Blog Archives

Minecraft Education Edition hits v1.0

 

 

minecraft-education-edition-2-640x0

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

Higher Order Thinking Skills in Minecraft

Minecraft-Pocket-Edition blooms

I have uploaded my first video to YouTube (please be kind interwebs).

I Identified all three Higher Order Thinking Skills in Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy – analyzing, evaluating, and creating.  In the future, I plan to upload a walk-through  of Bad Piggies and Dragon Box.  These were the games I asked my participants to play for my dissertation on Higher Order Thinking Skills in iPad Games.

Yay! Today I started interviewing participants for my dissertation!

Higher Order Thinking Skills
in iPad Learning Games

Anthony W. Palmer Ed.D. (Candidate), Researcher
 Institutional Review Board Identification: #94-14

Diagram of the levels within Bloom's Taxonomy Triangle

 

 

It has been a very long journey toward my dissertation.

 

I have completed all the courses for my doctorate.

I have completed my literature review on learning games and higher order thinking skills.

My research committee has approved my dissertation proposal.

The internal review board at my university has approved my application to  conduct the research.

The principal and the teachers have granted me permission to conduct my research at the school.

Over 30 parents have returned their consent forms.

So today…

three students assented to participate in my research on Higher order thinking Skills in iPad learning games!!!

Yay ! ! !

They all did a great job, playing the games and answering my questions.

There would have been more students participating today, but I quickly used up all of the memory on the iPad recording the first three students.

Many students asked if it was too late to turn in their consent forms.  I told them that they still have time.  It seems that many more will join the project before the end of the school year!

It is so good to have passed the necessary bureaucratic hoops and finally be conducting research with students!

So now, more observations, interviews, analysis, synthesis, writing and rewriting.

Yay!

EdGamer Celebrates Three Years of PodCasting about Games and Learning!

Congratulations Zach and Gerry, keep up the good work!

From the EdGamer show notes;

EdGamer 129: Our 3 Year Manniversary

This week on EdGamer 129 we celebrate our 3 year manniversasy! Relive all the good times  from our past as we go through our favorite shows and guests. We have 128 shows and we have learned so much from our work, our guests, and our FOE’s (friends of EdGamer). Tune-in and level-up!

Olympic Snowboarding Cross

 

Niilo Interview with Zack

 

our favorite episodes…

 

An Open Letter to STEAM: If You Build It, ED Will Come

 

Minecraft Episodes – Joel Levin

 

Games & Learning with Jim Gee

 

EdGamer 86: Jeremiah McCall and the Learning Games Network

 

EdGamer 81: John Hunter Brings Us World Peace

 

EdGamer 74: Magicians – A Language Learning RPG

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor/Producer: Gerry James  


 To browse the EdGamer archives click here;

http://edreach.us/channel/edgamer/#

 

 

“The best gaming experiences stimulate the mind and encourage creative thinking”

Ian Livingstone writes that;

“But there is strong evidence to suggest that games skills equal life skills, and that playing games is actually good for you.  Human beings are playful by nature. We enter this world as babies, interacting with everything around us. We learn through play and trial and error, both fundamental to games. Humans love solving puzzles which is central to games like Tetris, Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds. We love to build and share, the very essence of Minecraft, which can be described as digital LEGO. Whether it’s playing activity games like Wii Sports (burning calories at the same time), simulation games like Sim City, strategy games like Civilisation, or social games like Words with Friends, the experience is likely to be enjoyable and beneficial. Think about the cognitive process of what is happening when games are being played. It’s a case of hands on, minds on. Interactivity puts the player in control of the action, and that is very engaging and powerful.”

To read the full article click here;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/10695869/Playing-video-games-wont-turn-your-kids-into-zombies-its-good-for-their-brains.html

EdGamer Explores a Virtual Tour of a California Mission in Minecraft

Edgamer-280

From the EdGamer shownotes;

EdGamer 128: Humble Bundle

This week on EdGamer 128 we have some catching up to do! After calling in sick last week, we come right back at you with a plethora of gaming and learning news. From game packs for under 10 bucks to conferences for kids run by kids.  This week’s EdGamer has everything you need to satisfy your  edugaming needs. Tune-in and level-up!

