Friday, March 1, 2013

Chapter 7 Problem Solving and Inquiry Learning with Software and Web Tools

*All links are highlighted in yellow*

Focus Question: How can teachers use computer games and simulations as learning resources? 

  • Students today play computer, video, Web-based games regularly for entertainment; boys are heavier users of video games rather than girls  a fact that contrast with fewer gender differences in most other areas of technology use and online activities. 
  • The educational impact of gaming experiences remains intensely debated-- some educators and psychologist see little value in games or gaming while other researchers envision exciting possibilities for learning when students use the intellectual skills needed in effective game playing for educational purpose. 
  • Digital games for learning represent a new category of educational themed games that emphasize active learning, sustained concentration and focus, and innovative problem solving. 
  • Strategies for effectively using games in the classroom include minimizing those that teach isolated skills, carefully choosing games that are solely based on winning or losing points, discussing game content with students, and actually playing games with your students. 

Photo Credit to Harryjacob2911 from Flickr. 

In today's world more than half of the Unites States families have a computer, I pad, or smartphone in their house hold. It would be the logical thing to do to incorporate these new technologies that are being created into teaching. Students should understand that they can use these items as a form of engaging themselves in learning, and that it can be fun. There is a website that helps students create their own educational game from what they have learned in the class called scratch. I talk about it more in my tech tools 7.1. When using educational games in the classroom it gives the students a chance to explore new learning strategies that the teacher has. When teachers use games the students will be more involved, and are most likely to learn what is being taught. The photograph above is an example of a learning game for a student who is in elementary school. This online game has the student subtract certain numbers, and see what answers they get. When the student is correct they can fine the number that matches theirs with a certain color on the bottom. Once they click on the number and color it will automatically color the picture with the certain color. This game is fun for students because they are coloring the picture, and they cannot wait to see what the final picture will look like. The students are engaged in the activity and want to do well to see how their picture will turn out. If a game is educational I say use it as a tool in the class for information reinforcement. 

Tech Tools 7.1: Scratch 

There were only three teach tools thing week that I could choose from, so I chose that one that went along with the focus question. The website that I looked up is called Scratch. This website is a beneficial website that teachers and students could use. The students can go to the website and create their own educational game, animated story, and interactive art (Maloy, 2010, p. 185). It is free to sign up for this website, as long as the student or teacher has a valid email account. Once an account is set up, they can see project that other people have made. Also the website is very easy to navigate. In the home page there is a button that says "Get Started" and when clicked on it gives step by step instructions on how to get started. I feel that anyone would be able to navigate this website because it is self-explanatory. It is a different experience when the students get to create their own work to teach themselves. Here students follow their own initiatives, learning from those activities with feedback, and support from the teacher (Maloy, 2010, p.185)

Summary & Connection: 

The chapter this week has been about how teachers could use computer games as a way to teach. Some people might think that it has no educational value for students to play games, but I believe they are wrong. When teachers teach they have to keep in mind that their material has to be appealing to the students. If a class is boring it is likely that the students would not want to pay any attention. On the other hand when a teacher makes the lesson plans appealing to the students, they are more likely to pay attention to what is being taught. Also when you give the students an opportunity for them to create their own game based on what they know, it gives them a sense of freedom to express themselves. Students will be confident in their knowledge when the teacher gives them positive feedback. A teacher can determine what software to use in their class by evaluating the effectiveness of it. If a software program is not going to benefit the students, then there is no point in using it. Educational software can be evaluated in terms of how it promotes higher order thinking where students engage in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of what they are learning (Maloy, 2010, p. 203). The school board usually makes the decision if certain software would be valuable to a large amount of students.  They are the ones who usually buy software in bulk for the different schools in the county.  If a teacher is going to use free software for students, they have to make sure that it will be flexible for all students.  A new term that I learned this week is Intelligent Tutoring System; Are powerful new software programs that promote inquiry learning by students through computer responses to student actions (Maloy, 2010, p. 197). Just as a human tutor would help out a student in any subject that they need help, so would this new online tutor. It is a new way to get online help at all times. The online tutor would provide the extra practice the student needs to become better academic learners, and test takers (Maloy, 2010, p. 197). 

Technology in Education

Example of Educational Online Game


Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010).Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.

1 comment:

  1. In addition to reinforcement, gaming can teach problem-solving, strategic thinking, sequencing, etc so I would definitely agree that it has a place in the classroom. The caveat would be to be sure that it is appropriate and effective and, as you've learned, the vetting process is available.
    Scratch is actually a pretty cool game opportunity - I'm taking a class, Learning Creative Learning, where we are going to create our own Scratch project! ;)