ICT in Practice Transforming education through sharing knowledge and practice Created by educators from around the world ISSUE 7
P3 / CODE KINGDOMS Kids, letâ€™s get coding with Code Kingdoms!
P14 / ICT CURRICULUM How to adapt your whole school ICT Curriculum
SPRING EDITION APR 2014
P19 / MINECRAFT Minecraft; An unlikely tool to develop life-long learners
P31 / E-LEARNING E-Learning in a Biology Classroom
From the editor
Yes, it is spring! Even out here is Shanghai one can hear the birds celebrating, their warbling notes muffled by their tiny air filtration masks. I love spring. It is the season of hope, of looking ahead to next year, despite the challenges that still lie ahead before the end of term. More honestly, it is that stretch of the calendar when everyone realizes that the apparent lack of time before IB, AP, and all other summative assessments, is real. Ahhhhhhhh! Peace! There is yet summer, forever immortalized by that singing snowman, Olaf, from
Disneyʼs Frozen. You may prefer Idina Menzelʼs “Here I Stand”, or
have the honor to serve, with the best administrators, the most
perhaps you are mesmerized by
magnificent colleagues (both F2F
the impressive CG, but for me, those images of summer sustain
and online), all while teaching the most amazing kids. I refuse to
my soul. Of course, the reality seldom lives up the hype. If we are
miss a moment of it. And that is why you do it, too.
alike (I pity you that), then your
So bring on the tech conferences,
summer itinerary is already booked with tech conferences,
the seminars, sessions, unconferences, and more. I canʼt
ICT presentations, LMS seminars, and one weeklong vacation
wait to try those new apps, websites, and services. A new
wedged in between the others
LMS to roll out? Childʼs play! It is
(really, just to say that you took a break). Did I miss a wedding? Oh,
the most marvelous insanity. Who needs boredom? Here is to … wait
the stress of trying to relax is killing me!
for it … spring! (Ha! You thought I was going to say, “summer!” Didnʼt
Donʼt cry for me, ICTers. The truth
is I never tire of all these wild days, this mad existence (OK, Iʼll
Cheers to 2014-15!
stop here, before the Evita copyright people come after me). Like you, I realize that my crazy schedule is of my own making. I know why I do it. I teach at the greatest school in which Iʼll ever
Christopher Carter Social Science Team Lead/ Tech Coach/Teacher Concordia International School Shanghai, China
Contents ‘Kids, lets get coding with the Codekingdoms ’ page 3-4
‘The princess is in another castle...Teaching?’ by Vivian Lu page 5-9
‘How to adapt your whole school ICT Curriculum’ by Taryn Hauritz page 10-12
‘Games Based Learning Making it Happen’ by Paul Ladley page 13-14
‘Minecraft; An unlikely tool to develop life-long learners’ by Elliott Plumb page 15-17
‘Apps for learning’ by Francisco J. Alfonso Domínguez page 18-24
‘Using Technology in Primary Science’ by Maggie Morrissey page 25-26
“E-Learning in a Biology Classroom” by Mila Bulić and Daniela Novoselić page 27-28
Kids, let’s get coding with Code Kingdoms! www.codekingdoms.com
Meet Lacey, Ruﬄes and Paws, our
brother learn coding. He was obsessed
puzzle-‐savvy heroes ba@ling through
with MinecraR at the Ime so I started
building a game in a similar style so he
could code in a creaIve environment he
They’re out to save friends from hordes
of evil Glitches that have invaded, luring
The pair has been meIculous in
them into spike-‐invested volcanoes,
producing a gender-‐neutral design that
navigaIng perilous traps and coding
appeals to kids aged 6-‐13. They code
their way to victory.
cute animals, pesky Glitches and other
But the fun doesn’t stop there -‐ Kids use the coding skills learnt in the game to build their very own planets to challenge mates. Code unleashes creaIvity in a whole new way, allowing the Code Kingdoms universe to take on a whole life of its own. If your kids aren’t already playing you’re missing out! I met with co-‐founders Hugh and Ross who explained more. “Before we met, Ross and I were teaching programming in our separate ways: Ross was in schools with Intel while I was helping my 8 year old
In September 2014 coding is being made compulsory in primary schools across the UK -‐ not only is Code Kingdoms free online and the app store but they also produce free curriculum materials for schools. Ross and Hugh joined the startup incubator Entrepreneur First, a presIgious programme who last year produced the likes of AdBrain and Prizeo. They teach ‘The Lean Startup’, a
“We’re now looking to expand in to homes and schools internaIonally. Coding is something that every kid should know; it’s the most empowering skill in the 21st Century.”
methodology for producing tech
They’ve captured the imaginaIon of
companies by solving a problem with a
kids, parents and teachers across the
The problem Code Kingdoms is solving
“I feel we will be stuck with this game
is the lack of fun and creaIve coding
for quite some Ime” Lee, parent of 2
resources for kids. “When Ross and I met he took one look at the prototype and jumped into acIon. He knew this was exactly what children wanted from his Ime teaching coding. Within a couple weeks we were working together and back in schools tesIng the ﬁrst prototype with kids.
