22 december 2016

TeacherGaming Analytics

In mid November we did a field trip to TeacherGaming in Tampere together with the Finnish Swedish iLearning tutors. We had the honor to listen to COO Mikael Uusi-Mäkelä who talked about what happened after MinecraftEDU and showed us a very neat tool: TG Analytics!

To be able to monitoring your students while they play any game, connected to this analytic platform, would be like a dream come true. It will save so much time when following up students activities! Best of all, when you see what skills they have practice and which ones they have not, you should be able to push out that needed skill to their next log in. That was actually the feature that hooked me.

Back home I immediately contacted them and signed up as a beta tester.

And please keep this in mind; the platform is not ready!
You are a beta tester.

Some people might look at it and think it’s the complete product - which it's not - and leave it when they see something broken. When you see something broken you report it, that's why you are a beta tester!

With the experience I've got working with this kind of tools is, it has to fulfill mainly two things else teachers and schools won't start use it

1. The price has to be low.
With that said, usually 500€ sound expensive while 350 students which cost 2€/school year suddenly is affordable (even though the price just turned higher).

2. It has to be simple.
Teachers - or parents - learning curve has to be low. The tool has to be that simple so you could learn it within 5 minutes. Already to use tech usually stress teachers enough to avoid adopt them, no matter how awesome they might be!

However,  the games themselves can of course be advanced, Students and/or youth most often surprise the older generation ;)

Does TeacherGaming meets my requirements?
As they're in beta phase there's no price tag just yet, but what I've understand from my discussions with the dev team it won't be expensive. The tool itself will most probably be free but the games connected to the platform will cost some.

I just love how simple, clean and easy it is.

First I log in to the platform and I create my class 

Simple right? I name the class, an ID is generated and now my class is up! Next, we add a student, it's as easy as create a class. We write the students name, and we also get a student id. 

The skill tree is another awesome feature. You should be able to pick your "own" curriculumno matter if you're teaching grade 1-3 in US or grade 4-6 in Sweden.

The Dashboard, it's where everything happens and you can follow your students (or childrens) progress. But hey? No games added yet? Nope, students havn't logged in so there's nothing to see.

But as I started a code thinking course, I'd like my student to play Switch&Glitch. I've installed the game on the device and now my student log in, using the class id and her student id. As soon as she, my student or actually daughter, are logged in to the game, real-time information will start to show up in TG Analytics. How awesome is that?

When I click on my student I will get up more information about the skills she's learning while playing the game!

Sounds interesting? 
Why don't sign up as a beta tester you too?

13 december 2016

Healthy me, game on!

To our eSport course we got funding to improve the health among our participants. During the school year 2015-2016 we tried to use season tickets to the swiming hall but it turned out many of the gamers had such a bad self-perception they didn't had the guts to go there. Therefor, with funding, we wanted to try activity bracelets. Would it be possible to make our students aware of the every day exercise and 8 hours sleep if you use such a bracelet?

According to one of our lecturer, Jaana Wessman, the top three things to do outside of the game is (and I quote)

1. Sleep
  • regularly
  • enough
2. Exercise
  • preferably daily
  • preferably something requiring spatial navigation (walking/running outside) and/or complex co-ordination (dance, martial arts), or both (trail running, team sports)
3. Minimize unrelated stress
  • take care of your family obligations
  • take care of your school/work
  • have a Plan B
Serious competitive gaming requires leading a disciplined life.

And I end the quote (from slide 25/32) and Jaana's presentation about "Digital games and health" backed up with science can be found from here.

So, activity bracelets?
It turned out not only the eSport industry thought this could be a good idea but also Insmat.fi who gave us a nice price. Suddenly we could afford a reward system, with other words, use gamification on everyday exercise to make our students aim to walk 10,000 steps a day!

The system works as XP in every other game you play, you collect it and when you reach a certain level you ding one level. As the game cards wasn't in any other value than 10€ (LOL) and 20€ (STEAM/Battlenet) the distance is quite far but still realistic. The highest level is 6 and 2.100.000 steps as we'd like our participants to be able to get the rewards before summer. Between January 1st and May 31st it's 151 days, if you aim for 10.000 steps a day you need 150 days to reach 1.500.000 steps and level 5. To reach level 6 you need to walk 14.000 steps a day for the next 150 days and that's really a lot!

Also, if you start with LOL you ding the first and second level before you can change path and choose another game card.

Strange, this is the outsiders biggest concerns but not the participants. Could it be more tempting to an outsider to fool the system? Ask yourself, what would they win with cheating? Another 20€? Is it really worth the risk of 20€ to be known as a cheater in such a small group (20+15 students) and also make the responsible teacher who fight for you and your interest disapointed?

Exercise motivation?
First our students got the activity bracelets and the game was on! It was not only the rewardsystem itself that started to motivate the participants but also the competition; "how far distance have you walked today?"

But when they saw the pictures of the bought game cards, they took a deep breath and whispered: "O h   m y   g o d !"

Yes, now it's not only talking but for real!

The game is on!