Humble Sid Meier Bundle (pay what you want and help charity)

Someone Made A New Portal 2 Campaign… Without Portals

Moving at the Speed of Creativity | 4th Grade Virtual Tour of a California Mission in Minecraft

Interview with Woz: To innovate, get personal | Consumerization Of It – InfoWorld

Fun, Friends, and Feedback with Student Response Systems

Gaming with the Histocrats: January 2014 Games of the Week

Meriwether

Unfazed, Houston Pushes Ahead on 1-to-1 Computing – Education Week

Lenovo Aims New Rugged ThinkPad 11e Laptops at Students

Chromebooks can now run Windows desktops, via VMware

Be Smart On Air with Niilo

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor/Producer: Gerry James  


 To browse the EdGamer archives click here;

http://edreach.us/channel/edgamer/#

 

iPads in the Digital Classrooms

Tom Sullivan writes that;

“Two-year-old Mia traces out a letter on the screen with her forefinger, then claps with joy when the computer chants “wonderful!” and emits a slightly metallic round of applause.

The preschool group at Tanto International School in central Stockholm is just getting used to a new batch of iPads — one for every two children — and it’s a noisy, chatty affair.

“They really enjoy playing this app. It’s really good for learning pronunciation,” said their teacher Helena Bergstrand.

Bergstrand, along with nearly 90 percent of teachers polled by the city council, believes that iPads and tablets help motivate children to learn.

– ‘More interactive’ –

“There’s an instant appeal with an iPad … they love it!” she says, raising her voice over the din as she moves around the table to help the children.

“It’s more interactive (than pen and paper).”

Petra Petersen at Uppsala University has researched the rapidly growing use of tablets in preschools — recording children when they interact with the technology and each other.

“In the schools I’ve looked at, they usually sit together in a group and its very collaborative, there’s a lot of body contact and verbal communication,” she said.

“These tablets are very multi-modal — they have colours, sounds, spoken words, and things that interest the children — that’s part of what makes them so popular. A large part of learning is about having fun, and the children have a lot of fun with them.”

In Sweden, like in many countries, small children often play games on tablets and laptops long before they encounter them at school.

According to the national media council, close to 70 percent of Swedish two- to four-year-olds play video games.

Nearly a half (45 percent) of children aged two have used the Internet — perhaps unsurprising in a country with one of the world’s highest mobile broadband penetrations.

“It’s more or less prioritised in schools now, to bridge the gap between schools and the environment children are living in,” said Peter Karlberg, an IT expert at the National Education Agency, referring to the thousands of tablet computers bought by public and private sector schools in the last few years.

And that has put increasing pressure on teachers to get up to speed — one in every two surveyed have said they need special training.

– ‘Still a taboo’ –

Felix Gyllenstig Serrao, a teacher in the western city of Gothenburg, has taken computer-aided teaching further than most, using the popular Swedish game Minecraft to teach children with behavioural and concentration problems, including Attention Deficit Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome.

“I bring something to the classroom that they like — that they do in their spare time — to make them want to be in school,” he said.

“Minecraft is very good because it’s so open and creative … I usually use it to make a topic more alive.”

Serrao — a games enthusiast himself — teaches 12- to 15-year-olds subjects like mathematics and history, using the game’s building blocks, often called “digital lego”, to make maths problems tangible or to illustrate scenes from history books, building them in the game after the formal part of the lesson has ended.

“It reinforces what they learn — when they return to the game later and see there’s a pyramid there or a town we built they remember the lesson.”

He said Sweden has a long way to go before schools can exploit the full potential of digital classrooms.

“There’s still a taboo around games. When I talk to older teachers about this they usually frown — thinking that video games have nothing to do with learning,” he said.”

To read the full article click here;

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gVyfCvjc0cDbrWrVeOdymBqmwK7A?docId=49c2368b-2691-4a06-abf4-380f80c822b3

Learning with Minecraft

Chris Shores writes;

“Brian Westbrook was trying his best to keep up with the two dozen Greenfield Middle School students competing for his attention. Calls of “Mr. Westbrook, Mr. Westbrook” rang through the air like a broken record, from students hoping to get tips and tricks on the afternoon’s assignment: building a house.

At one end of the horseshoe-shaped computer lab, 12-year-old Virnalis Mejia focused on his screen as he assembled wooden planks on top of each other across his virtual property. Still unsure of what his final house would look like, Mejia was concentrating for now on building a solid foundation. To gather more wood, he wandered next door to his friend’s yard and went inside a communal storage shed they had built.

This is Minecraft: a Swedish computer game of creativity and survival, where players gather natural resources to build items for their lives. It’s a new option this year at the school’s required Expanded Learning Time after-school program and about 50 students in fourth-grade through seventh-grade will take the class each trimester.

Video games in school? Westbrook, a 25-year-old Greenfield High School alumni, has heard the skepticism before. Although he believes it’s important for children to participate in a range of activities, he’s not buying the argument that video games are a waste of time.

“I’ve always felt that there’s a kind of deeper educational aspect to games that a lot of people don’t realize,” he said. In Minecraft, creativity and logical reasoning can seemingly produce anything; some hardcore gamers across the country have used the game’s virtual minerals to create an electrical wiring system that can play Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” with the click of a button or calculate math functions on a giant computer that’s built completely in the digital world.

Since Swedish computer programmer Markus Persson developed Minecraft in 2009, the game has exploded in popularity across the world. After years of unofficial release, it was fully published in November 2011. When a Microsoft XBox 360 edition came out six months later, game developers sold four million copies in five months, according to Minecraft.net.

It wasn’t until this year, though, that Westbrook pitched the idea of an after-school class to Middle School Principal Gary Tashjian. It didn’t take much to convince the principal, who called the game “a big hit” for many of his students.

“More than just a mindless computer video game, it challenges students to be creative and build extensive communities,” said Tashjian, adding that the school tries to find a mix of extended learning time offerings for students. Students attend the enrichment classes twice a week for 80 minutes each day. On other days, the extra block is dedicated toward things like standardized test preparation and academic tutoring.

In the class, Westbrook uses “Minecraft EDU,” a modified version of the game built by the United States and Finland, which allows him as a teacher to change or block off parts of the digital world his students all share. It also gives the class access to another world full of historical monuments and artifacts ­— a chance to embed video games with history and geography lessons.

Westbrook said some of his fourth- and fifth-grade students don’t have extensive computer experience. While they slowly master the game, they’re also learning how to use and manipulate computer applications — skills they’ll need to learn for real-world applications that extend beyond games.

Many of the older students though, the ones tasked with building a house, have been playing for years.

There were some traditional houses, but one built his completely underground and another incorporated an underwater room.

Dylan Carlo, 12, decided to have one entire wall of his house built of glass. In this class, since students are still getting the hang of the game, he was able to acquire free materials from a virtual store that Westbrook built.

Carlo explained the elaborate process he would normally have to go through to build this type of house: collect cobblestones, build a furnace, gather sand, melt it in the furnace and then take those glass pieces back to the construction site.

Mejia, the student accessing his supplies from an adjacent storage shed, said he learns new things about the game all the time.

“(In) Minecraft, you can do whatever you want to do. There’s no rules,” he said. “It’s fun because you can be creative.”

Its freedom can be puzzling for gamers who prefer structure, levels and final bosses. Even Westbrook, a lifelong gamer, took awhile to warm up to its loose style.

Still, developers have added goals and challenges for people.

Playing in survival mode, as opposed to creative mode, means that the individual needs to be smarter about what items they build and when. They need to use tools to find and eat food so that their hunger and health bar levels don’t drop too low. A shelter is crucial at night to protect against zombies who swarm in the darkness, ready to attack.

Fighting zombies is generally an extracurricular activity. In Westbrook’s class, students are instead focused on the game’s creative mode and collaborating with their peers to build and explore a digital world.

Still, some things are likely to occur in a room of two dozen middle school students, no matter what they are doing.

Halfway through one afternoon class, Westbrook had to intervene briefly when one student stole another’s digital sword. As the teacher, he can freeze student play or turn off their ability to chat with others.

By the end of class, everyone was getting along. The only chaos was due to an onslaught of requests directed at Westbrook — typically to make a new item available in the store.”

To read the full article by Chris Shores click here;

http://www.recorder.com/news/townbytown/greenfield/10208991-95/minecraft-popular-video-game-builds-students-interest-in-learning

EdGamer Discusses the New Learning Initiative Gamifi-ED.

From the show notes of EdGamer;

EdGamer 126: How Gamifi-ED Empowers Students

This week on EdGamer 126 we bring back one of our favorite features of the show: new guests! Vicki DavisLee Graham and Colin Osterhout of the thriving new gaming and learning initiative Gamifi-ED. (We will be bringing Verena Roberts of Gamifi-ED on EdGamer in the near future) Listen in as we pick their brains about their wiki, personal views on education and some of their favorite games. Tune-in and level-up!

Hangouts On Air with Niilo – Focus – as always – on educational use of information technology

Schedule for SXSWedu

Redo

Intel Galileo

Intel Galileo Spec Sheet

Users should have their hands on Intel’s Galileo computer within two weeks

https://www.facebook.com/IntelGalileo

Oculus CEO, Humble Bundle and Towerfall creators make Forbes 30 Under 30 for games

http://gamifi-ed.wikispaces.com/  by Verena Roberts and shared to me by Wes Fryer

http://gamifi-ed.wikispaces.com/Quest+1


Quest 1 Questions:


  1. What is a serious game? Is there such a thing as a non-serious game?

  2. What are examples of serious games?

  3. How can serious games be evaluated? (Done with higher ed research and input)

Our Quest


  1. Evaluate the serious games that have been discovered and create recommendations and opinions on the usefulness and value of the games for improving the world and the lives of those who play them.

