Educational Games-THEY DO EXIST!!

Computer Based Gamification

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Computer based educational gamification has been around for quite some time. Educational computer games have been in classrooms for years with games such as The Oregon Trail and others (Cohen, 2011). Computer based games are just as they sound, games played utilizing a computer which can include graphics, sounds, simulations, and progression or completion awards or points. Computer games can be used for nearly all subjects and all education levels.

A prime example of computer based gamification is the use of computer to games to motivate and increase test scores in tests such as the SAT or ACT, triggering priming or the use of words in one task to another task (Dennis, Bhagwatwar, & Minas, 2013). The idea is that students enjoy playing games, they are motivated by success, and achieving high scores which untimely leads to their retaining and learning of information. Additionally, games such as the above mentioned Oregon Trail offer historical simulations where individuals are given tasks and trials similar to those which pioneers faced on the Oregon Trail. Simulation games provide individuals with a different learning experience, where they are allowed to make their own choices and decisions and are scored based on those choices (Tunstall & Lynch, 2010).

Computer based games can be used in both formal and informal education and learning. Students can complete assignments using computer games in the classroom. Outside of the classroom students can play educational games for fun and learn at the same time! Students who wish to improve their test scores, prepare for a test or upcoming course, or just simply want to learn something new can play games based on their selected outcome or subject.

Getting started using computer based games is easy! The student must have access to a computer, which also must have the appropriate operating system for the game they want to use. Computer games can be downloaded online, accessed from a website, or ran from a disk. Most games come with instructions explaining the objective, goal, scoring, and controls. From there it is simply play and learn!

To learn more about the use of computer games in education:

Edutopia. (2015). Game-based learning: Resource roundup. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/game-based-learning-resources

Laughlin, D. & Marchuk, N. (2015). A guide to computer games in education for NASA. Retrieved from https://education.jsc.nasa.gov/pdfs/NASA-Games-Guide-Laughlin-2005.pdf

Malykhina, E. (2014). Fact or fiction?: Video games are the future of education. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-video-games-are-the-future-of-education/

References

Cohen, A. M. (2011). The gamification of education. The Futurist, 45(5), 16-17.

Dennis, A. R., Bhagwatwar, A., & Minas, R. K. (2013). Play for performance: Using computer games to improve motivation and test-taking performance. Journal of Information Systems Education, 24(3), 223-231.

Tunstall, R., & Lynch, M. (2010). The role of simulation case studies in enterprise education. Education & Training, 52(8), 624-642. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00400911011088953

Apps

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An app or application is a type of program that is downloaded to an electronic device. That device can be a cell phone, computer, tablet, or MP3 player. Apps are designed for a wide range of uses including education, business, banking, games, book, and more. The famous saying “there’s an app for that” is quite true, even for education and learning!

There are thousands of apps designed for learning or education. Some of the most popular computer based games have been converted to applications. Education gaming apps can help students learn a foreign language, advance their math skills, learn science, economics, or any other subject (Bomhold, 2013). Teachers can ask students to download specific educational game apps to use in the classroom or as part of their homework.

One of the great things about apps is that they are available at anytime and from any place. Students can learn informally at their own pace and as they wish! Teachers can use apps that include curriculum, specifically developed after 21st century learners and common core learning (Sebourn, 2013). Games are incorporated to increase student’s motivation and give them enjoyment in learning. Parents, educators, and students all find benefits to the use of games and apps in learning.

Apps are easy to use and in many instances free! All that is required is Internet access and a mobile device. From there you can simply search for the apps that have been recommended by educators or look for apps that appeal to your learning objective. Apps are then downloaded to the device and can be used anytime!

To learn more about apps and education visit:

Edutopia. (2014). Games in the mathematics classrooms: There’s an app for that! Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/game-apps-in-math-class-patrick-feeney

Mobile Learning Academy. (2016). Mobile learning academy. Retrieved from http://mobilelearningacademy.org/

PBS kids. (2016). Apps & More. Retrieved from http://pbskids.org/apps/

References

Bomhold, C. R. (2013). Educational use of smart phone technology. Program, 47(4), 424-436. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/PROG-01-2013-0003

Cohen, A. M. (2011). The gamification of education. The Futurist, 45(5), 16-17.

