Author Archives: Gaming and Education

Research Finds that Screen Time is as Harmful as … a Potato.

Stop worrying so much about kids playing Fortnite and other games.  New research finds that screen time is as harmful to children as … a potato.

“Researchers at the University of Oxford have performed the most definitive study to date on the relationship between technology use and adolescent mental health, examining data from over 300,000 teenagers and parents in the UK and USA. At most, only 0.4% of adolescent wellbeing is related to screen use – which only slightly surpasses the negative effect of regularly eating potatoes. The findings were published today in Nature Human Behaviour.

“Our findings demonstrate that screen use itself has at most a tiny association with youth mental health,” says lead researcher Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. “The 0.4% contribution of screen use on young people’s mental health needs to be put in context for parents and policymakers. Within the same dataset, we were able to demonstrate that including potatoes in your diet showed a similar association with adolescent wellbeing. Wearing corrective lenses had an even worse association.”

In comparison, smoking marijuana and being bullied was found, on average, to have a 2.7 times and 4.3 times more negative association with adolescent mental health than screen use. Activities like getting enough sleep and eating breakfast, often overlooked in media coverage, had a much stronger association with wellbeing than technology use.

The method used by the researchers, called Specification Curve Analysis, revealed the reason there seems to be no firm scientific consensus on screen use and mental health. “Even when using the same datasets, each researcher brings different biases with them and analyses the data slightly differently,” says Amy Orben, College Lecturer at the Queen’s College, University of Oxford, and author on the study. “Of the three datasets we analysed for this study, we found over 600 million possible ways to analyse the data. We calculated a large sample of these and found that – if you wanted – you could come up with a large range of positive or negative associations between technology and wellbeing, or no effect at all.” In other words, “We needed to take the topic beyond cherry-picked results, so we developed an approach that helped us harvest the whole orchard,” adds Przybylski.

In order to remove bias and examine practical significance (rather than statistical significance), the researchers used information from other questions in the same dataset to put the statistical findings on screen use in context. “Research’s reliance on statistical significance can yield bizarre ‘results'”, says Orben. “We need to look at the size of the association to make a judgement on practical significance. If you told me the amount of time a teenager spends on digital devices, I could not do very well predicting their overall wellbeing, as only 0.4% is associated with technology use.”

“Bias and selective reporting of results is endemic to social and biological research influencing the screen time debate,” says Przybylski. “We need to put scientific findings in context for parents, policymakers and the general public. Our approach provides an excellent template for data scientists wanting to make the most of the excellent cohort data available in the UK and beyond.”

Method:

The data was drawn from three large-scale representative datasets: Monitoring the Future (USA), Youth Risks and Behaviour Studies (USA) and the Millennium Cohort Study (UK), totalling over 300,000 individuals surveyed between 2007 and 2016. The findings were derived using Specification Analysis Curve method, which examined the full range of correlations relating digital technology use to child and adolescent psychological wellbeing. Details on methodology and all necessary code to reproduce the analysis are available in the paper’s supplementary material.” – From EurekAlert! Press Release.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/uoo-tue011419.php

 

Virtual Reality Helps Students with Autism to Improve Social Skills in the Real World

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has reported on the success of research on Virtual Reality (VR) interventions for people with Autism.  As a father of a son with Autism and as a teacher of students with Autism, I appreciate the value of VR Interventions to create a safe and realistic space to practice social skills.

From the article in Variety –

“We found that students who received the virtual reality experienced increased in their understanding of social skills,” Rowland continues. ”This increase was significantly different from students that did not have access to the virtual reality experience. We also found that students who learned from the virtual reality experience were also able to generalize their understanding to non-virtual environments. Finally, students expressed a level of understanding and presence in the virtual reality experience enhancing the learning experience and understanding of the social skill being described and in which the student interacted.”

“There are a wide variety of social encounters that are based on our targeted users’ own social encounters,” she explains. “This includes both school-based encounters, like classrooms, cafeterias, and will soon include daily life encounters like movie theaters, sporting events, etc.”

“The social encounters vary in complexity based not only upon the user’s age and specific social need but also upon negative or positive feedback within the environments itself. If the user is progressing, the difficulty is increased to assure the user is always being challenged. In addition to the level of complexity of each situation, the situations are categorized, allowing for two-dimensional complexity optimization.”

“In theory, the more realistic and immersive, the less processing is required,” says [Justin Ehrlich, Ph.D.].

Read the full article here; https://variety.com/2018/digital/features/voiss-interview-vr-hmd-1203086576/

 

 

 

I Built my First Virtual Reality Lab in my Classroom.