  2. Prepare a presentation to share the findings and create a public wiki sharing the findings.

Quest 2 and 3 Link

 Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor/Producer: Gerry James  

Show GuestLee Graham

Show GuestColin Osterhout

Show GuestVicki Davis


 To browse the EdGamer archives click here;

http://edreach.us/channel/edgamer/#

Not all “edu-games” are created equal.

 

Dean Groom, the Manager of Educational Development at University of New South Wales, writes that;

“The re-purposing of video games as learning tools continues to gather pace with the recent release of high-profile educational incarnations of games like SimCity and Minecraft.

Different educational games have their own different origins, and not all of them are created equal. Educational or not, schools and other institutions are being asked to place their trust in something they have historically banned or ignored.

So which games should educators invest their time and trust in?

Just games or real learning?

In the past, educational games have always differentiated themselves from commercial games – branding themselves as serious – and avoiding double-positioning of educational and commercial entertainment.

But now commercial game developers have have begun “edu-versioning” their best-selling entertainment titles, and extending sales through educational editions.

Video games are big business. It’s difficult to know exactly how big the industry is, but the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association reported retail sales for 2012 were A$1.161 billion, not including downloaded games and other downloadable content.

Interest in the potential of video games accelerated in 2008, after the Pew Research Centre reported “97% of US teens play video games.” Talk of the educational potential of games also became a popular topic for TED Talks. Jane McGonigals “Gaming can make the world better” or Gabe Zimmerman’s “How games make kids smarter” claimed games are not only educational but transformative ways to learn.

Learning re-branded

Educational video games are still mainly produced by academic institutions or by commercial developers.

Institutions have begun working with independent developers – for example, Filament Games and E-Line Media – to translate academic theories and research into games. These are usually designed for student use at school.

Online community projects – like Minecraft in Schools – editable by academics and others are in a similar category. These involve using an existing framework and adapting them to include lesson ideas and assessment tools.

Often these types of games include “teacher only” powers to enforce particular learning styles or behaviours on students. And they sit outside of institutional or commercial control, normally used independently by teachers.

Australian school teachers have taken to using educational version of Minecraft to teach spacial and numeracy skills.

Games described as educational are also sold through online stores like Apples iTunes or Google Play. Though prolific in number, they appear devoid of alignment with educational institutions and are generally cheap or free forms of entertainment.

The newest form of edu-game are well-funded commercial games retooled for education markets. There are several examples such as Electronic Arts’ (EA) The Sims, Mojang’s Minecraft and Valve’s Portal.

Portal, rebranded TeachWithPortals, attempts to combine Valve’s seminal game with school science problems. Here, non-gaming teachers can find resources for easier classroom implementation than in non-commercial open software games, which require some assumed knowledge.

But this approach is frequently criticised for fundamentally changing the nature of the game. While keeping familiar aesthetics, these adaptations shift the gaming environment to one teachers feel more comfortable with.

What is a good educational game?

Educational games are often sold as a “better than nothing” proposition, which demotivates some students, and does little to build a new understanding with educators about the extent new media like video games can play in education.

They also allow the companies developing these games to find a new educational distribution channel. For schools, this new era of educational games is a confusing mix of popular culture, social media’s ascendancy, new channels of communication, and a growing research base.

Valve has tried to leverage an existing game into an educational product, but not everyone is convinced it will helped students learn.

Numerous studies have shown teachers must feel the digital technologies are competent and reliable – in essence, trust these technologies – in order to use them with students.

To establish which game-titles are better than others requires teachers to work out how learning occurs in games – empowering students to exchange ideas rather than continue to see the games as a new way of delivering the same teacher-dominated pedagogy.

Good educational games will provide an enriched, personalised learning experience, the ability for the teacher to alter the goals, support for both formal and informal learning opportunities and the potential for social networking.

Games like Minecraft, Terraria, King Arthurs Gold offer these kinds of shared spaces, co-creation, adventure, immediacy, interactivity, persistence and community.

Teachers have become more comfortable with some long-established games – most notably Quest Atlantis – being in classrooms as part of a broader push to bring new technology to learning.

A newer example is the ABC Splash project, which combines film, book, game and live events that school-systems have struggled to sustain or maintain interest in.”

To read the full article click here;

http://theconversation.com/edu-games-hit-the-market-but-not-all-are-are-created-equal-20148