Rose and Hugh
The Princess is in Another Castle … Teaching? by Vivian Lu, Student at Concordia Interna5onal School Shanghai
As a child, I have been nagged 5me and 5me
obsolete nature of our species. Now games are
again from both parents and teachers alike
going to be contaminated with forced aKempts
claiming that games were a waste of 5me,
at educa5on? Laaaame! The words “Fun” and
money, and eﬀort. My mother would oAen bat
“Learning” seemed incompa5ble and did not
a controller from my hands and say I was
ﬁt in the same sentence.
“going to get addicted, go clean your room instead, why didn’t you do the dishes, you
Recently, however, I have come to the
never do anything for me,” etc. Gaming horror
conclusion that gaming can be used for
stories were common and silly; some parents
educa5on, and very eﬀec5vely so. However, it
would gossip that gaming could turn a child
must ﬁrstly be a good, enjoyable game. Some
into a hobo-‐parasite, forced into living in their
educa5onal games have been quite successful
basement. Personally, gaming was a loved
because they are a joy to play and experience.
pas5me for my brother and me, and
However, placing a game into a classroom
fortunately, a new trend of acceptance has
seWng can instantly change its connota5on. It
arisen, which has ushered in the era of gaming
is therefore important that games are
as a medium for educa5on. The concept of
introduced and presented in a classroom in a
“Educa5onal games” has goKen more and
careful and sensi5ve manner.
more popular, as parents and gamers have now ﬁnally found a way to resolve the long-‐
What makes a truly successful game?
las5ng conﬂict between the gaming
While some of the mul5player/compe55ve
community and the “responsible ones”.
games could be enjoyable to play, in my opinion as a gamer, a truly “successful” game
I was ini5ally against the idea of using games in
should have a polished plot, a relatable or
educa5on. How could “educa5on” be
likeable protagonist, and an eﬀec5ve method
“played”? Growing up in an Asian family, I have
to engage further playing. Some of my
constantly been under the stress of “doing well
favorites are The Legend of Zelda and Portal.
in school”. Playing games was my only escape
The Legend of Zelda has a remarkable plot and
from the day-‐long stresses of existence and the
an admirable protagonist named “Link”.
Link has been canonically depicted as a young
remaining challenging, but do-‐able, while
child, a teenager, and an adult in diﬀerent
schools oAen operate at the lowest common
games, so he is relatable to players of most
denominator. Since games are oAen
ages. The plot is generally the same, with
challenging, but do-‐able, they are oAen also
varia5ons in each game. Link goes on a quest,
pleasantly frustra5ng, which is a very
encountering thousands of enemies and
mo5va5ng state for human beings” (Gee 2).
bosses, exploring several temples, and
The sa5sfac5on of comple5ng a diﬃcult level,
discovering new places and people, to defeat
in addi5on to the incredibly amusing
Ganondorf, gaining glory and upgrades along
interac5ons between GLaDOS and the player,
the way. The gameplay and plot is so
keeps the player playing and looking for a way
enjoyable, and many players are fond of the
to defeat GLaDOS and escape the laboratories.
series from their childhood days, which
In summary, good games u5lize a relatable
provides ample mo5va5on for ﬁnishing the
protagonist, who can feasibly “win” or achieve
a goal, an engaging plot, and a mo5va5on for con5nued play. They also mo5vate the player
Portal is essen5ally a problem solving game,
by seWng the games at the “challenging but
blurring the line between educa5on and logic
do-‐able” level. This gamiﬁca5on strategy
training. Here, the player’s character is Chel,
should work well in classrooms. Through
who is a research subject for the abandoned
games, players can learn a variety of new
Aperture Science labs He has been trapped
skills, such as cri5cal thinking, strategic
there by the robot GLaDOS, who s5ll runs it.
thinking, and crea5vity. Almost every
GLaDOS forces Chel to undergo a series of
successful staple of game playing helps to
poten5ally fatal tests using technologies
craA a beKer player in some way, be it cri5cal
d e v e l o p e d b y A p e r t u r e , w h i c h u s e s
thinking, reﬂexes, rhythm, health, etc. In fact,
increasingly diﬃcult puzzles that must be
Portal has been used in the classroom to teach
solved before the player can move on to the
spa5al reasoning. The level creator mode is a
next level. Ever-‐increasing levels further the
good way for students to enrich their
journeying experience, as explained by James
understanding by crea5ng puzzles themselves,
Paul Gee, “Good games operate at the outer
rather than merely solving them.
and growing edge of a player’s competence,
What makes a good educaIonal game?
levels, the ‘Captain’ would promote the player
“Games and interac.ve so1ware can help
with a higher rank, and the player could then
pupils acquire complicated skills and rigorous
tackle more challenges to capture all of
knowledge in an engaging and enjoyable way
Carmen Sandiego’s goons. I played this several
… Britain has an incredibly strong games
5mes, and this game taught brief glimpses of
industry, with vast poten.al to engage with
world history that have remained relevant all
educa.on both in this country and all over the
the way up to high school AP World History.
w o r l d . W e ’ r e a l r e a d y s e e i n g t h e s e
As one can see, this game retained an
technologies being used in imagina.ve
interes5ng plot, protagonist, and a mo5va5on
factor typical of most likable games, at the same 5me being educa5onal.