Sebourn, C. (2013, Feb 20). Retired teacher unveils ‘apps with curriculum’ site in effort to align educational apps with common-core lesson plans. PR Newswire.

Gaming Systems

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A gaming system or video game console is a device that provides audio and video that can be connected to a television or used via a hand-held device. Depending on the type of system, games come in disc, card, cartridge, and downloadable forms. Currently the most popular gaming systems or consoles are from PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo. Video games are some of the oldest types of games. There are several different genres including education!

One downfall of using a gaming system for educational purposes is lack of portability. Additionally, one system can only accommodate up to four individuals. On the other hand a major benefit to using a gaming console and educational video game is the cooperation between individuals for a common goal. Simulations and other types of gaming benefit each individual and course in different ways (Cornacchione, 2012). Movement based game consoles such as the Kinect or Wii, allow individuals to move and record their movements for games related to fitness, science, or dancing making them even more interactive (Galvin, 2012). Even games that one did not imagine were “educational” actually posses educational attributes like problem solving.

Teachers can get students involved in formal video game learning through tournaments and having consoles in the classroom for use. Teachers can go out and find games that meet their educational goal and implement them in the classroom. For students who are fortunate enough to have systems in their homes, parents can help them informally learn by purchasing educational games for their children to use. Likewise, adult learners can find problem solving and teamwork skills enhanced through a number of games.

Video games of this nature require the use of a gaming console. Consoles can be purchased at all electronic and department stores. Televisions or monitors are also required. Additionally, if instructors wish to have students create video games, Internet access may also be needed. Parents, instructors, and students can all search for games on the console, in stores, or research them online.

To learn more about gaming consoles and video games visit:

Devitt, J. (2013). Educational video games can boost motivation to learn, NYC, CUNY study shows. Retrieved from http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2013/11/06/educational-video-games-can-boost-motivation-to-learn-nyu-cuny-study-shows-.html

Dewer, G. (2012). Educational video games: A guide for the science-minded. Retrieved from http://www.parentingscience.com/educational-video-games.html

EDC Learning Transforms Lives. (2016). Video games. Retrieved from http://www.edc.org/category/video_games

References

Adachi, P. J., C., & Willoughby, T. (2013). More than just fun and games: The longitudinal relationships between strategic video games, self-reported problem solving skills, and academic grades. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(7), 1041-52. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-9913-9

Cornacchione, E. B. Jr. (2012). Fidelity and game-based technology in management education. Brazilian Administration Review, 9(2), 147-167.

Galvin, M. (2012). Interactive video game puts science in students’ hands. The National Academies in Focus, 12(1), 16.

Wrap-Up

      Not many realize that educational games offer a variety of benefits to not only the learner; but, also the trainer or teacher. No matter which educational games you want to use, the key is selecting one that works for your goals or objectives. Computer games, apps, and gaming systems each provide different accessibility to gaming and education. They can be used in schools, organizations, businesses, or at home for formal or informal learning.

Learning on the go!

Tablets

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A tablet is a mobile device that is comparable to a computer. Tablets offer the ability to connect to the Internet, download apps, play music, play movies, record audio and video, as well as create, organize, and edit documents and other files. Tablets come in a variety of sizes and offer varying abilities based on what the individual wants. Tablets can have attachments such as stands and keyboards. Individuals can connect via wireless Internet or pay for a data plan.

Tablets are becoming very popular in education and learning. Tablets offer learning from anywhere and at any time. Tablets can make up for a lack of supplies in the classroom, allow students to conduct experiments through an app, obtain access to hundreds and even thousands of e-books, view and create videos, manage assignments, communicate, take virtual field trips, and collaborate (Fabian & Maclean, 2014). Students can display their assignments, projects, and portfolios to their class or instructor (Hahn & Bussell, 2012).

Tablets ability to impact informal learning is significant! Instructors can create tools such as flashcards to aid in their students learning (Miller, 2012). Students are able to explore far beyond the classroom, download their own educational apps, and create study notes. Students can also communicate with each other and form virtual study groups or connect with an expert from their field of study.  Who would not want to communicate with a great such as Stephen Hawking or another expert?!

