I'm happy to announce that I have just been appointed Director of the brand new Possibility Zone Makerspace at Kean University. This is part of a long-term grant and will have a focus on STEM students and professors and the preparation of pre-service K-12 STEM teachers.
As part of the project, I plan to start a new Scoop.it topic on Makerspaces very soon. I'm looking for blogs, websites, wikis, videos, ezines, ebooks, paper.li feeds, etc. that deal with Makerspaces and things related to them. Basically, I want to set up an information flow to curate.
If you have an idea or resource for me to check out, could you please send it? I think a helpful way would be to use the "Reactions" link that appears on the bottom left of this Scoop.it window when you mouse over it. (If you're reading this, it's likely that you can see it now.) Please be sure to include URLs in your suggestions.
Thank you so much for your help. I'm really looking forward to this new opportunity and hope to be of assistance to others through the new topic here on Scoop.it.
PS - The photo is not of our Makerspace at Kean, but one at the Cincinnati Public Library. We have just started to create /design our space. What fun!
While it’s not uncommon to hear students say “I hate school,” some are really suffering and desperately want out.
I can relate.
I became an educator not because I loved school, but because I was bored and miserable in school. I wanted to figure out how to change that for others. I started this blog to share ideas about how to do that.
Like my own experience, many students today are bored and disengaged for many hours each day, despite the best efforts of their teachers and parents to try to help them make the most of school. Many are depressed. They feel a complete lack of control over their lives, and have a bleak view of the future.
Jim Lerman's insight:
This seems like a good idea to me. Please read on and contribute if the concept resonates with you. Also, please pass along to your network, if you can.
Students are motivated due to personal choice and meaningfulness, real-time feedback, the ability to collaborate or compete, and over time, they learn stay persistent in learning due to prior successes. Quest tasks can range from listening to a podcast, collecting and analyzing real-time data, or watching a short video to partnering with a classmate for discussion or writing a short essay. As students complete each quest, they can level up to new assignments on their journey toward an “A.” Teachers have the ability to approve quests or put them on auto-approval so students can keep progressing while waiting for their teacher’s feedback on milestone work. Early research showed that on average students remained more persistent in quest-based learning™ compared to traditional assignments, with over 92 percent of students receiving “A’s,” and over 65 percent who continued to quest in a course after they already earned an “A.”
"Many websites are launching platform-based educational games that may help "non-gaming" teachers -- those who do not play digital games in their free time -- incorporate more games into their instruction, middle-grades educator Matthew Farber writes in this blog post. Farber highlights the benefits of platforms, such as GlassLab, which offers games such as "SimCityEDU," and reports student-competency data to teachers."
By many measures, Quest is on track to fulfill its mission of captivating students and imparting essential skills at the same time. Since its opening, the school in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood has drawn students from all over the city, adding a grade every year; it now has 560 students, and in 2016 will graduate its first class of high school seniors. Student attendance and teacher retention rates are high. In 2013, 56 percent of Quest middle-school students scored better than the citywide average on the state standardized English Language Arts exams, and 43 percent exceeded the citywide average for math. About 28 percent of the student body receives special education services.
“They’re coming up with the ideas themselves, in a way that they enjoy. And that makes all the difference.” Ann Meals, a teacher learning the Quest method.
"Perhaps more significant, said Richard Arum, a professor of sociology and education at New York University, who has been conducting a longitudinal study of Quest and other technology-based programs to gauge their efficacy, is how well students have performed on the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA). The CWRA measures such skills as problem solving, writing effectiveness and mechanics, and scientific and quantitative reasoning. The results, while preliminary, “are quite impressive,” said Arum, and indicate that Quest is equipping kids “to collaborate, think critically and master 21st-century competencies like systems thinking and design thinking.”
"Choice of Robots is a recent large-scale Choice of Games piece: you take the role of a gifted young graduate student in robotics, about to make significant breakthroughs in your field, generating a line of robots that might become surgeons, soldiers, companions, factory workers. Your choices include design decisions for the robots and business decisions about how to manufacture and sell them, but also personal decisions about how to relate to your robot creations, and what you think it all means. The scope of your activities is such that you may find yourself flying to Shanghai to take meetings, or spending months in a military jail, or preventing the invasion of Taiwan — and along the way it’s pretty likely that you’ll also make a considerable personal fortune, which you can choose to spend on luxuries, philanthropy, or a mix of things."
"With the thousands of educational apps vying for the attention of busy teachers, it can be hard to sift for the gold. Michelle Luhtala, a savvy librarian from New Canaan High School in Connecticut has crowd-sourced the best, most extensive list of apps voted on by educators around the country.