If normal games can already teach students important life skills, they should be able to
There are many successful educa5onal games,
teach kids academic things as well. Contrary to
but some games, while educa5onal, do not
earlier opinions held by teachers and parents
engage children at all. For example, Brain Age,
that gaming is addic5ve, a waste of 5me and
while it received a lot of aKen5on, was rather
money, and an unnecessary distrac5on for
ineﬀec5ve because it required an already
their children, a new perspec5ve has taken
exis5ng mo5va5on for improving the brain,
hold: that gaming can be used eﬀec5vely for
and not many kids who bought it (or rather
“formal” educa5on. There have been many
whose parents bought it) enjoyed playing it.
aKempts to reconcile educa5on and “good
Brain Age did not have a protagonist, an
gaming experience”, some of which were
eﬀec5ve mo5vator, or a plot to make the
disastrous, others incredibly enjoyable.
game interes5ng, making it not very fun to
One of my favorite games to play as a child
play. Rather, it relied on the player’s own
was Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego. This
consciousness of health and forced educa5on.
game involved a player working as a rising star
What a successful game has, aside from being
agent with various partners to capture a great
educa5onal, is that it is engaging and fun by
thief throughout 5me. It had an incredibly
itself, both plot-‐wise and gameplay-‐wise,
engaging plot with puzzles and characters that
subtly adding informa5on into the story so
made the game “fun”, with the added beneﬁt
that it is both relevant and interes5ng. “If
of all this occurring during the Mongol reign of
Games Based Learning (GBL) is to succeed, it
China or the inven5on of the ﬁrst prin5ng
needs to be more than a bit of fun that
press by Johann Gutenberg. AAer every two
mo5vates students. It should be underpinned with learning theory” (Ladley).
Forced educa5on in any way is irrita5ng and
such engagement in the classroom” (Sandford
bothersome, and this applies to games as well.
52). Based on my own experience, mo5va5on
Games are oAen made ﬁrst, and then later
i s a ﬀ e c t e d g r e a t l y b y e n f o r c e m e n t ,
repurposed for educa5on, such as the famous
connec5ons based on interest, and relevance.
MinecraA PC game. Building on what is
The enforcement and introduc5on of the
already a successful game or franchise has
game will help students solidify their ﬁrst
helped many corpora5ons stay aﬂoat, and
impressions of the ac5vity. Suﬃcient 5me
teachers have made excellent use of such
should be allowed for both teacher and
games in their lessons. Educa5on cannot
students to become familiar with the game.
detract from the game itself, and some
The introduc5on should be clear and explain
teachers follow these guidelines in the games
to how the game is related to what is being
they incorporate, such as using MinecraA in
learned. For example, it would be more
teaching construc5on and geometry (Levin).
eﬀec5ve to students of my age group (age 15)
Essen5ally, games must ﬁrst be concerned
to explore a game with the teacher during
with being fun, before being educa5onal.
class 5me, rather than it being assigned as homework. If I was not introduced to the
How should games be used for
game during class, I would be less recep5ve to
it as homework assignment.
Discovering how educa5onal games should be used in educa5on is one of the ﬁrst steps toward modernized, interac5ve educa5on. First, there are key “game metrics” to enforce, such as making sure there is an aKrac5ve beginning and maintains the mo5va5on for con5nued use of the game as a resource. “Mo5va5on is the most important factor that drives learning. When mo5va5on dies, learning dies and playing stops.” (Gee 3). Simply supplying a game is not going to keep students mo5vated for very long. We need to move “toward a more nuanced understanding of exactly what in game play is mo5va5ng in order to best understand how to engender
Another way to maintain interest is to connect students’ lives with the content of one’s classes through games, by rela5ng the topic to something already familiar to them. Personally, if what I’m learning does not interest me, then I will pay less aKen5on to it. Connec5ons from outside the gaming universe and the classroom help to reinforce what is being learned and, especially in the more eager youth, make them more enthusias5c and open to learning. For example, the diﬀerence between depic5ons of mythology in popular media, such as Marvel Superheroes, and the actual stories in myths can be an interest factor.
Popular culture and common interests have
resource. This process of integra5ng
always been a good conversa5on starter, and
interac5ve entertainment in educa5on is
in the way interests connect people, it can
undoubtedly confusing and complex. In the
also connect learning and fun. If the content
simplest terms, it is impossible to predict the
of the game directly relates or is closely
wants of the human mind, and “success” is an
related to knowledge learned in class, it will
en5rely subjec5ve measurement for a subject
be help students by reinforcing their
that u5lizes so much guesswork. Regardless, it
knowledge and interest in class as well. The
is my hope that learning can be made into a
game should be related to the content of the
more crea5ve rather than standardized
unit, not just the content of an ac5vity in the
ac5vity, a more enjoyable pas5me rather than
unit. This not only ensures that students will
a chore, and more interac5ve rather than
pay aKen5on, but it also helps them
passive opera5on. I believe the applica5on of
understand the course beKer if they are given
educa5onal games is the ﬁrst step to fulﬁlling
mul5ple, yet diﬀering, instances for learning a
that role, and it is certainly possible given the
par5cular event or subject. Encouraging
right amount of care.
reﬂec5on and review at the end of class will solidify what was learned from the game.
