4 ways to gamify learning in your classroom — from tophatmonocle.com

Excerpt:

This post explores the role of gamification in education and provides four examples of how you can bring the learning method into your classroom.

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Top Hat Monocle closes $8M to bring gamification to university classrooms — from betakit.com

Excerpt:

Today another student engagement platform, Top Hat Monocle, announced it has closed $8 million in Series A funding led by Emergence Capital Partners and iNovia Capital, with participation from SoftTech VC, Version One Ventures, and Golden Venture Partners. The Toronto- and San Francisco-based company, which raised $1.5 million in seed funding in November 2011, launched their product in 2010 and has been used by 65,000 students at over 150 global universities.

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Gamified courses from Course Hero and Bunchball boost student engagement — from gigaom.com by Ki Mae Heussner

Excerpt:

In some circles, the phrase “gamification” may have gone out of fashion, but Course Hero and Bunchball are intent on showing that it can still pack a punch in education.

In April, Course Hero, which uses free online resources to offer students digital study guides and other tools, launched a series of full-length online courses infused with game mechanics from Bunchball’s gamification platform. The companies Tuesday revealed some of the initial results from the partnership.

On average, users spend three times more time on the gamified courses than on all of CourseHero.com and total time on the platform has increased five percent since the Bunchball integration, Course Hero reported. The company also said that social sharing of achievements, which are awarded as students progress through the courses, has climbed nearly 400 percent since the Bunchball partnership.

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From DSC:

  • There is enormous power when resources are reallocated to teams of specialists that come together in order to create engaging, multimedia-based, interactive learning materials!   The products of these endeavors should prove to be highly beneficial — especially when they can be integrated into more hybrid/blended teaching and learning situations. That way, we can utilize the best of both the face-to-face and virtual worlds.

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If attention can be visualized as a gate...is it getting harder to get through the gate?

 

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Addendum on 7/19/12:

Excerpt from
Seven Concepts for Effective Teaching — from Astronomy Education Review by Andrew Fraknoi

CONCEPT 2: “COLLABORATION BEATS COMPETITION”
There is no need to make an introductory astronomy unit or program like the Survivor show on TV. In any learning environment, it can be better to encourage students to work together and to support each other. After all, most jobs and even intellectual enterprises today require participants to do effective teamwork. When you approach a class period like an Olympic trial, those who don’t “score high” get discouraged pretty quickly. However, if everyone’s input is solicited and valued, everyone feels part of the team and more open to learning. This is why good teachers find ways to draw in a much wider group of students than those who happen to raise their hands first.

Also:

Concept 1: “Learning is not a spectator sport”
Concept 2: “Collaboration beats competition”
Concept 3. “Everything takes longer than you think”
Concept 4: “Less is more!”
Concept 5: “New knowledge must connect with prior conceptions”
Concept 6: “Give and get immediate feedback”
Concept 7: “Don’t give walnuts to beggars who have no teeth!” [old Portugese proverb]

Recording everything: Digital storage as an enabler of authoritarian governments — by John Villasenor, a nonresident senior fellow in Governance Studies and in the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings. He is also professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Within the next few years an important threshold will be crossed: For the first time ever, it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders – every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner. Governments with a history of using all of the tools at their disposal to track and monitor their citizens will undoubtedly make full use of this capability once it becomes available.

The Arab Spring of 2011, which saw regimes toppled by protesters organized via Twitter and Facebook, was heralded in much of the world as signifying a new era in which information technology alters the balance of power in favor of the repressed. However, within the world’s many remaining authoritarian regimes it was undoubtedly viewed very differently. For those governments, the Arab Spring likely underscored the perils of failing to exercise sufficient control of digital communications and highlighted the need to redouble their efforts to increase the monitoring of their citizenry.

Declining storage costs will soon make it practical for authoritarian governments to create permanent digital archives of the data gathered from pervasive surveillance systems. In countries where there is no meaningful public debate on privacy, there is no reason to expect governments not to fully exploit the ability to build databases containing every phone conversation, location data for almost every person and vehicle, and video from every public space in an entire country.

This will greatly expand the ability of repressive regimes to perform surveillance of opponents and to anticipate and react to unrest. In addition, the awareness among the populace of pervasive surveillance will reduce the willingness of people to engage in dissent.

Surviving the Future

From biotech visionaries growing new body parts, to in vitro meat, from a global sensor web that monitors the health of the earth’s biosphere, to a massive effort to reverse-engineer the human brain, Surviving the Future takes a disquieting and astonishing look at some of science’s most radical new technologies.

The film also takes a hard look at the ‘new normal’ of the climate crisis, as we balance our desire to be environmentally responsible—to ‘do the right thing’—and still participate in the consumer economy that is, for better or worse, the basis of our society.

Surviving the future is an unsettling glimpse into the human psyche right now, as our culture staggers between a fervent belief in futuristic utopian technologies on the one hand, and dreams of apocalyptic planetary payback on the other.

Thought provoking and visually stunning, Surviving the Future looks at the stark and extreme choices facing our species as we prepare ourselves for the most challenging and consequential period in our history.

From DSC:
These are some of the things I was alluding to in my post here…I’d be more comfortable with many of these things if the state of the heart were in better condition.

Students Solve Math Mysteries in Sackboys and the Mysterious Proof — from spotlight.macfound.org with Kan Yang Li

Spotlight talks with Kan Yang Li about games-based learning and the new math-related adventure level he created for the popular video game “LittleBigPlanet.”

From DSC:
The other day, I was lamenting that the love of learning gets lost waaayyy too quickly in our youth. With drop out rates in the 25-30% range nationwide, we must turn this around.

A piece of that turn-around picture involves the opportunity for students to collaboratively create things (in a cross-disciplinary sort of way). This is why I am a big fan of multimedia-based projects:

  • One student can write the script.
  • Another can do the filming.
  • Another can take pictures for still shots.
  • Another can do the film and/or image editing.
  • Others the acting or singing or playing music.
  • Others can create the artwork or use their knowledge to create props
  • Etc.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The film below discusses the dark side of our culture as it involves schools and education. But the topic is not just related to schools, but to our society in general. That is, we’ve been sold a bill of goods. We believe that you must earn a lot of money to be successful and happy…and that whomever dies w/ the most toys wins.

This competitive streak is a worldly way of looking at things…but is a powerful current to fight. In fact, coming from a competitive background and being a Christian (in faith) myself, I’ve often asked myself whether I believe competition is a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t think I’ve arrived at the final answer to that question, as sometimes I think it can be good (as it can be helpful in developing characteristics of discipline, perseverance, character, integrity, etc.) and sometimes it can be bad. Check out the video/trainer here to see what I mean.

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