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Posts tagged ‘history tech’

Hacking #iste2015: Subversive teaching and video games

Back in the day, during my high school and college journalism period, every advisor I ever had always said the same thing.

“Never bury the lead.”

Greg Toppo, author of The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter, during an #iste2015 Playground session:

“Think of the havoc you can wreak in your classroom, good havoc, with a really good iPad game.”

I love that. During his 30 minutes, Toppo shared a preso he called To the Moon and Back in Five Minutes: Technology as a Subversive Force. And while he did talk about video games, his main point was that technology can be a way for educators to have a huge impact on learning. 

Toppo asked us to think about Moore’s Law, the idea that computers continue to get faster while costing less. If applied to the automobile, he suggested, using a 1970 car as the starting point, a current car would cost nine dollars, be as large as a match head, be able to travel across the country on a half cup of gas, and make it to the moon and back in five minutes.’

Yet education continues to be satisfied with a culture that seems stuck in the past. As educators, we can use video games and gaming theory to subvert that culture. Some teachers and administrators are afraid of games and technology because they see control of the process slipping from their fingers.

His example?

The Photomath app makes teacher both harder and easier. The app uses the cell phone camera to view any math problem. It then solves the problem for the user and provides the steps. It shows the work.

So is that good or bad? It is very subversive – taking the role of teacher by showing the answer and the steps needed to solve the problem. In a traditional classroom with the teacher in charge of all learning, this sort of tool is a threat. “What is the role of the teacher?” But if we see Photomath as a way for kids to think more about process and problem solving then teachers can spend more time helping students understand the steps, showing uses for formulas, and discussing the why of math. Higher level thinking becomes the focus rather than simply memorizing formulas.

Toppo did share some games. If you’ve read the book, the list is familiar. But he did say his current favorite game is Monument Valley.

Get a sense of the book and Greg’s ideas by viewing an earlier conversation.

———-

Just before Greg spoke, Matt Farber of Gamify Your Classroom fame spent his 30 minutes sharing characteristics of a good game. He talked about chocolate covered broccoli to describe many ed-related games. They look delicious on the outside but really aren’t that tasty once you get past the outer shell. 

I hate broccoli so Matt’s analogy . . . pretty spot on.

The important parts of a good game?

  • goal – may not be winning
  • rules – working within constraints
  • Space – “magic circle” where play happens, a field, chess board, the classroom
  • core mechanics – repeated actions that happen in a game. “actions of play”
  • components – avatars, dice, etc
  • interconnected systems – means understanding a system

Find Matt’s preso here. It’s got some interesting things to say about how and why games can be engaging for learners. Find out more of what Matt does here and here.

Matt also suggested a few games that I need to look at more closely:

A great 60 minutes, filled with helpful ideas and thoughtful conversation.

Hacking #iste2015: Driving creativity with Google Drive apps

Day two of #iste2015. I had meetings all morning and did a podcast with Dr. Curtis Chandler, formerly of ESSDACK. Now prof at BYU North in Idaho.

Spent some time at the ESSDACK booth and an incredible hour in the ISTE Playground listening to Matt Farber and Greg Toppo share their thoughts about gaming and technology. More on that in tomorrow’s post.

Today’s first actual session focuses on using Google apps. Aaron Svoboda is planning to share how Drive Apps can get teachers and students to address the toughest digital age skill – creativity.

I work with a ton of districts who are moving to GAFE and Google tools. So I’ve got high hopes for some very cool stuff because the session will focus on third party apps. You know. Not the typical Docs, Sheets and Slides that we all use. Or even the Forms, Drawing, or Maps apps that not very many of us use. But those apps that you can find under the More option in the New dropdown menu. Read more

Hacking #iste2015: Virtual Globe Trotting with Google Maps

A good day so far. A few sessions this morning. Some great conversations with a some poster folks. I scored two free tee shirts and a cell phone battery charger from Google. And I spent two hours at the ESSDACK vendor booth.

Last session of the day before the awesome Tweetwood Mac / Otus / ESSDACK reception tonight? Jenn Judkins BYOD session on creating and using Google MyMaps. One of the first things I learned this morning was that MyMaps is now an option on the GAFE Google Drive Create dropdown menu.

So I am pumped that I’ll learn some new stuff this afternoon. I have my fingers crossed. If nothing else, Jenn is incredibly perky for 4:15 pm. She seriously just said

The IT guy’s name is Merlin. Shut the front door! He’s literally a technology wizard.

So . . . it’s gonna be awesome. Read more

Hacking #iste2015: Tammy is terrific and so are her video flipping tips

One of the first people who welcomed me to ESSDACK 15 years ago was Tammy Worcester. Even back then Tammy was a rock star, publishing books and posting powerful tips on her site – Tammy’s Technology Tips for Teachers. And she was incredibly helpful as I settled into the ESSDACK world.

Several years ago, Tammy left the Hutchinson office and moved east. She still works for ESSDACK but we don’t often enough have the pleasure of spending time with her face to face. So, of course, when she’s doing an ISTE session, I want to be there.

Because she’s still a rock star. Bigger even. Because she’s got great stuff to share. Read more

Hacking #iste2015: Free ConnectEd & ESRI account and free geography / history lessons

Just dipped my toe in the #iste2015 Expo Hall, talked to a few folks, and got out. You want to be careful about spending too much time in there. It’s too easy getting sucked in to the vendor web.

But I headed in on purpose with a mission to stop by the ESRI booth for a quick chat. Met Tom Barker who had spent some time at the University of Kansas and learned a ton in just a few minutes. So I quick update before I scoot off to browse some poster sessions. Read more

Hacking #iste2015: Helping students experience the world using Google tools

It’s Monday morning in Philadelphia. Not really sure if that means it’s Day One or Day Two of #ISTE2015. The opening keynote was yesterday afternoon but sessions don’t start until today. Not sure how count their days. And I got here Friday for a quick Saturday am presentation at the ISTE Affiliate pre-con event so my count is off anyway.

I was busy yesterday chatting with new friends like Shauna Pollock and old ones like Levi Valdois so I missed the keynote. Pretty sure they went ahead and started without me. I’m sure ISTE thinks the first day was yesterday but to me, this is D-Day. Everyone is here, checked in, ready to attend sessions, chat up poster presenters, and nerd it up in blogger cafe.

And like every conference I get the chance to attend, I’ll try and give a bit of the flavor of what I hear and who I talk with. Not a ton of social studies related stuff but I am finding some that look really good. I’ve got a coffee and bagel so ready to go. First up? Read more

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