I Built my First Virtual Reality Lab in my Classroom.
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!
Minecraft Education Edition hits v1.0
Jon Martindale 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 –
“The Gender Gap in Gaming is Closed”
Chris Riedel of THE Journal writes;
“According to the latest data, video for homework is on the rise; mobile computing is “beyond the tipping point”; and most kids don’t use traditional computers to connect to the Internet at home. Those are just three of the major trends revealed in the 2013 Speak Up Survey from Project Tomorrow, which CEO Julie Evans revealed at the FETC 2014 conference last week.
The 2013 results represent more than 400,000 surveys from 9,000 schools and 2,700 districts across the country. Respondents included 325,279 students, 32,151 teachers and librarians, 39,986 parents, 4,530 district administrators and, new to this year’s survey, 1,346 community members.”
“8. Gaming is Growing, and the Gender Gap is Closed
Another interesting area for Evans was student gaming. This year’s results showed 60 percent of students using laptops as a gaming device. Cell phones and game consoles tied with 54 percent use, while tablets clocked in at 44 percent.
Of particular note is students’ interest in taking gaming technology and applying it to learning difficult concepts, as well as their interest in using games as a way to explore career opportunities. Evans also noted no gender difference in students’ interest in games, with younger girls actually showing more gaming activity than their male counterparts.”
Read more at http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/02/03/10-major-technology-trends-in-education.aspx#QO1SgEJ0lFwEpiMJ.99
Video Games Help Girls to Develop Math and Spatial Reasoning Skills
Annie Murphy Paul of Mind/Shift writes that;
“Girls should play more video games. That’s one of the unexpected lessons I take away from a rash of recent studies on the importance of—and the malleability of—spatial skills.
First, why spatial skills matter: The ability to mentally manipulate shapes and otherwise understand how the three-dimensional world works turns out to be an important predictor of creative and scholarly achievements, according to research published this month in the journal Psychological Science. The long-term study found that 13-year-olds’ scores on traditional measures of mathematical and verbal reasoning predicted the number of scholarly papers and patents these individuals produced three decades later.
But high scores on tests of spatial ability taken at age 13 predicted something more surprising: the likelihood that the individual would develop new knowledge and produce innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the domains collectively known as STEM.
The good news is that spatial abilities can get better with practice. A meta-analysis of 217 research studies, published in the journal Psychological Science last year, concluded that “spatial skills are malleable, durable and transferable”: that is, spatial skills can be improved by training; these improvements persist over time; and they “transfer” to tasks that are different from the tasks used in the training.
This last point is supported by a study published just last month in the Journal of Cognition and Development, which reported that training children in spatial reasoning can improve their performance in math. A single twenty-minute training session in spatial skills enhanced participants’ ability to solve math problems, suggesting that the training “primes” the brain to tackle arithmetic, says study author and Michigan State University education professor Kelly Mix.
Findings like these have led some researchers to advocate for the addition of spatial-skills training to the school curriculum. That’s not a bad idea, but here’s another way to think about it: the informal education children receive can be just as important as what they learn in the classroom. We need to think more carefully about how kids’ formal and informal educational experiences fit together, and how one can fill gaps left by the other.
If traditional math and reading skills are emphasized at school, for example, parents can make sure that spatial skills are accentuated at home—starting early on, with activities as simple as talking about the spatial properties of the world around us. A 2011 study from researchers at the University of Chicago reported that the number of spatial terms (like “circle,” “curvy,” and “edge”) parents used while interacting with their toddlers predicted how many of these kinds of words children themselves produced, and how well they performed on spatial problem-solving tasks at a later age.”
To read the full article by Annie Murphy Paul click here;
Girls, Games, and STEM Education – Yes they all go together!
For years researchers have noticed that few women are choosing careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). To address this problem, “A group of industry and academic leaders gathered at Northeastern’s Seattle campus with what just might be a solution to that problem: video games.”
The group is called; “Girls GAMES, short for Girls Advancing in Math, Engineering, and Science, is a new collaboration between university partners and gaming companies in Seattle aimed at promoting STEM careers for women through the development of educational games. Though the main event is being held in Seattle … We know games can engage kids to learn, so let’s use games for real learning, and let’s use games to advance girls’ learning, interest, and aspirations in STEM,” said Tayloe Washburn, dean and CEO of Northeastern’s graduate campus in Seattle.”
- Guiding girl gamers to STEM careers (stuff.co.nz)
- Games to keep teenage girls enthralled with math, science (seattletimes.com)
Cuts to Education and Learning Games
JJ Worrall writes that “Games-based learning must tailor cost to austere times, education experts warned”. Austerity is now influencing the purchase of educational games;
“While calling herself a “massive advocate” for using computer games in the classroom, Dr Whitton, from Manchester Metropolitan University, says: “There’s a lot of rhetoric in games-based learning where games have to be these high-end, commercial quality games. We don’t need to spend lots of money to have an effective platform for learning.”
To read more click here
“Start With Engagement”: Games Do This!
When I started watching this video, I did not totally support her premise, by the end, I did. I encourage you to watch with an open mind and think about it. Educators tend to start with what “WE” want learners to know. Too often, “WE” are not as concerned with how they experience the process. Games can not get away with such an oversight. If they tried to ignore the player experience, in the same way that we educators – too often – ignore the learner experience they would FAIL! Perhaps this is part of the reason why so many teachers and schools fail their students.
Gaming Education with the Xbox
“We learn best when we become participants in the classroom and not just the passive listener. Utilizing the Xbox (and Kinect) technology takes us an even greater distance towards a true virtual classroom. Couple this with a technology that many are already familiar with, and learning success is inevitable. As educators and instructors, we should be monitoring the evolution of the gaming devices and look for ways we can integrate it into learning. Gaming technology, perhaps, will be the bridge from online learning to virtual learning. The opportunities are limitless.”- Michael Finney
Full Text from Technorati.com Three-ways the xbox is going to change education
“The Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect is one of most powerful consumer-oriented “Natural User Interface” devices available today. Its near-infrared camera produces 3D motion data of anything in front of the it and coupled with a standard webcam and quadraphonic microphone, the device is jammed pack with input sensors. The Microsoft Education team promotes Kinect and has prepared over a 100 lessons and activities to promote “active” learning. Microsoft also claims the Kinect may be useful as an assistive technology device and in promoting collaboration.
What you might not know is that the Kinect can plug to your computer and be used as an interface device!
Think about young students actively controlling a 3D ArcGIS Explorer Desktop globe – investigating the Earth while moving arms, legs, and torso to direct navigation, display data, or conduct an analysis. What an interesting way to engage young, energetic learners.”
Full Text – Exploring the world with arcgis explorer and the xbox 360 kinect”
New online math game – Wowzers!
“A company that creates educational virtual worlds has introduced a new online product designed to help third through fifth graders get better at math. Wowzers comes from Brain Hurricane, a company that develops academic material for K-8 students in reading and math. The new release, which combines adaptive math instruction with game-based collaboration, was shown during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, which took place in San Diego last week…The Web-based service recently won the CODiE award for the best classroom management system and K-12 solution from the trade group Software & Information Industry Association, which runs an annual education-focused award program.”
The game costs $25 per student or $7000 per school.