Recently I had the opportunity to go into a number of Mine Craft world created and monitored by Lucas Gillispie. Up to this point I had found Mine Craft entertaining and full of educational possibilities. Lucas showed me a world that was incredible! Students were actively engaged in creating their worlds, some had leadership roles in the world, others were aspiring to become higher ranked, and all of them were completely invested. As with any virtual environment there are some technical requirements and considerations with using Mine Craft. Some of the schools has classroom computers and servers provided for the students to use, other students had access at home. The students were using the school computers to create worlds and explanations for learning activities. In the classroom setting, students were watched over and encouraged by their instructors. In the virtual world, the instructor and helpers would observe the conduct and happenings in the worlds. It was interesting to think of the impact the environments had the schools they served. At first glance it may seem like a nice program or a fun club but the schools that have implemented Mine Craft as a learning tool have had huge success. One example is the art world created by art students The “epic” sized creations and creativity was amazing! Students also implemented math skills and geometry to design and engineer their projects. The response to each of these situations of using Mine Craft in schools was positive. As a Seminary Teacher I don’t see very much feasibility of using Mine Craft in my apartment but I can see the impact and progress they make in learning. As virtual worlds become more available I can see more integration in the classrooms. The big picture take away most meaningful to me and the people in my educational community I believe is the success that Mine Craft and virtual tools can bring if properly used as learning tools. The accessibility and entertainment of Mine Craft make it have so many possibilities for education. I would like to see some more school integration in my community of tools like Mine Craft because students have a desire to “play” these games and if carefully tailored video gaming can go from a waste of time to an effective educational experience.
-4.3 Delivery System Management
This week we focused on the role of the teacher as a manager or guide in the project development process. We looked at important and essential strategies to help make sure the teacher isn’t the whole show but rather a director. One of the most important ways to help “check” your facilitating is to think in the terms of the student. I think of it as the “I” or “me” syndrome that students often have. What does this have to do with me? What do I get to do? Thinking this way helps me stay in the management role rather than the “sage on the stage”. Some questions we were asked to reflect on help also with achieving a teacher/guide role. The questions and my responses are below:
- Will my role in the teaching/learning process change? I think depending on the activity I will have to be open to my role changing frequently. There will be some teacher presentation moments as I help students understand the tools we will be using. I will also become a team member/observer as I let students create their virtual maps. Flexibility and availability is the key to success in PBL.
- What are the skills of effective facilitation? The skills of effective facilitation have been outlined as:
-Understanding the role of the student
- Will the students develop the competencies and skills needed to be successful? I think some students will have an easier time at this than others obviously but overall I think they will be successful.
- What changes will you need to make in order to become an effective facilitator in your PBL unit? I think one major change is understanding when to facilitate and when to collaborate. Getting the right balance is the key to success.
This week we focused on planning and preparing our project by focusing on the tasks and activties of the project. We also looked at estimating time and preparing resources. We were given 2 options to post in our learning logs, I decided to go with option 2 and post about an article by Jamie Mckenzie titled, Scaffolding in PBL. I thought this article was so great I’ve inserted it here:
I think scaffolding is key to effective PBL. I have often wondered how to “let my students loose” without making the activity purposeless and unfruitful On the other hand there’s the challenge of being to restrictive. I strongly agree with McKenzie when she explains, “We should have learned by now that exploration by students progresses most effectively when those students have been well equipped, well prepared and well guided along the path.” (McKenize, 1999). There has to be some guidance in order for effective learning to take place. I think the analogy of the guardrail of a mountain highway fits well with the whole concept of scaffolding in PBL, it doesn’t road block the learning process but guides it safely and effectively.
I have pondered this issue in our project already. Using Google maps and other Edtech tools will require some major guidance and I have worried about being too constricting in the creative process. One thing we have done is narrowed down the tools to the most effective and simple to use. We haven’t put a limit on the tools and have encouraged in our project the opportunity to use other tools. I think scaffolding in PBL is worthwhile and its principles should be considered in other teaching activities as well.
Week 4 is an important week. We are to plan the assessment and evaluate how it meets the key requirements for effective assessments. We planned our assessments around the key requirements so they should line up well. After reviewing them I have made a sort of checklist from the data from “What Kids Can Do“. Here is that checklist.
Assessment is for students.
√ Has personal relevance for students (e.g., provides a tangible product they can use).
√ Students become more confident and articulate about what they know.
√ Students feel ownership over the process as well as the product of their work.
Assessment is faithful to the work students actually do.
√ Notebooks, works-in-progress, and routine presentations are basis of assessment.
√ Occasions for reflection and discussion are integrated into ongoing project work.
√ Students are assessed on what they know and do, not what they don’t.
Assessment is public.
√ Students’ goals are solicited and become part of those assessed.
-I will add that this area can be improved, we need to add some more specific goals.
√ Criteria for judgment remain visible and accessible to students from the beginning.
√ Performances are viewed and judged by a broad group of people.
Assessment promotes ongoing self-reflection and critical inquiry.
√ Teachers and students both speak of the qualities of good work, and how to attain it.
√ Standards used reflect those of adult practitioners in the field.
√ Categories and criteria of assessment remain open-ended, subject to challenge and revision.
Looking over the key principles of assessment I think we should add some more goal oriented activities for the students and this way more student input can be included. Overall, I think we are on track with the assessment!
In this assignment I learned how to use a very valuable resource for organizing research. The resource is Zotero and works exclusively with Firefox browser. Even though I prefer Google Chrome I found that this tool was so effective with research, organization, and collaboration that I didn’t mind going back to Firefox. Zotero is effective in research because it is simple to “capture” information quickly. Zotero makes citation simple and quick which makes searching for the best information more effective. At first looking at this assignment to find 5 resources seemed like it would be very time consuming. To find 5 resources with Zotero was much easier than I thought and I because of this I was able to find more resources and narrow them down to the ones I felt were most useful. Zotero makes research simpler because of how fast it is to store resources. Zotero is also very effective tool for organizing the resources found. The library is customizable and it’s simple to add notes and other information to each resource. As much as Zotero excels with research and organization it also has a very simple way to connect and collaborate your research with others. The Zotero Group Library makes resource so much more effective because it’s simple to combine other resources found. I know feel like I have an enormous supply of good resources for research because of the Zotero Group LIbrary.
I feel like this assignment aligns with the AECT Standard 4.4 Information Management because it help me organize resources by using Zotero to plan, monitor, control storage, transfer, and process information. Zotero does it all!
Resource I shared with the group:
Banister, S. (2010). Integrating the iPod touch in K-12 education: Visions and vices. Computers in the Schools, 27(2), 121–131.