26 augusti 2014

Superbetter test

I've been listen a lot lately to Jane McGonigal talking about her awesome invention SuperBetter. I know this what I'm going to talk about isn't what she exactly says... but as I got inspired of her thoughts I thought it could be something to test. 

After approx 5 min she talks about: "I wish I had let myself be happier" and there I think it got interesting for my little test. I am happy but also stressed about how to manage my studies, my classes/teacher/school, family and more. 
I need some time for myself.

Other things she talks about in this TED Talk is that online game playing, like 30 min a day helps you to feel better. If you create your avatar as a better version of yourself you will also be more braver, ambitious and commited in real life.
Sounds amazing!

I already do spend a lot of time with my family playing games and so, but I also feel I need 30 min to escape in a world of my own. And if I'm successful in that mission I believe I will be less stressed, better dad and husband and have more energy to my work as well. And as I happens to be a gamer, this might work for me :)

I've activated my World of Warcraft account and created a new character. Because all the heirlooms I have is leather armor, I thought a new hunter could work, and inspired of you know who I also named this character "Superbetter".

And the avatar thoughts sounds so interesting that I have to check it out! Despite to all my other characters this one actually reminds me about me :)

22 augusti 2014

How is my Masterplan working?

English is my second language and according to all my former English teachers I should have a C or lower in English because I have no knowledge. Or as you can see, I have the wrong kind of language skills becuse I've learned English while playing games (Dark Age of Camelot and World of Warcraft) and that's bad :D hehe well, of course not, but I want to point it out so you understand there's much learning going on when you play games even though it's not the primary thought of it.

How is my Masterplan working?
Well, this week I've started slow and easy with my course "PCs and Peripherals" and as you can see I have already done the opposite to my colleague. (I'm Steve and my students are also Steve)

He (and more colleagues) asks me all the time how I'm going to solve my course and most of them also panic when they realize my plan. It can't work! And therefor they try to shoot me down as fast or as often as possible... I do have some allies, but they work in silence and let me take the battles ;)

Anyway, before starting with theory I felt I needed to take up some basics with my students. My colleague started with theory from the very beginning and a whole day... Basics for me: how you problem solve, how you can be creative, how I want them to do documentations, start networking, stuff like that. And to make this happen without being boring I thought the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology could be a way to trick them: make something boring funny.

So they did the test, and if You try this with your class I have to warn you, the site gamerDNA is slow, and they got their profiles (achiever, explorer, socializer and killer). I don't believe this work for games in general because when I took the FPS test myself I got another profile, something happens with my game role when I get my hands on a M249... 

What comes to a dungeon based game this was working just fine. We had three killers, three achievers, one socializer and two explorers (me and one more).

After the test they had to start working, first go to the wiki site and learn more about their profile. Understand the English, use Google translate if that's easier so you will have a hint what the text is about in Swedish (mothertounge). I believe you have a learning process going on even if you use Google translate, even if it's cheat what comes to language you problem solve and learn to be creative. Important skills as well.

When they had understood the description they now had to, with own words, reflect over their own gaming profile. Is it true? Why or why not? Motivate! Yes or no is not a valid answer. And they did that, all of them! A few sentences.

This, the reflection part, were the part where I realised - afterwards - I had succeeded with something school counselors usually fail with. Students with some kind of diagnose (ADHD, dyscalculia, dyslexia and more) usually have very hard to do this self analysis and put in on paper. I made this happen by misstake...

And as they are a new class, their group dynamic got a push, no matter the age: all are gamers! They started to discuss games and roles, and when I did the same test I was an important part of that discussion.

Back to the master plan!
I know our students, sooner or later, will loose interest if the lessons becomes boring (too much theory) and I know they will start play games. And when this happens, what will happen if I allow them to play one game and only that game. And what happens if I challenge them inside that game? 
  • Will they learn more? 
  • What unintentional learning will occurs?
  • Will they be more interested in the course/lessons?

But I also start to understand build a computer or calculator will be a project too big, mostly because it's going to be a pain in the a** to debug what others have done. 

But if I put it down to the very smallest part of what a computer is, logic gates, and starts from there? Electrical engineering, something that our "cousins" ICT Assemblers study and learn. 

Actually, when I talked with that teacher today he had also been thinking of use Minecraft to get the students more involved in the education. The millennium kids, generation G, for sure learn in another way than we have been taught. And I thought I was the only teacher with that kind of thought in my school... hehe.

I know that the logic gates are not "PCs and Peripherals" but I also know if you understand this you will have much easier to do programming later in the education. 

And this leads to the same question once again:
If they anyway are going to play, what happens if I control the game?

19 augusti 2014

The Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology

Okay, so today I started my course about "PCs and Peripherals" and the class has seven adolescents around 15-17 years old and one adult at 30. During the introduction I asked how many play computer games, raise your hands!

From this year we should be a so called 1:1 school and use the SAMR model. This class got their tools (ASUS T100T) last Friday and next question: How many of you have not installed a game on the unit? Raise your hands!

Okay, so no matter what I have a class of gamers and I truly believe youth of today learn in a different way from what I've been learning. Or how you teach teachers to educate. Or never the less, what their parents believe. When I continued with my master plan, the advanced redstone computer in Minecraft they did "high five!" ...and the old guy, the World of Warcraft gamer, thought it would be interesting...