Most of all, it is important to prac5ce
Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. New York, NY [u.a.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Print.
understanding when challenges arise, be they technological or carbon-‐based. If the class does not turn out well, it is important to ﬁgure out why it was unsuccessful, as well as test out the technological side of things before incorpora5ng it into class. Prac5ce makes perfect. To have a high quality educa5onal game, it must be a high quality game by itself, and the learning must be a part of the fun, instead of no5ceable and forced, with a meaningful and mo5va5onal plot and characters. To use educa5onal games in the classroom, one must give a posi5ve ﬁrst impression and mo5va5on for students to con5nue using the game as a
Ladley, Paul. "Games Based Learning Theory and Prac5ce." ICT in Prac5ce 1 Oct. 2013: n. pag. Print. hKp://www.ic5nprac5ce.com/ 2013/games-‐based-‐learning-‐theory-‐and-‐ prac5ce-‐by-‐paul-‐ladley/ Sandford, Richard, Mary Ulicsak, Keri Facer, and Tim Rudd. "Teaching with Games Using Commercial Oﬀ-‐the-‐Shelf Computer Games in Formal Educa5on." Diss. N.d. Future Lab (n.d.): 1-‐62. Teaching With Games. EA, Future Labs. Web. 04 Jan. 2014. Levin, Joel. "How my MinecraA Classes Work." MinecraA Teacher. MinecraA Edu, 24 Mar 2 0 1 2 . W e b . 9 F e b . 2 0 1 4 . < h K p : / / minecraAteacher.tumblr.com/post/ 4057926292/how-‐my-‐minecraA-‐classes-‐ work>.
HOW TO ADAPT YOUR WHOLE SCHOOL ICT CURRICULUM by Taryn Hauritz
The new compu5ng programme of study states that “A high-‐quality compu5ng educa5on equips pupils to use computa5onal thinking and crea5vity to understand and change the world”. Wow! This is preKy exci5ng stuﬀ. But, if you’re anything like me and don’t have a background in computer science, where on earth do you begin? Taryn is an Australian born Primary School
Earlier this year I started to write a new
teacher who has had a passion for using
compu5ng curriculum for a family of prep schools
learning technologies in the classroom since
in London. Having taught ICT there for ten years, I
she started teaching in 1998. In 2002 she
thought that this would be a fairly straight
w r o t e " T e a c h i n g w i t h L e a r n i n g
forward process and I was excited about the
Technologies: A Handbook for Primary
School Teachers", then moved to the UK to
researching and studying, I found myself going
take up a post as Head of ICT at Thomas's
round in circles. It was almost like there was too
C l a p h a m i n L o n d o n . A A e r
much informa5on, but somehow not exactly what
teaching Recep5on to Year 8 ICT for ten
I was looking for.
But, aAer several weeks of
years she then stepped out of the classroom to become the Director of
AAer aKending the BETT show in January, I
Learning Technologies for Thomas's London
realised that I wasn’t on my own. There was
Day Schools. She is currently working on
support out there and I just needed to be
developing a new compu5ng curriculum for
proac5ve about it. So, aAer several years of
the family of four preparatory schools and
resistance I ﬁnally decided to join twiKer. I
will be moving into freelance consultancy at
started to build a network of experts and teachers
the end of September later this year.
from primary educa5on in the UK and beyond and I was blown away with how many amazing
Taryn Hauritz @tarynhauritz www.tarynhauritz.com
resources and ideas were being shared there.
I ﬁnally I felt as though I had my ﬁnger on the pulse
though, because so many of them will s5ll be
and was slightly embarrassed that it had taken me
suitable. They will just need some “tweaking”.
that long to join. If you’re new to twiKer and are grappling with the new compu5ng curriculum, I can
So that you can adapt your current ICT curriculum
highly recommend following
for September I have created the following
these people as a star5ng point:
algorithm (see what I’ve done there?) to get you started:
@ m b e r r y @ C o m p A t S c h
Read “Compu5ng in the na5onal
@ d e p u t y m i t c h e l l
curriculum: A guide for primary teachers” This
@ d i g i t a l m a v e r i c k
guide is priceless. It explains everything you need
to know to get started.
@dughall @englandraider @esafetyadviser @ianaddison @lordlangley73 @MissPhilbin
@naace @terryfreedman @yallsop @5mbuckteeth
@bobharrisonset @TimRylands @ZoeRoss19
@mwclarkson @suesentance @CodeBoom
@andrewtuson @ICTEvangelist @dan_bowen @eyebeams @pegleggen @DrTomCrick @syded06
STEP 2: Download the “Compu5ng Progression
@ukedchat @tonyparkin @tarynhauritz
Pathways”. Familiarise yourself with each of the six strands. It’s important to note that primary
Alterna5vely, you could follow my “Compu5ng” list
children are expected to reach the end of the blue
@tarynhauritz where I have them all saved. There
are plenty of guides for new twiKer users online,
but the best thing to do is to jump in and start
playing. You’ll soon ﬁgure it out. Just don’t give up too soon.
