Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How to participate in #TXEDUCHAT Sundays 8-9pm Central!

I've recently fielded several questions on how to navigate a Twitter chat since I will be leading the #TXEDUCHAT each Sunday evening at 8 to 9 pm Central time and would like to have this post serve as an abbreviated "How To" for folks that might be new to such forums.

Here are a few tips for jumping into the #TXEDUCHAT:

  1. Chats can be quite fast paced and programs such as Tweet Deck or Twitterfall can assist in keeping up with posts.
  2. The #TXEDUCHAT hashtag needs to be included in each of your answers or comments on Twitter during the chat so that everyone "hears" you.
  3. Questions posted by the moderators will usually begin with the characters Q1, Q2, etc and your answers should follow suit with A1, A2, etc at the beginning.
  4. If you miss tweets, don't be alarmed. It is very easy to scroll back through the chat or review all the comments later.
  5. If you are already familiar with the topic, type out comments or questions before the chat in a document that you can access during the chat and simply "paste in" your thoughts. Keep in mind that these should also stay within the 140 character limit.
  6. Tweets can include links to outside articles or information that helps make your point.
  7. Retweet anything that you find noteworthy or you feel warrants a "shout out!"
  8. Once you have tweeted the #TXEDUCHAT hashtag you can then view all the tweets associated with it by clicking on it at any time.

I hope these tips help! Please join me on Sunday evenings from 8 to 9 pm Central for the #TXEDUCHAT!


Does gamification work?

I can't answer that question but does it potentially lead to engagement and motivation? YES.

I've experienced this firsthand with one of my own children over the past few weeks as she has been running frantically from zombies in our very neighborhood!

I've been looking into game elements in learning for a couple of months now and have learned a great deal. A recent online open course I attended called Game Elements for Learning (#GE4L) on the Canvas Open Network was invaluable, and I had the opportunity to communicate with educators across the globe on this topic. My previous post shows the current general consensus on use of game elements in learning and can be summed up as an "it depends" but largely positive ruling thus far.

Claims that such approaches can better engage or motivate students were very academic in my world until I witnessed my teenage daughter up before dawn during the summer as she put on headphones and ran two or three miles each morning! Why was she doing this? Zombies were chasing her and she had a story to engage in (see that kept her motivated!

In the last three weeks alone my former non-exercising teenager has covered nearly 30 miles with these virtual creatures on her heels and has become a passionate runner in the process. When I've asked her why she has become so focused on running each day, she says that she "has to gain materials and milestones to win her game." This badge system gives her a self directed set of goals and keeps her moving...literally! This case adds to the positive argument for gamification or game elements better than any other I've yet heard!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Using Game Elements in Education

The "gamification" of learning or use of game elements in education has been touted as a way to better engage students. Advocates suggest that some students that might otherwise slip through the cracks or drop out of school could become more engaged in their education if it were fun.

I have just enrolled in an open online course that is studying this philosophy and will write a review of my experience upon completion. This course is the Game Elements 4 Learning or #GE4L course currently underway on the Canvas Open Network.

In researching this subject I located an interesting info-graphic that summarizes information on this topic very well in my opinion.  Visit the infographic on Knewton's website here. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

"Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom"

This quote by George Washington Carver reminds us that learning and education truly open doors for students.

Lifelong learning begins for children when that realize that they can be inquisitive and find the answers to their own questions. This is one of the main reasons that I believe educators should primarily be guides and facilitators of learning. The keys that our students create for themselves will be the ones which take them the farthest in their lives.

To read more of George Washington Carver's quotes follow this link:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Technology in Education

What role does technology play in education? What role should it play?

These are questions that many parents, teachers, and administrators must seek answers to as they attempt to provide the best education possible for their children. I firmly believe that technology has become an increasingly more important mode of delivery in education over the past two decades and I don't think this trend will change.

In order to best provide for the education that will be of most benefit to our children, we must include the use of technology in our curriculum in my opinion. A well known author and lecturer named Ian Jukes frequently asks "Are we preparing our children for their future or our own past?" I think this question is a very relevant point to consider as we structure the approaches we take in educating our children. Here is an example of Juke's view on this in his own words: