Digital Culture In The Classroom

Education is considered one of the most important aspects of civilisation. It provides the foundation for preparing young people for the future. As technology grows and develops, its presence not only in the education system but also in society is inevitable. The use of technology in the classroom is not a separate notion but rather a tool to integrate into teaching methods to further develop the skills and knowledge of students.

So what is the digital culture in the classroom? Through technology a community is evolving where students and teachers from around the world are combining ideas to offer children the most best education possible. In my last post I mentioned the online game Mathletics, which allows students from a variety of countries to learn maths by completing activities based on curriculums and then competing against one another by testing the maths skills learnt. Games such as this one provide a platform for students to interact with one another whilst learning valuable skills. Teachers and parents have the ability to monitor student activity, providing current and up to date feedback on their performances and outcomes. Not only this, but students are learning skills in a fun and visual way compared to traditional learning.

Digital technology and creativity in the classroom prepares kids for the future by Carolyn Fox explores the transformation of the education system as a result of technology. She makes the point that society is moving towards a digital future, therefore teaching and learning methods must be adapted to prepare children for the ‘new world’ they will be living in.

The industrial, mass production model of learning is under fire and being questioned with the influx of digital technology today and globalization. Experts agree that we learn from our senses, primarily through our visual system, which accounts for about 80% of what we process. They agree that a digital world requires different skills and they usually agree that it includes visual skills.” – (Fox, 2013). 

Andrea Kuszewski is a behaviour therapist and consultant for children on the autism spectrum, with a background in neuroscience and psychology. Upon studying intelligence and the performance of autistic children in learning, she found that we actually have the ability to increase fluid intelligence, the intelligence we use to problem solve. So to increase your brain matter and fluid intelligence, you must seek novelty, challenge yourself, think creatively, do things the hard way and network. Believe it or not these are all key aspects of gaming.

Gabe Zichermann looks at this study in more detail in relation to gaming and shows that gaming is only making our kids smarter.

Resources

Fox, Carolyn 2013, ‘Digital technology and creativity in the classroom prepares kids for the future’, Opensource.com, 25 October, viewed 24 March 2016, https://opensource.com/education/13/10/prepare-future-digital-tech-creativity.

Kuszewski, Andrea 2011, You can increase your intelligence: 5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential, Scientific American, weblog post, 7 March, viewed 24 March 2016, http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/you-can-increase-your-intelligence-5-ways-to-maximize-your-cognitive-potential/.

TedxYouth 2011, TEDxKids@Brussels – Gabe Zichermann – Gamification, YouTube video, 9 June, YouTube, viewed 24 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2N-5maKZ9Q.

Unboxing Boxer Debriefs

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.21.33 AMFor the past two weeks, Tom, Riley, Keiden, Jess and myself have been working on our DIGC310 group assignment. For this task we are creating an unboxing series across multiple platforms. Each week we record ourselves playing a board game to create a short youtube video. We then reflect on the experience and delve further into the game in a podcast. Finally this information is collated in weekly blog posts.

While each week is a buildup of our overall digital artefact, it is also an opportunity for us to adapt and develop our skills and series as we are continuously reflecting and looking at what we can improve. We hope to show our work to the class this week to get some outside perspectives and ideas on where our project should go from here.

Feel free to check out our blog which includes our videos and podcasts.

https://boxerdebriefs.wordpress.com/about/

 

The Nitty Gritty

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Eat Up app homepage

Personal Development, Health And Physical Education K-6 Modules. 1st ed. Sydney: Board Of Studies NSW, 1999. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Now that the main concepts for Eat Up have been established, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty.

A large proportion of Eat Up relies on reading. Whilst the content will remain simple, players will need to be reading at a PM level of 20, which is the approximate level of an 8 year old. The simplicity of the game may however be limiting for older primary students. Therefore the educational content in Eat Up will be sourced from the PDHPE modules in stage 1 (year 1 and year 2) and stage 2 (year 3 and year 4). While the official recommended age for playing Eat Up would be 8-11 year olds, there is no restriction to who can play the game.

The Board of Studies Teachings and Educational Standards NSW gives the syllabuses for the content taught in NSW schools from Kindergarten to Year 12. This information explains what is to be taught to children at particular stages of their education.

