will post a reflection about it.
Tuesday (Learners with Exceptionalities): This was the day that my class was talking about autism. This topic is pretty close to my heart since I have an uncle who has autism. Listening to Susie’s story in Autism is a World that night just broke my heart. It seems so sad that we are treating people like her so terribly just because she can’t communicate the same way. It’s as if we can’t accept people that are different because they aren’t the cookie-cutter “perfect person” that everyone is expected to be. She was a college junior and people thought she wasn’t capable of much thought! (I could rant on forever about how this isn't fair, but for the sake of this post, I will stop here. Just watch the videos I have linked above.)
Wednesday (Learning & Development): In this class, we were going over different types of behaviors that can be modelled – academic, aggression, and interpersonal – and how to successfully model these behaviors for our students. There was also a lot of discussion on self-efficacy (what a student feels like they could successfully accomplish) and how it affects what students can actually do. It makes me think of a quote I heard from Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Students’ (and teachers’) self-efficacy had a direct influence on what the students (and teachers) can do. If a student feels like he can master multiplication facts, he will work to make sure he masters his multiplication facts. If that same student doesn’t feel like he can master multiplication facts, he will put no effort into making sure that they are mastered, so the facts don’t get mastered. I feel this mindset of “I can’t do this” is something that we as teachers need to change in our students. Comment below: What can we do to change this mindset?
Thursday (Phonics): Here, we were discussing the seven syllable types (CLOVER; closed, -le, open, vowel teams, silent e, r-controlled). I was taking words and dividing them by syllables and defining each syllable. For example, clover à clo (open) + ver (closed). I find this useful for students who like to find patterns in words. In the word clover that I divided before, open syllables usually have a long vowel, while closed syllables usually have a short vowel. I found the syllabication to be fun. Of course, not everyone will be interested, but it is nice to see the patterns in long and short vowels that I could show my students.
Don’t forget to comment what you think about any of the topics I have brought up.
Here's what I have learned this week:
Monday: Just in time leaning is the education you get at the exact moment you need it, such as researching how to fix a sink. Just in case learning is the education you get for use later, such as the classes you take in high school and college. I have started wondering if teachers can transform just in case learning into just in time learning. I feel that just in time learning would stick to students more because you are getting information that you need at this current moment instead of getting information that you might not use right away and move on to something more pressing. Instead of just teaching skills, maybe we need to show students how to apply those skills right away, which would help with transferring knowledge from just learning the skill to applying the skill in a meaningful way.
Tuesday: Student empowerment in the classroom is so important to me. If students feel like they can’t succeed, they won’t. One of the things I learned about was having student experts. These kids are the ones that are confident in a certain skill. The best part? Every student is an expert. I also heard some little things that make a student’s day. Celebrate their victories, no matter how small. Make sure kids know that you get them, you understand what they’re going through and you will do anything you can to make them feel better. Don’t call a kid “bad” when the make a mistake. Let student talk about what is going on in their life. Maybe they have no one to talk to. As teachers, we need to be that person.
Wednesday: Classical conditioning is the process of developing an involuntary response to the presentation of two stimuli. A classic psychology example is Pavlov’s dogs. In the classroom, it can take the form of giving candy out when a student answers a questions with his hand raised and waiting quietly for the teacher to call on him. The student sees the candy as a reward for raising his hand and waiting quietly. Later, the teacher might add in praise along with the candy. Even later, praise could replace candy as the reward for the student raising his hand and waiting quietly. I think that this could work for most students, even if it is a sticker on a reward chart instead of candy.
Thursday: VAKT, which is an acronym for Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Tactile, is a form of multisensory instruction. Using multiple senses for learning helps keep the information in different places of the brain, which is ideal for retaining information. I thought about is as like having Google Drive or OneDrive for your brain; keeping information in different places keeps the data safe and you can access it more easily on other devices than if you just saved it to the desktop on your computer. Utilizing multisensory instruction means that students can take what they have learned, save it in multiple places in the brain, and recall it later whenever they want to.
Feel free to comment what you think about this post. I would love to hear from teachers that are currently in the field!