Getting started requires the purchase or rental of a tablet device. There are several to choose from and can be selected through research or discussion with tablet experts. Once you have your tablet, simply turn it on and let the learning begin! You can search for educational apps, go to your school’s homepage, download podcasts, watch educational videos, create assignments, and so much more! Tablets can take a little time to get used to; but once you start using it you will find that it becomes easier to use and the possibilities really are endless!

To learn more about the use of tablets in education visit:

DeNeen, J. (2012). 21 reasons to use tablets in the 21st century classroom. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/reasons-to-use-tablets-in-the-21st-century-classroom/

Ramey, K. (2014). How to use tablets-23 creative ways of using tablets today. Retrieved from http://www.useoftechnology.com/how-to-use-tablets/

Virginia Tech. (2015). The benefits of using a tablet. Retrieved from http://www.eng.vt.edu/it/tabletbenefits

References

Fabian, K., & Maclean, D. (2014). Keep taking the tablets? assessing the use of tablet devices in learning and teaching activities in the further education sector. Research in Learning Technology, 22 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v22.22648

Hahn, J., & Bussell, H. (2012). Curricular use of the iPad 2 by a first-year undergraduate learning community. Library Technology Reports, 48(8), 42-47.

Miller, W. (2012). iTeaching and learning. Library Technology Reports, 48(8), 54-59.

MP3 Devices

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MP3 players or devices are quite similar to cellular phone devices in that they offer many of the same abilities; however they do not offer constant data connection or voice and text capabilities. MP3 players are designed for playback of music and sounds. Many of these devices offer the ability to download applications, videos, and e-books as well when connected to a computer or wireless Internet.

This tool is effective for learning since it allows students the ability to listen to podcasts, hear lectures, view assignments, and read e-books (Greenfield, 2011). A major benefit to this type of device is that it does not require a data plan and is likely less of a distraction in classrooms since students cannot message or gain access to the Internet. MP3 devices can be used in nearly every class.

In formal learning, MP3 players can offer a whole new perspective on learning. Instructors can record their lectures for playback and reference. They can also record additional lectures or podcasts for their students to listen to outside of the classroom. Students can record assignments and receive feedback from their peers and instructor (Cuthrell, Fogarty, Smith, & Ledford, 2013). Students have found that spoken or audio feedback and discussion actually leads to less misunderstanding and misinterpretation (Middleton, 2016).

To use an MP3 player, one must first obtain a device. Devices can be purchased at nearly every electronics and department store. Typically, software is required for use which can be downloaded from the manufactures website to the individuals computer. From there individuals can begin searching, downloading, and recording their own audio and video files and placing them on their device. Devices are mobile and can be taken to school or anyplace the individual desires to learn!

To learn more about MP3 devices in education visit:

Jackson, L. (2011). Sites to see: iPods in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/sites/sites070.shtml

Open Education Database. (2008). 100 ways to use your iPod to learn and study better. Retrieved from http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/100-ways-to-use-your-ipod-to-learn-and-study-better/

TeachingHistory.org. (n.d.) MP3 players. Retrieved from http://teachinghistory.org/digital-classroom/tech-for-teachers/24119

References

Cuthrell, K., Fogarty, E., Smith, J., & Ledford, C. (2013). Implications of using peer audio feedback for the college learner: Enhancing instruction. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 79(4), 13-21.

Greenfield, S. (2011). Podcasting: A new tool for student retention? Journal of Nursing Education, 50(2), 112-114. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/01484834-20101230-06

Middleton, A. (2016). Reconsidering the role of recorded audio as a rich, flexible and engaging learning space. Research in Learning Technology, 24 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v24.28035

Cellular Phones

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Most of us know what a cellular “cell” phone is, for those who may not, it is a wireless device that allows us to call and speak to other individuals. Some cell phones are far more technologically advanced than others. More advanced phones allow text messaging, which is the sending of a short message direct to another individual or group of individuals. Even further advanced phones, commonly referred to as “smartphones” offer data capabilities and connections to the Internet, the downloading of applications, and the recording of photos and video.

In the past cell phones were considered a distraction and disturbance. Educators now look to embrace the use of cell phones in learning. Utilizing the various applications and abilities on a smartphones opens the world up wide for learning. Students can use their phones for placing assignment reminders, sending messages, looking up questions, timing experiments, recording photos, recording voice notes, the abilities really are endless! Communications between students and each other, and students and teachers only adds to the benefits. While concerns exist regarding outside the classroom distractions and possible cheating, teachers can remedy these concerns in a few different ways. Students can take virtual tours of museums, respond to quizzes, or surveys. The ultimate goal is increased student involvement and learning (Marcoux, E, 2011)!

