This week in CEP811 we were asked to use the Michigan State University Library to find and reference 5 scholarly references that pertain to something that we want to improve in our teaching practice. The reason why I titled this week’s blog SoLT adventure-again is that for the last two years I have been living this adventure. In June I finished a two year Master’s program at the University of Calgary in a program called Mathematics for Teaching (M4T) in the educational research department. While we had to read scholarly articles that pertained with to our course of study as designated by our professors, we also had to research a topic of our own interest from which our own capstone project would emerge. I have always used games and game based learning in my classroom because I know I have too fight to learn when I am bored or uninspired so why would I assume my students could learn or become passionate about mathematics under the same conditions. As the advances in online role playing games graphics increased so too did my imagination wander to what it could be like for students if they were immersed in a world full of mathematics in such a way that the mathematics was not an impediment to actually playing but a way to experience the world.
These wonderings led me to purchase the first book I am going to talk about, Mathematics Education for a new era, by Keith Devlin. I include it as it provides context to this journey that is again moving forward.
Devlin, K. J. (2011). Mathematics education for a new era: Video games as a medium for learning. Natick, Mass: A K Peters.
This books explores how video games and the principles found at their design core could be used to improve the mathematical proficiency demonstrated by many students. It looks at how an immersive environment could make more real world connections for students to how mathematics is used. He also explores the history of educational games, what is wrong with previous versions, and what could be done to create a video game in the future that supports the development of mathematical understanding and proficiency.
In June I finished my Master’s degree by completing my Capstone Project which looks at what my vision of a Math Massively Multiplayer Online Game, think WOW or SWTOR here, would look like and what research supported that vision. Even though my project is finished in relation to the university , it isn’t finished to me. I am still working on ensuring my work really encapsulates what I would like to see in the game, and when I am satisfied I am thinking about publishing it as a book.
Even though the video game is just a glimmer in my head, I am really energized by the potential benefits I have found in regards to student motivation and engagement. This led me to wonder what could I do to bring the video game qualities into my classroom now. To this end I started following the tweets and blogs of Mr. Matera. . He has been using a game system in his social studies classroom. I am going to give his system a try starting next week as this new school year opens. However, I feel like a need more information about how exactly to make this work in a classroom instead of a video game. This led me to search the MSU library for more on this topic. I did send a request to the librarian asking about where to best search for resources on gamification in education or game based learning but, at present, have not yet received a reply
So I decided to go ahead and search on my own and the following are some resources that I think will help me explore the possibilities of using gamification in my classroom. I have not read them all yet, due to the fact that they are books not articles. In my search through the library I did not find any recent articles that I felt would help me in my exploration of gamification. My Teacher Personal Growth Plan for this school year will revolve around setting up a gamified learning environment in my classroom and reading these resources will be part of how I will accomplish my goals for this year. The resources I have picked to help me reach my goal are:
Sheldon, L. (2012). The multiplayer classroom: Designing coursework as a game. Boston, MA: Course Technology PTR.
I had just purchased this book but had not yet started to read It when I found it in the search of the MSU library. This book is very specific to education which I like, and also highlights the research behind what is being suggested. It is another account of how a teacher implemented gamification into his classroom. I have only made it through the introduction, which defines all the terms for any non-gamers, but so far I am eager to see how his experience correlates or differs from that of Mr. Matera.
Kapp, K. M. (2012). The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
This book is also a recent acquisition for me. I am especially excited to read this book because it deals with the theories and research in an explicit fashion. The theories and research are addressed on their own chapters making them easier to find in the writing. I am also looking forward to comparing this take on how to use gamification in education with the other two versions. I want to find the things that all three have in common as those are most likely to be the most sound principles and then look at the differences and weight them against what I know about gamification and teaching.
National Research Council (U.S.)., Honey, M., & Hilton, M. L. (2011). Learning science through computer games and simulations. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.
I choose this book to see how games and simulations could be used in STEM classes. Most of the information I have read on gamification usually deals with a humanities classroom so I was pleased to find one that related to the sciences. Although I teach math not science I feel that the principles that they talk about in relation to using games and simulations in science will be easier to transfer to math than those from humanities. While this book does not deal with gamification is does give examples of how to integrate computer games and simulations into the classroom.
Whitton, N., & Moseley, A. (2012). Using games to enhance learning and teaching: A beginner’s guide. New York: Routledge.
This book was not available in digital format in the MSU library so I will need to find a copy myself. From reading the abstract , I am looking forward to not only seeing their take on how game principles can be integrated into the classroom, but also their suggestions for how games can be made using relatively inexpensive low-end technologies.