But first, as I read in Eduelfies blog some weeks ago (comments, replies and feedback) one good startpoint would be to do the The Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology quiz. By doing that, just for fun, except the fact I won them to my side they have a lots of learning going on already!

But here's the thing.
According to my colleagues this ain't going to work.
One of my fellow teachers had a long explanation about what the old guy has done before and therefor, of course, won't be able to achive any knowledge.

He's too old...

And I thought, dear God...
Do not shoot me down right away.
And let my try do it my way, because I feel I have them all interested.

And by the way, he's a gamer. 
And so am I.
And you are not.
Live with that.

11 augusti 2014

My master plan to PCs and Peripherals

This fall and already next week (August 19th) I will start a three week/90 lessons cours at the subject "PCs and Peripherals" to our new Datanom (Business Information Technican) students. I'm not comfortable with this subject, I feel that I don't master the subject well enough. But as the ultimate resource I can't say no, I have to do what USMC does: improvise, adapt and overcome.

So lately I've been reflected a lot how I learn best myself, what sort of didactics I would be comfortable with and what does my students expect. 

One important thing I won't be able to escape from, we literally must open computers and look, investigate the parts. But I also know that too much theory will lose their interest and I know most of them are going to start play games instead. And it will be easier now as my school will start with this 1:1 laptop program this fall. Easier to play during class and easier to use it as an opportunity if you have the guts.

Last week when we discussed Minecraft and this article I got great response from Whokey Hook who had several thoughts that I better just quote. 

As Marc Prensky once said about preparing kids for 21st century success (in his talk “Engage me or Enrage me part 1”): “The key point is, that we do it before the end of the 21st century!” […] “We live in the 21st century! Why shouldn’t we be taught in 21st century ways?!”

It’s a big mistake to ban things from education they’re so passionate about. Henry Jenkins gave a very great interview about that topic once: Big Thinkers: Henry Jenkins on New Media and Implications for Learning and Teaching.

Surprisingly due to my age of 45 I would say I agree and would myself been loved to learn in a 21st century way when I study the same education back in 2007. Of course I should use games, of course I shouldn't ban things the students (or I) are so passionate about.

As the red thread during this course my students will be allowed to play a game during classes: Minecraft. That would also be the only game I will allow. 

And what to do with Minecraft and students that age? 
Building a redstone computer.
One of the computers I've been looking at is bennyscube's awesome tutorials.

Most of them who I have asked about advice had said that would be to hard and to complicated. I guess not. Last year I had two students building a calculator each, first as a challenge but they did it for fun. Without tutorials.

Except not only getting the goals what comes to the course I also will be able to follow the SAMR model and I believe the unintentional learning would be very useful for the students in upcoming courses as binary counting and object-oriented programming.

I believe youth today learn in a different way than the way I myself were taught, thanks to video games as that is the primary entertainment thing now days. Therefor I believe I as a teacher have to change my didactics so I make my lessons more interesting and I hope this is a road that would be a hit. I also believe it's going to be possible and interesting to give them fact of computer (history, OS, facts and stuff) as we do the Minecraft project.

My colleagues who use to have this course has a different opinion than me what to learn (surprise surprise!) and most of them also have the motto: "Sharing is scaring!" 

There has been one who has been willing to help and suggested lots of topics like history, how a computer works, what every part is and more so I have some theory to gamificate with Kahoot! 

What comes to the part opening up a computer I will have my students to pick one part each and document it deeply. Together they will put together a manual sort of with youtube-links and text.

The last week there has been lots of articles about games and learning in the Swedish news, this one of course which sounds as a glass of wine a day will keep you healthy. But also a University study that you will gain important English skills while play video games.

6 augusti 2014

Help needed!

I'm working as a remedial teacher at an upper secondary vocational institution in Finland, my students are between 15 and 40 years old. As a surprise to this fall semester I got a course about "PCs and Peripherals" and lots of hours/lessons and I struggle with what to teach. In my opinion I have way too many hours...

My students will be the first year and it's the one of the first courses, I have to make them interested in both the learning process as the profession (Business Information Technican).

My colleagues who use to have this course has a different opinion than me what to learn (surprise surprise!) and also don't want to share material with me. There has been one who has been willing to help and suggested lots of topics like history, how a computer works, what every part is and more. But honestly, 90 hours???

I believe youth today learn in a different way than the way I myself were taught, thanks to videogames as that is the primary entertainment thing nowdays. Therefor I believe I as a teacher has to change my didactics so I make my lessons more interesting.

Here's my thought:
I have recently discovered Minecraft and believe it's an excellent tool to use in education. I have not yet have the ability to buy the MinecraftEDU so I use a vanilla server. As a red thread in this course, together with my students, we will build a computer inside Minecraft.

To this red thread I can connect everything possible; history of computers, parts, peripherals.

This spring fall I had students to build a calculator in Minecraft and I thought it would be at least a week work, but it only took like a day and a night. Therefor I have to aim higher!

So please give me some help here
1. Any good and working tutorials how to build a computer (redstone) is most wanted!
2. Am I nuts?
3. Have I missed something?