Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Games and learning- evidence

I am attaching empirical results about the impact of games on learning. This is where empirical evidence trumps "common sense" it is not motivation. Instead it is combining traditional and game based instruction, group work and multiple sessions. A good preview to Jim Gee's visit to UNL on Aug 20th and his talk on Gaming in Education.

A meta-analysis of the cognitive and motivational effects of serious games.
By Wouters, Pieter; van Nimwegen, Christof; van Oostendorp, Herre; van der Spek, Erik D.
Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 105(2), May 2013, 249-265.
It is assumed that serious games influences learning in 2 ways, by changing cognitive processes and by affecting motivation. However, until now research has shown little evidence for these assumptions. We used meta-analytic techniques to investigate whether serious games are more effective in terms of learning and more motivating than conventional instruction methods (learning: k = 77, N 5,547; motivation: k = 31, N 2,216). Consistent with our hypotheses, serious games were found to be more effective in terms of learning (d= 0.29, p < .01) and retention (d = 0.36, p < .01), but they were not more motivating (d = 0.26, p > .05) than conventional instruction methods. Additional moderator analyses on the learning effects revealed that learners in serious games learned more, relative to those taught with conventional instruction methods, when the game was supplemented with other instruction methods, when multiple training sessions were involved, and when players worked in groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

iPads in the classroom workshop

I have just finished an intense week working with educators on iPad integration into the classroom at UNL. We had participants from across the k-16 spectrum and with very different levels of experience. From first time users who unboxed their first iPads the morning of the workshop to a teacher that has already implemented iPads in her classroom effectively.

The approach was developmental and each of our learner-participants (students just sounds wrong) set their own personal goal. They all made it. Outcomes included creating iBooks on grammar, a blog on apps for teachers in the school, books that taught basic words in native languages and many many more. As everyone presented on Friday I could not stop smiling and thinking about this amazing group of learners and their willingness to step with us outside their comfort and embrace twitter, apps, and a new role for the teacher. We aimed straight for the creation and critical thinking (Blooms taxonomy) knowing that the rest was something we could all do.
One of our participants reflected on her blog: "My mind is reeling with ideas now. It is an exciting time for me as I feel we are on the cutting edge rather than just catching up with a movement."
I also like the idea of a flipped classroom.  It was nice that Jason was honest about the startup time and possible frustrations that we may run into while trying to implement this process.

The biggest lesson was mine. Yes, all teachers can learn to CREATE in a short amount of time and all of them created video, screen casts, and other media products. Yes, iPads seem to make sense for everyone in education in different ways although it is by no way a magic bullet. And, Yes, it was very stressful but also lots of fun. Looking forward to next year and using some of this year's participants as coaches. 
Now I am ready for a break...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Netflix Binges and Education

I have recently joined the Netflix throngs. As its use spread throughout our devices  I observed my kids and I binging on a specific show. 
I started thinking about the value of "binging" in education. As a matter of fact I just finished teaching two summer classes that effectively were a binge phenomena. My perception that on some topics, especially ones that have a high level of novelty and cognitive load a concentrated effort like this is useful. 
The question I am left pondering is whether this can work in schools. The Accelere program in Omaha is one such approach helping high school students get credits in short bursts.