Alterna5vely, you could download the Progression Pathways divided into three strands: Computer
AAer some extensive networking on twiKer, I then
Science, Informa5on Technology and Digital
aKended a number of conferences and Compu5ng
At School events. I have learnt an awful lot about
the compu5ng curriculum over the last couple of
months and I have to say it’s all preKy exci5ng. There’s no need to throw out your ICT plans
STEP 3: Get out your current ICT curriculum and use the strands above to iden5fy any areas of weakness in your current scheme of work. I actually found it easiest to download the child-‐friendly version (see step 7) and s5ck the descriptors on my yearly overview. STEP 4: Join Compu5ng At School and use the website to ﬁnd resources (including CPD) to help you plan any new units of work to “ﬁll in the gaps”. If you need more 5me to do this properly, plan to teach these units next summer. www.compu5ngatschool.org.uk STEP 5: Adapt the units of work you’d like to keep for the new curriculum by upda5ng your medium term plans with the new Programme of Study and the progression pathways indicators in step 2. Usually it’s just about adap5ng the vocabulary and ﬁnding the relevant new PoS statements. STEP 6: Add Computer Science Unplugged ac5vi5es to as many of your units of work as possible. They really help encourage computa5onal thinking across the curriculum and are great for kinaesthe5c learners. hKp://csunplugged.org/ STEP 7: Download the child-‐friendly compu5ng progression pathway statements from the CAS website and use them for pupils’ self and peer assessment. I would also use them for an interac5ve display so that you and your pupils can reference them regularly. hKp://community.compu5ngatschool.org.uk/resources/1744 STEP 8: Design some compu5ng badges for your children to earn for each of the six strands. An even beKer idea would be to get your children to design them in class. hKp://www.makebadg.es/badge.html My ﬁnal advice to you is to “Reach Out”. Keep networking and discussing ideas with as many colleagues as possible -‐ a problem shared is a problem halved and together, we really can change the world!
Taryn Hauritz and colleagues working on the new compu5ng curriculum
Games Based Learning - Making it Happen by Paul Ladley How can teachers ensure that their investment in games based learning (GBL) delivers desired learning outcomes? This ar5cle looks at ﬁve aspects of GBL that ought to be considered when introducing GBL into the classroom. These ﬁve aspects are: design, delivery (usage), technology & support, outcomes and cost. Paul is an innovative learning professional, games based learning & gamification expert, project manager and instructional designer with over 20 yearsʼ commercial experience acquired on corporate, public sector and education projects. He is MD of pixelfountain which designs, develops and delivers
Design considera5ons (GBL needs to be ﬁt for purpose): Is the game ﬁt for purpose oﬀering a relevant context and ac5vi5es? Is the game pitched right in terms of complexity and age level? Does the game support mul5ple learning styles? Delivery considera5ons (GBL needs to work in typical educa5onal seSng): Is the game focused on learning suppor5ng collabora5on, conversa5ons and teacher-‐led interven5ons and scaﬀolding? Does the game provide a challenge that generates learning ﬂow? Can the game ﬁt into a standard lesson, but also be used for events /
workshop-based learning simulations (serious games). pixelfountainʼs games-ED (http:// www.games-ed.co.uk)
brand provides games based learning for schools, colleges and universities. He also blogs at http:// www.games-based-
Is support provided in the game and via communi5es / guides /
Technology and support considera5ons (GBL need to u5lise typical kit and oﬀer support): Will the game work on classroom computers? resources? Outcome considera5ons (GBL need to reach the parts tradi5onal teaching doesn’t): Will the game engage the pupils, including reluctant learners? Will the game solve problems that tradi5onal learning ﬁnds diﬃcult? Is the game linked to the curriculum and does it support assessment? Will the game improve generic and employability skills? Cost considera5ons: Is there enough money in the budget, not forgeWng hidden costs such as consoles and mul5ple licences? Does the game oﬀer value for money?
Any particular games based learning product or
•And ﬁnally a debt is owed to Jan Herrington
lesson does not need to answer all of the above
and Ron Oliver, who have wriKen on situated
questions and it is important to realise that the
learning and mul5media, and have inspired
aspects are not mutually exclusive; for instance,
games and simula5on designs.
a well-designed game is more likely to deliver better outcomes. Therefore, scoring reasonably
The Games Based Learning Analysis and
well across the board is more important than
Planning Tool has been developed by games-‐
excelling in one area. A Games Based Learning Analysis and Planning Tool (which expands on and makes use of the ﬁve aspects outlined above) can be found at hKp://www.games-‐ed.co.uk/resources-‐ contact.html. The tool has been developed by pixelfountain / games-‐ED who’s experience has been built up over a decade of designing and delivering serious games / games based learning in both the adult and educa5on sectors. The tool also takes, some inspira5on has come from: •Becta report (2010) on games based learning; •The RETAIN Model -‐ Gunter; Kenny and Vick (2007);
ED to help educators select and u5lise games based learning. It can be used to: •Create buy-‐in for games based learning; •Help when choosing a par5cular supplier / product; •Plan the use of games learning; •And, if we can be so bold, to help developers design games based learning. Conclusion Like all aspects of educa5on, GBL needs careful planning. This tool will hopefully bring some rigour to that planning and so ensure the GBL can deliver on its promises.
Minecraft; An unlikely tool to develop life-long learners by Elliott Plumb
where any teacher afraid to take on such a
As a newly qualiﬁed teacher, it is usually a
task could develop a pupil-‐led project that
case of survival to reach the end of the year.
would allow the teacher to learn-‐as-‐they-‐go.