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This year, I started using immersive virtual reality in my classroom.  I recently built a space for the students to actively participate in this amazing experience.  The students have given me very positive feedback – they LOVE it!  I call it the Virtual Reality Lab, but some of them call it “The Alien Space Ship”.   They love the virtual reality experiences and they are engaged in learning!  I am currently using HTC Vive.  I built an 8″ by 8″ frame with PVC pipe.  I attached curtains (silver reflective roll insulation) to the frame.  The “door” and windows are clear plastic.  I attached the sensors to adjacent corners.  I added a line of LED Lights to the top.   In the last sentence of my dissertation, I wrote that “Virtual reality would take teachers back to school”,  it has taught me quite a bit!  It’s amazing to see students experience virtual reality for the first time.  It’s great to see students so actively engaged in learning!

New Research: Interactive video games help students learn energy conservation better than with traditional pencil and paper methods.

“Knowledge associated with energy conservation is important but it may appear difficult and monotonous to students due to the presence of jargon and complex scientific concepts. This research created two digital question-and-answer games and compared them with a traditional paper-and-pencil learning method to explore how different learning approaches would affect college students’ learning for knowledge of energy conservation. This research conducted a between-subject experiment with random assignment to examine short-term effects of the three different learning methods on motivation, attention, and learning outcomes. The results revealed that participants who played the digital game equipped with more cartoon-style, animated, and interactive features scored significantly higher than the lower-complexity digital game group as well as the traditional paper-and-pencil group on the learning outcome tests. Moreover, in contrast to many previous studies, use of these digital games was not found to affect learning motivation and attention.”

Chen, S. W., Yang, C. H., Huang, K. S., & Fu, S. L. (2017). Digital games for learning energy conservation: A study of impacts on motivation, attention, and learning outcomes. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 1-11.

Read the full research article here;

http://srhe.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14703297.2017.1348960?scroll=top&needAccess=true

 

Minecraft Education Edition hits v1.0

 

 

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of Digital Trends writes that “Microsoft and Mojang have been working hard at further developing Minecraft Education Edition, and at the start of 2017, the two firms have announced that this version of the game has now hit 1.0.  Minecraft Education Edition is the same Minecraft world you know and love, but with specific features aimed at students and teachers. It has NPCs for tutorials, simple multiplayer server setup, camera and portfolio recording, in-game chalkboards and downloadable lesson plans for educators. While all of those features have been present since the early days of Minecraft Education Edition in late 2016, now that it’s hit version 1.0, there are a number of new features to enjoy, too.”

To read more about Minecraft Education Edition V1.0 click here –

http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/minecraft-education-1/#ixzz4XZSUUtc3

The Bound Copy of my Dissertation has Arrived!

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It is great to have a physical copy of what was for so long an electronic file on my laptop.  Higher-Order Thinking Skills in Digital Games by Anthony W. Palmer.

My Graduation! I am Officially a Doctor!!!

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My Presentation and Hooding at Azusa Pacific University

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My presentation on Higher Order Thinking Skills in Digital Games got off to a rough start with the sound system, but fortunately they were able to fix the problem.  The rest of the presentation went well.  I was so happy to have my extended family their to learn more about what I’ve been working on!   Once again the audience had excellent questions about games and learning.

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My Hooding Ceremony at Azusa Pacific University – Department of Educational Leadership

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My family!

 

My Presentation at The California Educational Research Association

cera-badge            I presented my research on Higher Order Thinking Skills in 3 iPad Games, at the California Educational Research Association in Sacramento California.  My room was full of people who asked many thoughtful questions about games and learning.

Pokémon Go and potential curriculum links

https://i0.wp.com/www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/news/2016/07/25/103846353-Pokemon-Go-news_1-large_trans++bMR798aWDZck9uDQFumyM6LVobgUGC4FoVT7JGNuBBk.jpg

 

The popular game Pokémon Go can be leveraged for learning.

write that some of the; “potential curriculum links are:

  • whole-class discussions of how the movement of tectonic plates has affected GPS readings in Australia (science, geography, English)
  • photographing both real insects and virtual Pokémon and then writing up Pokédex entries for the insects they have collected (science, media studies, ICT, English, art)
  • designing classification flowcharts for Pokémon as a lead-up to classification of animals (science, English, maths)
  • assigning students the job of Pokéstop tour guide (Pokéstops are often positioned in front of historical locations), requiring them to research and report on the history of the area (history, art, English)
  • framing maths problems around the data available for each Pokémon such as height, weight and strength. For example, if I have 3,700 stardust, what combination of Pokémon can I power up that will use up all my stardust? Or Asha’s house is 600m from school. The only time she plays Pokémon Go is as she walks to and from school every day. How many days will it take her to hatch a 5.0km egg?”To read their full article at The Conversation click here
  • http://theconversation.com/gaming-in-the-classroom-what-we-can-learn-from-pokemon-go-technology-63766