Friday, July 23, 2010

EDUC 504: Expertise (Reflections on July 23 Class)

So, today I found that 5 minutes of trying to use Garage Band last week to make a recording for our "Media Embedded Document" assignment and 10 minutes of tutorial-watching and experimentation last night made me an "expert" at podcasting. I think in my old life I would have thought something snarky about how, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed woman is Queen." I'm trying instead to think about it terms of Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development and peer-facilitated learning. Wish me luck. (Please imagine Queen Barbie here to be one-eyed.)

I'm also still trying to work out how to make my classroom more like a game.

Would it help to have a way of keeping score -- geology money, instead of monopoly money?

What other mechanisms do games use that could be incorporated into a classroom? I think Stephanie's right that there's a certain element of fantasy to some of the games I've loved.

(My current favorite is this one.)

But there also tends to be a strong social element to playing games I like -- it's a fun way of spending time with family and friends. (So much so that the favor at my wedding was playing cards, which some of my family then used to play games instead of dancing:) The fun isn't just in the spending time -- it's also in a healthy competitiveness.

I need to think more about the interplay between competitiveness and game motivation, and whether there is a way to have some students "win" without making others feel like "losers".

Also, (inspired by many of my classmates) I decided to experiment with pictures this post. Which means it took just as much time as my prose posts, but ended up with a lot fewer words. You may sigh with relief now.


  1. As a friend of mine used to say after attending a seminar facilitated by someone who knew very little,
    "I read a book, now I'm an expert." For me with all of these new experiences with technology the question is which will I find compelling enough to pursue to the point of relative expertise. It is good that we are experiencing and experimenting but there is so much to learn and my brain is getting crowded out. My real hope is that I see some of this modeled in compelling ways. When I read the edubloggers and other geeks I just tend to think it is their thing. It is not that I don't see a value in much of this. But figuring out a way to implement any of these technologies in a way that is not just gimmicky or a time waster is going to be the trick. Even with the gaming stuff, I see a value in immediate assessment but doing it in a way that students find encouraging and engaging will take a good deal of thought and good instincts.

  2. George, it will be interesting to see what (if anything) your mentor teacher uses technology for... hopefully we'll have some sharing on that topic in the methods course? I agree that the immediate feedback is both valuable and tricky -- I think my mentor teacher may be good at it, though, so I'm looking forward to watching and learning.

  3. emily, the whole idea of using video games (or any games) in education is a very attractive one to me. There seems to be natural human inclination towards games, with people preferring games in different forms. As Gee points out, there really is some higher order thinking required to succeed at video games. The key thing to me is helping students "unpack" that knowledge so that it can be transferred to other curriculum content. I could really see alignment between the scientific method and the thought processes used by video gamers.