With cellular phones, learning can literally take place at any time and from any place! Cell phones offer the ability for informal learning through searches and communication. Individuals can record ideas, thoughts, and interviews for future learning (Santos & Ali, 2012). Students can also get tutoring outside of the classroom from subject-matter experts around the globe on subjects they may struggle with or subjects they just want to learn more about (Keengwe, Schnellert, & Jonas, 2014).

Cellular phones are easy to use. Individuals can go to a store and purchase a phone and a data plan that meets their needs. From there, all they need to do is turn it on and begin learning about the functions. Individuals can also talk to the salesman, who has vast knowledge on the use of phones.  Individuals can download applications for personal, professional, or educational use.

To learn more about cell phones in education check out these sites:

Graham, E. (2015). Using smartphones in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/tools/56274.htm

Kulowiec, G. (2016). Cell phones as classroom tools. Retrieved from http://teachinghistory.org/digital-classroom/tech-for-teachers/25273

Sorrentino, J. (2014). Cell phones: 21st century learning tools? Retrieved from http://www.education.com/magazine/article/cell_phone_learning/

References

Keengwe, J., Schnellert, G., & Jonas, D. (2014). Mobile phones in education: Challenges and opportunities for learning. Education and Information Technologies, 19(2), 441-450. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10639-012-9235-7

Marcoux, E. (2011). Technotes. Teacher Librarian, 39(2), 69.

Santos, I. M., & Ali, N. (2012). Exploring the uses of mobile phones to support informal learning. Education and Information Technologies, 17(2), 187-203. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10639-011-9151-2

Wrap-Up

      Tablets, MP3 players, and cellular phones offer the ability to learn from anywhere! You can use one or all of these devices to learn from home, school, work, and at anytime. Understanding the various benefits to each type of device will allow you to select the device that is right for you. Each device offers different levels of connectivity and capabilities.  Take a look at the learning more sites and learn more!

Education and Social Media? Sure, why not?!

Twitter

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Twitter is a “micro-blogging service” that allows individuals to instantly post thoughts, ideas, anything to the Internet through their account (Perez-Carballo & Blaszczynski, 2014). These messages known as “tweets” are seen by the account holders “followers.” Twitter can be accessed from any device with an Internet connection. Followers can “re-tweet” other’s tweets, allowing their own followers to see what they are reading. The ability to spread a single tweet is enormous!

Twitter’s limited space of 140 characters makes the use of Twitter somewhat limited in education. While instructors cannot really post full assignments or curriculum material, there are other beneficial uses. Instant communication back and forth between instructors and students and between students and students is one of the main benefits. Instructors can remind students of upcoming lessons, provide links to helpful sites, and even post review questions (National Education Association, n.d.). Additionally, with the amount of professionals that use Twitter, connecting with an author, scientist, or other educational professional is a huge benefit!

Informal learning through Twitter is highly probable, students who “follow” their instructor are likely to find information from not only their own class, but from other classes the instructor teaches and from whomever the instructor follows. Students from other classes and individuals outside the education realm may follow that instructor or even one of the students to learn more about a subject or something they posted. The ability to connect with like-minded people opens the door wide for informal learning (Ramirez, 2013). Individuals can “follow” users simply because what they are saying is interesting, this leads to informal learning (Andersen, 2011).

Getting started on Twitter requires only the Internet and an account. Visit Twitter’s official website and sign up for a free account, once you are in you can begin tweeting or searching for topics or users. Do not be surprised if you suddenly have followers of your own who enjoy your thoughts and ideas!

To learn more on Twitter in education visit the following sites:

Dunn, J. (2011). The ultimate guide to using Twitter in education. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/twitter-in-education/

Miller, S. (n.d.). 50 ways to use Twitter in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.teachhub.com/50-ways-use-twitter-classroom

National Education Association. (n.d.). Can tweeting help your teaching? Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/home/32641.htm

References

Andersen, M. H. (2011). The world is my school: Welcome to the era of personalized learning. The Futurist, 45(1), 12-17.