Jump four months into the year and I, the NQT, am at the tail end of an extremely
Even so, what became clear was that
exci5ng and successful compu5ng project.
although there was some strong prior
The project was to be a blend of my
knowledge, some children had no experience
Compu5ng Co-‐ordinator’s knowledge of
using the game. The ini5al lesson, where I
gaming and my knowledge of local history.
allowed the children to explore the MinecraA
‘Forty Hall’, a local landmark, was ripe for the
program gave me the opportunity to assess
picking when deciding on a building to
those who were conﬁdent and those who
develop on the MinecraA program. Having
needed scaﬀolding. I then grouped the
just opened as an educa5onal centre, the
children according to experience and
Hall welcomed us with open arms.
knowledge of the program. Each group had a conﬁdent learning leader who could lead and
At the beginning I was unsure of the beneﬁts
keep their group focused. This helped to
but this project has come to reveal the
keep the learning as pupil-‐led as possible.
extensive range of learning opportuni5es that MinecraA has to oﬀer to children in schools today.
The Children’s Prior Knowledge The children’s passion for the MinecraA project was nothing short of overwhelming. If the children did not play it at home already, they had heard their classmates talking or reading about it. Interes5ngly, there was a huge amount of prior knowledge amongst my class when it came to MinecraA. This is
The Learning Journey
point. Closing all the gaps in the children’s
Part 1: The History curriculum in England
learning and addressing misconcep5ons was
demands that children study a local landmark. We visited Forty Hall to engage closely with the history and the structure of the house. I divided
aided signiﬁcantly by using a three-‐part lesson structure.
the children into four diﬀeren5ated groups.
The lesson Structure
These groups gathered resources that would
The lessons were taught in three parts. A
enable them to build on MinecraA later on. The
refocus at the beginning of each lesson
children were able to sketch, use measuring
encouraged the children to collaborate and
instruments and take photographs to build up a
verbalise their task for that lesson. Children
bank of evidence and tools that they could use
would then spend up to an hour building and
when it came building on MinecraA. By
collabora5ng with their group, making sure
collec5ng their own resources, children could
they u5lised the chat func5on to talk to and
take ownership of their learning. Higher ability
guide each other. Learning leaders would
children were required to calculate ra5os and
assess situa5ons that would arise and problem
make links with their mathema5cs skills. This is
solve accordingly. As the teacher, I could assess
one of many ways in which the project was
all children in the game from a computer and
oﬀer encouragement and advice if they desperately needed it. Fundamentally, as it was
Part 2: AAer visi5ng the hall, the children had a strong knowledge of Forty Hall and had access to a host of tools and resources that they had collected themselves. In the second phase of the project, children were able to collaborate in their groups to decide which resources they would keep to help assist them when it came to build all the par5cular details. The learning leaders then had to organise which task each child would take during the project. The groups then mind-‐mapped a plan and this saw each child take ownership of a sec5on of the build. The children were then ready to begin!
Part 3: This sec5on of the learning saw the most progress with the majority of the successes of the project becoming clear at this
a pupil-‐led project, I would be looking for great collabora5on and eﬀec5ve problem solving from the learning leaders and the class members. Having a ‘revisit, review and improve’ session aAer each compu5ng lesson gave the children some 5me to discuss the successes in that lesson but it also gave them the opportunity to draw up where they were going next in their project. This was wriKen up on a poster and kept to be put on display in the next lesson. Children were constantly reminded that they had to refer to this to move forward with the project.
Learning and Progress AAer just two months engagement with the project, the children have had the opportunity to develop, prac5ce and apply signiﬁcant learning and skills that stretch beyond Compu5ng. In the beginning, the learning leaders were the trouble-‐shooters, the strong self-‐reﬂectors and would guide the project to the next stages. AAer approximately six to eight lessons, I was beginning to see more children take on the responsibility of problem solving for
Eliot Plumb is a Year 5 teacher at Wilbury
other members of the class. In addi5on,
School in Edmonton. He graduated in
encouraging children to use the chat func5on
Educa5on from the University of Cambridge in
on MinecraA would be a target in the ini5al
2013 and enjoys inspiring children through
lessons. As the project matured, the children
teaching Compu5ng, Dance and History.
naturally collaborated through the chat and would oﬀer each other advice, problem solve issues and revise their construc5on work together to make sure they were achieving an accurate replica of Forty Hall. As a result of MinecraA, the children have had the chance to prac5ce and develop their ability to become suppor5ve and helpful collaborators, successful problem solvers. At the same 5me, they have been given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning. The MincecraA project has given the children a chance to develop skills which, with con5nual prac5ce, will allow them to become life-‐long learners. Fundamentally, the children can apply these skills in not only Compu5ng but within all subjects across the curriculum.