“I wanted to make sure we had some flexibility because there’s no one app that’s better than all the others,” Luhtala said. Some apps are best for younger students, others are more complicated, better suited for high school students. Many apps do one thing really well, but aren’t great at everything. Still others are bought, redesigned or just disappear — so it’s always good to know about an array of tools to suit the need at hand."
"You’ll have to excuse me. I’m going to sound a little excited now.
"Earlier today Oculus announced Story Studio, its in-house production team dedicated to producing virtual reality movies. We’ve been seeing VR narrative experiences for years at this point, and while they’ve been getting more and more impressive, they’ve still been iterative steps forward. Despite how much we’ve all wanted to it to happen, nothing has stood up, raised its hands, and shouted "I’m the project that proves this crazy thing could actually work."
"I just watched Lost, the first short from Story Studio. That stand up and shout moment? It’s arrived."
"One of the strengths of gamification is that it provides visible milestones of the student’s mastery of content in real time (when it is well designed). Too often in an instructional setting, the learner doesn’t know whether or not he or she really understands or can apply the knowledge they are learning. There is often no visible sign of mastery of the content or application of the content.
"If the designer of the instruction provides continual feedback to the student concerning progress toward terminal learning objective, then the learner themselves can gain an understanding of their own mastery of content.
"Therefore, an important element of gamification (or any learning design) is demonstrating to the learner that he or she is making progress within the content or toward a skill to be learned. The act of moving through content on the way to a clear end point such as mastery of a particular terminal objective is one of the elements of gamification."
Jim Lerman's insight: Excellent article for anyone who designs sequenced learning experiences.
"The world is becoming more connected than ever, but students' interest in learning geography, one of the most important foundations for understanding global issues, is declining. Drawing on research that suggests computer simulations are effective tools to engage students in meaningful learning, the authors explored the potential of the computer simulation game Global Village, a virtual world developed in the Quest Atlantis game platform, for geography education."
On Mondays, we publish a Times photo without a caption, headline or other information about its origins. Join the conversation by posting about what you see, and why. A live discussion is offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time.
"Welcome back, students and teachers.
"We’re excited to begin our third year of “What’s Going On in This Picture?”, and we’re thrilled it continues to be one of the most popular features we offer. Teachers tell us they use it for everything from helping students strengthen their skills in evidence-finding to encouraging E.L.L. students to practice speaking aloud.
"We hope students will continue to join our moderators at Visual Thinking Strategies in responding to other students, making the feature truly an inter-school conversation. Below, we explain all the directions that we post on Mondays with each new photo.
A just-released alternate reality game called DUST is trying to encourage teens, especially girls and minorities, to get excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The premise of DUST is one that might appeal to middle and high school-aged students. In the game, adults worldwide fall unconscious because of mysterious dust from a meteor shower. It is up to the players, whose target ages are 13-17, to save the world (and their parents' lives) by the end of seven weeks of play.
Over the course of the game, players receive new parts of the story and science clues two to three times a week through social media, email and game apps. They work as a community to add their own input, guide the action, do research and provide solutions to help rescue the adult characters.
"In DUST there are no fixed outcomes," said Bill Cirillo, the NASA Langley Research Center aerospace engineer who started working with the game's developers almost two years ago. "It's up to the students to move the story along and do problem solving using the scientific method and critical thinking skills."
Alternate reality games are interactive networked stories that use the real world as a backdrop. Players sign onto a website to interact directly with characters in the game and use a variety of media platforms, such as the Web; social media apps including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram; email; cell phones; museums and even printed materials to collaborate with each other and solve mysteries or puzzles.
Click headline to read more and access hot links--
Current events articles are a great choice for informational text. Students can learn all about news stories and practice reading skills at the same time. If you have a class full of students reading at different levels you’ll definitely want to check out Newsela. This fantastic site contains brand new articles everyday. The best part is that you can change the Lexile level of each article by clicking on the one that’s right for your students. You can share the same article at a few different levels with each of your reading groups.
Digital games have the potential to transform K-12 education as we know it. But what has been the real experience among teachers who use games in the classroom? In 2013, the Games and Learning Publishing Council conducted a national survey among nearly 700 K-8 teachers. The report reveals key findings from the survey, and looks at how often and why teachers use games in the classroom, as well as issues they encounter in their efforts to implement digital games into their practice.
One of the most promising developments in game-based learning is the launch of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance. This unique alliance was launched at the Aspen Ideas Festival last summer. Excelsior College is one of the 57 charter members. The founding and executive committee members of HEGVA include Constance Steinkuehler, associate professor and co-director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Games+Learning+Society Center; Tracy Fullerton, associate professor and director of USC Games at the University of Southern California; Andrew Phelps, professor and director of the Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity [Dr. Phelps is also a member of Excelsior’s Game Center Advisory Council]; Drew Davidson, professor and director of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University; and Katherine Isbister, associate professor and director of the Game Innovation Lab at New York University. To quote the alliance’s mission statement, “Our mission is to create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities. The key is to create a robust network of resources—including unified advocacy, policymaker engagement, media coverage, and external funding—in order to incubate and harness the impact of this community in a 21st century learning environment."
The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning started as a series of blog posts written by Jordan Shapiro with support from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and the Games and Learning Publishing Council. We’ve brought together what we felt would be the most relevant highlights of Jordan’s reporting to create a dynamic, in-depth guide that answers many of the most pressing questions that educators, parents, and life-long learners have raised around using digital games for learning.
"The SGS has been designed to bring together the cutting edge companies, institutions and individuals researching on and developing Serious Games. We focus on helping members in connecting and benefiting from the wide range of resources available in the Serious Games space.
"The SGS aims at becoming the reference point on Serious Games and Gamification at the scientific, technological and professional level.
The SGS’s core purpose is to foster technological innovation and excellence in the field of Serious Games and Gamification for the benefit of all the people.
"The SGS fosters research and technology transfer between research, industry and educational establishment in the multiple disciplines involved in SGs design, development and deployment. The SGS provides a platform at European and international level for generation, promotion and co-ordination of SG-related activities, from research to marketing, from corporate training to university education. The SGS promotes the development and use of Serious Games across sectors (health, business, cultural heritage, etc.) and contexts of use (formal education, corporate training, leisure time). We aim to extend the application domains and expand the market for Serious Games."
For educators who are interested in using games for learning -- specifically towards developing skills as they relate to the Common Core State Standards -- here are five games students can enjoy and that we’ve found sync with standards.
“Action video games have a number of ingredients that are actually really powerful for brain plasticity, learning, attention, and vision,” says brain scientist Daphne Bavelier in her TED Talk on the subject.
Findings like Bavelier’s have been cropping up over the last few years, forcing us to reevaluate our firmly held beliefs. Many educators now use video games in formal learning settings, and others are teaming up with members of the gaming industry to design programs that target specific learning goals. The controversy is ebbing, and this year neuroscientists have discovered something that may end the discussion once and for all:
"This comprehensive guide published by MindShift and written by Jordan Shapiro explores the benefits of using digital games for learning, provides strategies for selecting games, and includes examples of how educators are using digital games in the classroom. Ultimately, the goal is to use digital games to engage students and put them at the center of the learning in the classroom."
"Well-designed games have an intrinsic motivation that drives players through the experience, and that persistence can be put to good use in the classroom. Take a math example: Many students have trouble working with fractions. According to Rebecca Rufo-Tepper, director of professional development for the nonprofitInstitute of Play, any game that expects to replace the traditional drill-and-kill worksheet approach to fractions needs to place the students into a space where solving fraction problems is repeated, but in a way that gets "increasingly complex and ... where there's some kind of strategy involved and there's also some kind of fun and play element to it. For us, a really great game will automatically make a player want to keep playing it."
"A similar approach can be used to help students practice analyzing text. Institute of Play has developed a game called StoryWeaver in which students collaborate to create a story. This requires what Rufo-Tepper calls "systems thinking," which leads students to understand the relationships within and among components. To play the game, "You start by pulling a setting card," said Rufo-Tepper. "The card says the setting is on Mars. You have to write a few sentences about the setting. You have to use a spinner to pick whether you're in first person or third person. You might write a few sentences and then you pass the story to the next partner, and they have to add in a character. They draw a character card and the character is a mouse. OK, now you've got mice on Mars. What's happening here?"
"In the first round of play, the students create a story that has a character, a setting and a conflict. In the second round of the story, they go back through the story to add in metaphors, similes and edits. By the third round, "they have a pretty good draft of a story together," said Rufo-Tepper.
"The game then asks the students to express how having that specific character in that particular setting affected the kind of conflict that took place, "to see the story as a system and see how all these discreet elements of the story interact. That's much more powerful than just being able to identify the plot of a story and a setting of a story," noted Rufo-Tepper. The goal, she said, is for students to understand that the story "creates this system and these things all need to align to create a coherent message for the audience. For me, that's much better to use than just having them just read through a story and answer a worksheet."
Jim Lerman's insight: Excellent article, providing numerous examples and resources.
"The initiative will begin on Sept. 15 with the grand opening of the Operation Play Resource Center. Educators interested in game-based learning can visit the page to explore research, articles, case studies, video series, games and curriculum.
"Other highlights of Operation Play, which runs through Sept. 19, include podcasts featuring educators’ experiences with implementing games in their classrooms; free sessions for educators, researchers and game developers at the Gaming in Ed conference; pre‐recorded webinars; and giveaways via Filament Games’ social media channels.
"For a complete list of events and more information, visit the Operation Play Resource Center."
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