Perez-Carballo, J. & Blaszczynski, C. (2014). A study of the use of social media by business college students. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communication and Conflict, 18(1), 29-40.

Ramirez, A. G. (2013). Science and diversity: Be like twitter, not Facebook. JOM, 65(7), 834.

Pinterest

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Pinterest is a social photo, video, and quote sharing site (Wiid, Cant, & Nell, 2013). Users can post images known as “pins” that when clicked take you to a site with more information on that topic such as how to build what was in the image or where to purchase the items found in the image. Users can create personalized sites with their favorite topics and pins.

Utilizing Pinterest in education can be very beneficial for not only students, but for instructors as well! Instructors can find visual aids from other users and upload their own, building a collection site for use in the classroom or e-classroom. Students can create accounts and pin the same images their instructors did, clicking on the image will lead them to a whole new learning opportunity as they will be taken to a site that further explores what was in the image!

Pinterest can be very helpful in formal educational learning. Instructors can use pins and share them with their class. They can ask them to locate a pin related to a particular subject, for example a birdhouse, and then ask them to build it using the link from the image.

Registration is required and is free. Once you have created your account, you can start searching instantly and from any device! Create your own images for others to search or begin searching and pinning others to your own board.

To learn more on Pinterest in education visit the following sites:

BBC Active. (2010). Using Pinterest for education. Retrieved from http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/UsingPinterestforEducation.aspx

Edudemic. (n.d.). The teacher’s guide to Pinterest. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/guides/the-teachers-guide-to-pinterest/

Sheninger, E. (2012). Pinterest for educators? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/pinterest-for-educators

References

Green, J., & Green, T. (2014). Techspotting. TechTrends, 58(1), 11-12. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11528-013-0710-9

Merz, J. R. (2014). Capturing a wealth of resources: A review of educational technology and mobile learning web site. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 80(2), 49-51. R

Wiid, J., Cant, M. C., & Nell, C. (2013). Open distance learning students’ perception of the use of social media networking systems as an educational tool. The International Business & Economics Research Journal (Online), 12(8), 867-n/a.

Skype

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Many do not realize the vast capabilities with Skype! One may not think of Skype in the social media context; but, you really need to know what Skype can do and how it qualifies as social media. Skype allows face-to-face conversations over the computer, cell phone, or other devices. Individuals can conduct group conversations, send messages, and send files.

Educators can host conference calls with their students or bring in guest speakers (Morgan, 2013). Students can work together with their classmates on projects and assignments through collaboration. Educators can take students on virtual field trips, allowing them to learn about things around the world without having to leave the classroom.

Skype’s formal learning capabilities are endless! Educators can setup discussions and virtual meetings with other educators, students, and leading professionals in the field. Instructors can create real-time presentations to their students at anytime and from any place (Cohen & Burkhardt, 2010).

Getting started with Skype requires webcam capabilities, an Internet connection, and a Skype account. Once you are signed up, you can begin connecting by sending messages or connecting via virtual face-to-face real-time conversations. You can connect between two people or a group of people!

To learn more about Skype in education visit:

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. (2016). The complete guide to the use of Skype in education. Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/06/complete-guide-to-use-of-skype-in.html

Microsoft. (2016). Skype in the classroom. Retrieved from https://education.microsoft.com/skypeintheclassroom

Skype. (2016). Skype blogs. Retrieved from http://blogs.skype.com/tag/education/

References

Cohen, S. F., & Burkhardt, A. (2010). Even an ocean away: Developing Skype-based reference for students studying abroad. Reference Services Review, 38(2), 264-273. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00907321011045025

Michels, B. J., & Chang, C. (2011). Attending a presentation at a distance in real-time via skype. TechTrends, 55(1), 23-27.

Morgan, H. (2013). Using skype for exciting projects. Childhood Education, 89(3), 197-199.

Wrap-Up

      Social media and education are not two things that one typically thinks of going together. But, what this section of the guide has taught us, are the numerous uses of social media and learning. Connectivity plays a huge part of learning and each of these types of social media allow for that connection. Using social media in learning and education offers a unique ability to interact instantly and from anyplace. Teachers, trainers, and learners can connect and discuss questions, events, assignments, and learning in general.