“iPad is changing the learning experience, making it more engaging, interac.ve and completely mobile. With features you won't ﬁnd on any other educa.onal device, iPad inspires crea.vity and hands-‐on learning. Powerful apps let students engage with content in interac.ve ways, ﬁnd informa.on in an instant, and access an en.re library wherever they go. iBooks textbooks involve students in a dynamic, Mul.-‐Touch experience full of interac.ve diagrams, anima.ons, photos and video all designed speciﬁcally for iPad.” www.apple.com
I think for an app developer one of the best ways of developing apps appropriate for educa5on is to establish strong links with schools and educators so that they can provide feedback to develop their product further. Luckily online communi5es provide us with such links. This is how I met Francisco J. Alfonso Domínguez from www.e-‐imaxina.com . Over the next pages I will be sharing some of the apps that they have created. This is not an adver5sement or product marke5ng, it is merely sharing some interes5ng apps that you may ﬁnd useful for teaching and learning. What is marvellous about Francisco is, he wanted to hear the sugges5ons, as he wanted to keep making his designs beKer and more appropriate for learners.
Chispas is an interactive story that will delight your children whilst teaching them the importance of respect for animals and emotional intelligence as a foundation for the understanding of oneself and others. Roberto Maquieira GarcĂa is the author of this magnificent story. As an experienced educator and school counsellor, Roberto uses short stories in order for children to learn about the importance of certain values and emotional resources to help them understand the small things that bring joy to peoplesâ€™ lives.
An educational application about the vital role of the relationship of man. Through the nervous systemâ€™s response to external stimuli, we relate to other living beings and to our surroundings. Our senses receive stimuli; the nervous system processes the information and responds in the most appropriate manner; then, the musculoskeletal system implements the action. Available in English and in Spanish, the development of this application was supervised by educational and medical professionals to explain the workings of THE SENSES, the NERVOUS SYSTEM, and the MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM in an enjoyable and entertaining way.
A complete educational application, focused on the human bodyÂ´s cycle of life. Available in both English and Spanish, its creation has been supervised by professionals in the fields of education and medicine. In a fun and entertaining manner, it explains the secrets of fertilization, gestation, and human growth. THE RACE OF LIFE The application is rounded out by a fun educational game: You must help a tiny sperm navigate through the female reproductive system. Your mission: fertilize the egg. To do this, you must complete five exciting phases, loading up on energy and speed to overcome all of the difficulties you will find along the way.
A complete educational application about the vital role of human nutrition. We get the energy necessary to live, the materials necessary for tissue construction and regeneration, and the substances which regulate the bodyÂ´s internal reactions through the role of nutrition. These functions are carried out in the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems. Available in English and Spanish, the development of this application has been supervised by educational and medical professionals to explain the functions of the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM, the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM, and the CIRCULATORY SYSTEM in an enjoyable and entertaining way.
Using Technology in Primary Science by Maggie Morrissey h`p://www.technologytoteach.co.uk/ Throughout my teaching career I have enjoyed using technology in educa5on, especially in science lessons. As an ICT coordinator I introduced teachers, teaching assistants and
the development of other science skills such as argumenta5on. Furthermore, what about dyslexic children who struggle with wri5ng? Will the wri5ng process truly reﬂect what
children to a variety of digital resources such as: data loggers, digital microscopes and simula5ons to help support the teaching of science.
these children know? Finally, remember our younger scien5sts, whose recording skills will be hampered by their age.
As an independent primary consultant I now provide training for primary teachers on how to develop their teaching of science. During each course I ask teachers to outline the posi5ves or nega5ves of teaching this subject. There are oAen many posi5ve comments about science especially on how it engages young children. The nega5ves prove very interes5ng. Other than worries about subject knowledge and ﬁnding resources, teachers oAen say how much they and the children dislike the recording or wri5ng up of their work. Here are two typical comments: ‘The poor way in which experiments and results are recorded, kills enthusiasm’ ‘Marking books and having to give wriPen feedback takes too long but it’s our OFSTED target’ I believe this over reliance on wri5ng hinders not just the enjoyment of the subject but also
Talk in Science Talk for wri5ng is becoming increasingly popular in schools so what about talk for science? Teachers are oAen encouraged to illicit children’s ideas at the start of a science topic to ﬁnd out what misconcep5ons or understanding they have, but what happens to this talk? As Robin Alexander points out: ‘Talk is temporary and unless par3cularly interes3ng, it soon fades with par3cipants o:en forge;ng what has been said.' In a busy classroom with lots of ideas and thoughts being produced, how can the teacher and even the children reﬂect on the discussion? During this process, do we as teachers really know what each child understands? In addi5on, what impact is our ques5oning having on the children’s ideas? As part of my MA I am researching how technology can help. Here are some ini5al ideas.
their recordings after editing. Needless to say they
This can be used both at the start of a topic and as
real audience for their work would make that writing
the topic develops. Placing the video camera so
process far more interesting and relevant.
would still have to write and plan for this. Having a
that it can pick up the whole class; the starter question and initial ideas can be recorded. This
Whether you decide to go for some of these
recording could be used for the teacher to truly
options or incorporate all of them I do not think you
reflect on what the children truly know and identify
will be disappointed. Not only will your children
any misconceptions they may have. It can also be
become more enthusiastic about their science work
returned to during the work so that the children can
but you as a teacher will have a greater
reflect on how their ideas and knowledge have
understanding of what your children know, making
changed. This is also a valuable opportunity for a
your assessment more reliable. This is going to be
teacher to reflect on their own questioning skills.
extremely relevant when the new curriculum commences in 2014.