For primary school students, the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education module explains, “The development of healthy attitudes and behaviours early in life is of fundamental importance to the growing child and the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle should be clearly reinforced and the consequences of inappropriate behaviour explained. The activities for this strand are designed to encourage an informed and responsible approach to these decisions. They focus upon relevant information, skill development and values clarification related to issues such as nutrition, hygiene, and consumerism” (Board of Studies, 1999, p. 211). 

Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2):

At this stage, when taught nutrition, students should have an understanding of, food groups, balanced eating habits, and food choices for good health. This is done by, introducing students the food pyramid, and answering questions such as:

  • What type of foods do our bodies need most and least?
  • Are the foods that we often want to eat the same as the foods our bodies need?
  • Why do our bodies need certain foods?
  • What would happen if we didn’t eat these foods and only ate foods we wanted?

Stage 2 (Year 3 and Year 4)

At this stage, when taught nutrition, students should have an understanding of balanced eating habits and compare nutritional values of food.

Based on this information, here is an example of a challenge in Eat Up:

*On a scroll* – “The bottom level of the healthy food pyramid is made up of vegetables, legumes and fruit. The average person should eat 5 vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit everyday. Using this information help Mummy make a healthy breakfast juice.”

The player will be shown a variety of foods such as, carrots, ginger, apples, chocolate sauce, ice cream, bananas, etc. They must place 5 vegetable and 2 fruits in the blender to pass the challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the challenges and games will be based off these modules, it would be advised to have the game looked over by current stage 1 and stage 2 teachers to gain any insight into their thought on the content included in Eat Up.

Similarly, the game would need to be play tested on children in stage 1 and stage 2, to determine if the game is suitable and gain feedback for any areas of improvement.

Resources

“PM Levelling”. Cengage Learning Australia. N.p., 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Personal Development, Health And Physical Education K-6 Modules. 1st ed. Sydney: Board Of Studies NSW, 1999. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Game Plan

This week I’ve created a Prezi which goes over the main details of the game. It covers the overall story of the game, rules, characters, and the platform the game will be created for.

Feel free to leave comments. Any questions, ideas or feedback on the game will be greatly appreciated!

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Digital Edu Game Pitch

[NOTE: This blog post is an edited version of Children’s Digital Culture]

Children’s gaming is a fast-paced and growing industry that aims to do more than just entertain. Educational games are created to help children build necessary skills beyond the classroom environment. While there are many that argue that these games are harmful to education there are those that believe this technology is allowing children to develop and learn more than ever before.

My aim for the DIGC310 assignment is to create a pitch for a digital educational game, which aims to teach children about health and nutrition. I have chosen to create a pitch rather than an actual digital game, as I don’t think I have to skills to do so. However, I hope to incorporate visual aspects of the game such as videos or images into the presentation.

This assignment will be complemented by the research project I am completing for DIGC335. For this project, I will be aiming to investigate educational games and the role of digital technology in children’s digital culture. This includes the growth and development of these games, as well as the effects on children and education. The pitch for the digital game will be the case study for my research.

I am beginning this research by looking at popular educational games used by kids today. Mathletics for example, is an online game that aims to develop the maths skills of children in both primary and secondary school. The game is played all over that world and allows children from different countries compete against each other in maths games. These games and activities are based on outcomes and requirements of relevant curriculums and players are given rewards, points and incentives to encourage participation.

‘You do the math’: Mathletics and the play of online learning is an article, which analyses research conducted by the University of Melbourne on Mathletics. “The findings are drawn from a study of children’s technology use and offers insights into the developing possibilities and challenges emerging through the adoption of Web 2.0 applications for learning and education” (Nansen, et al. 2012, p. 1231). The article concludes that while it can be argued that the design, governance and ownership of such software can shape children’s context and relations of learning, the study showed positive outcomes for children who played the game as its variability caters for teachers, parents and children and the game complements classroom learning.

Basing my ideas off similar research on education games, I am hoping to create a game based on the concept of the food pyramid that will give children information on each food group that is part of a healthy diet. I will discuss the specifics of this concept and the functioning of the game in my next blog post.

References

Nansen, B., Chakraborty, K., Gibbs, L., Vetere, F. and MacDougall, C., 2012. ‘You do the math’: Mathletics and the play of online learning, New Media & Society, vol. 14, no. 7, pp.1216-1235.