Recording devices There are now a variety of mp3 audio recorders
Links and references
available to be used in classrooms. These are
Audacity - http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
excellent for recording discussions in small groups.
Audioboo - http://audioboo.fm/
They are fairly simple to use and some can record
Soundcloud - https://soundcloud.com/
up to four hours of sound. The recordings can be
played back and stored on your computer. The
Robin Alexander â€“ Towards Dialogic teaching
main problem is the files can build up quickly so a good system for naming and filing these is essential. Children can go on and edit their work using free software such as audacity and post their discussions into other digital applications.
Podcasting Podcasts are digital media files mainly audio but can include video. I currently use Audioboo but an alternative is Soundcloud. Subscription to both is free. They give the children the chance for their science work to reach a wider audience. They can post directly to the site or upload their work from
E-Learning in a Biology Classroom by Mila Bulić and Daniela Novoselić
A modern man of the 21st century should, in
lessons: Structure and func5on of sexual organs,
addi5on to tradi5onal language skills, possess a
Concep5on and development before birth, Life
wealth of knowledge, environmental, health,
periods of human life and Responsible sexual
economic, social and computer skills in order to
behavior. Through Moodle the teacher
lead a high-‐quality lifestyle. As our students are
monitored each of the students’ logins, his or
a part of a digital society with access to a wide
her work on the given lesson, forum and
range of informa5on provided using informa5on
discussions ac5vity and quiz results.
and communica5on technology (ICT), it is
important to include ICT in the educa5onal
Twenty-‐four students par5cipated in the e-‐
process as well. In order to make this possible,
learning project. They were all eighth-‐graders
schools should not only have the necessary
aKending the Pujanka Elementary School in
infrastructure and adequate space, but also
Split, Croa5a. The project was conducted at the
computer literate teachers who are able to
beginning of the spring semester, in the school
create diverse teaching scenarios and use ICT in
year 2012 – 2013. The 24 selected students
the classroom. In Croa5a there are few
made up the experimental group which learnt
individual examples of good prac5ce in using e-‐
using the digital materials on Moodle on
learning in teaching science, therefore teachers
computers in the school’s IT lab. At the same
should be made aware of the possibility of using
5me, the biology teacher taught the same unit
modern technology in class, as well as being
to another group of 24 eighth-‐graders aKending
addi5onally educated through professional
the same school (A control group), using the
tradi5onal teaching approaches and various knowledge sources, as well as various teaching
Moodle and Biology The e-‐learning project using the Moodle system (a free web applica5on for on-‐line learning) began with the development of the digital
methods. The digital teaching materials on Moodle were arranged in a way to ensure a simple and user friendly interface for the students (Figure 1).
materials necessary for teaching the Body composi5on, reproduc5on and development unit for the 8th grade of elementary school biology classes. Various addi5onal prac5ce materials as well as quizzes designed to test the students’ acquired knowledge were developed to be used aAer ﬁnishing each of the four
Figure 1. User interface on the Moodle index
Before the e-‐learning project began, the students had been introduced to the Moodle interface and an e-‐mail address had been given to them by the biology teacher in case any of the students needed addi5onal help resolving problems or ambigui5es. Students also had the opportunity to ask ques5ons on the News Forum available to all users. It was interes5ng to no5ce that the students preferred to ask for help individually via e-‐mail rather than using the forum, which conﬁrms their unwillingness to publicly share their own thoughts, ques5ons and problems. To ensure that the student’s were independent and given thorough e-‐learning, the materials were divided into smaller units listed in the Lesson menu, located on the leA side of the user interface. The students accessed these units by simply selec5ng the desired topic. Also, various audiovisual and visual sources, pictures, illustra5ons, graphs, 3D models, videos and anima5ons were added to the textual materials (Figure 2).
tradi5onal teaching, at the end of the Body composi5on, reproduc5on and development unit the acquired knowledge was tested both in the control group, taught in a tradi5onal classroom, as well as in the experimental group, taught through e-‐learning. The results of the test were compared and all students were surveyed about the learning methods they used. The survey shows that students are sa5sﬁed and have posi5ve feelings toward e-‐learning, as the mean value of 80% of the answers given to statements are above 4,5 showing complete student sa5sfac5on with using e-‐learning in a biology class. The students pointed out that the textual and visual descrip5ons were highly helpful during the learning process, but they were also aware of the addi5onal eﬀort needed for successful e-‐learning. Namely the experimental group’s quiz results were not signiﬁcantly beKer than the control groups’ results. However, students’ sa5sfac5on with the learning process itself should certainly be a source of mo5va5on for teachers.
Figure 2. A Moodle page containing educa5onal materials and a video
Figure 3. The Moodle quiz page designed to test acquired knowledge
Various prac5ce materials were available at the end of each lesson. At the end of the unit the students took a quiz that included diﬀerent types of tasks (Figure 3) such as matching short answers, true/false ques5ons, matching pairs, mul5ple choice, embedded answers, short answers and calcula5on tasks.
These already designed and implemented e-‐ learning projects should be a mo5va5on for teachers to con5nue crea5ng digital teaching materials and various digital ac5vi5es which will ensure that students develop skills allowing them to recognize and solve real life problems concerning health and sustainability.
As the objec5ve of this project was to determine the eﬃciency of e-‐learning compared to
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