Evidence: Video of Minecraft world created

Learning Outcomes:

  • Plan learning opportunities most suitable to the strengths and challenges of a variety of mobile learning and gaming environments
  • Develop skills to optimize learning experiences through personalization based on characteristics, needs, stages of development, current personalized learning mandates, and misconceptions

I was very much a newbie to the world of Minecraft before this assignment. I had heard of it, seen people dress up as characters from it, but never so much as looked at it. For this assignment we had to ‘play’ in the Minecraft world and determine how it could be used in the classroom. In order to figure out how to use it in the classroom, I had to play with it my self and evaluate it with the rubric that Jay, Corina & I built. After all, how can I evaluate a tool for use in the classroom if I could not use it myself?

What I discovered is that Minecraft is a very flexible, creative world that has tremendous applications in the classroom. As you can see on the video, I tested the world for use in Math and Biology. I am especially happy how my labelled ‘cell’ turned out. For visual learners, students who love gaming or creative people, the ability to create three dimensional structures to illustrate concepts (or for example calculate volumes and areas in math) really personalizes the learning experience. Students can work collaboratively or individually, this can be done in the classroom or from a distance. the key word is personalization.

Are there some challenges to having Minecraft assignments? Sure. I work with adults. Not all of them will be interested in this or could afford to buy the program. In the k-12 systems there are also challenges (though MinecraftEdu eliminate a bunch of them!). Overall Minecraft scored very high on the game evaluation rubric. While it is certainly a tool that I would use in the classroom I would likely make it an optional assignment or alternative way of presenting a project. Participating in this assignment really opened my eyes to what games can do in education

Here is the presentation that Charlene and I did at VIU on how we integrated online labs in a blended class: Integrating Online Labs in a Blended Class using D2L

You can find the videos to all presentations here: http://wordpress.viu.ca/council/viulearn-d2l-show-and-share/

Evidence: Unit Plan for the Reproductive System: Reproductive system unit plan

Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner
  • Develop an online unit using cloud tools effectively

The lesson has students participating in three TEDEd lessons, which I created. Students then create an infographic about either the path of sperm or the path of an egg. The last component is creating a concept map about one of four topics. Students would then combine their concept map with three other students to create a larger map with all four topics.

In my teaching at Vancouver Island University I generally use a Learning Management System (LMS), specifically D2L. While having one system for the entire university is very convenient, especially for students as there is consistency between classes. Sometimes, however, the LMS is too limiting and cannot do exactly what the instructor wants the students to do. Sometimes one needs to go outside the LMS and in to cloud tools. Educators should use the best tools available to create appropriate learning activities for their learners.

In the lesson I created, I choose to use a hybrid model: cloud tools housed within a LMS. With very little alteration the entire unit could be done with cloud tools (the discussion, for example, could be held in Google + document while the infographics could be held on a photo-sharing site). This, perhaps, is what I like best about cloud tools. They offer tremendous flexibility in that they can stand alone or work within an LMS

Evidence: Technology implementation plan

Learning outcomes:

  • Develop practical and technical skills in all phases of concept, development, design, implementation, etc. for blended and online learning environments.
  • Demonstrate basic competency with design and implementation within blended and online learning environments.

I have been thinking about introducing Twitter into the class for sometime but have never got around exploring the research to see the benefit of using a microblogging tool in the classroom. I also never thought about designing a plan of implementation. I suspect I would have just tried to ‘wing it’. This evidence is a plan for implementing Twitter into a class and as a possible longer-term project.

Introducing a new technology as an early innovator is quite a bit of work so it is really important to have a clear, detailed plan before starting. Not only do you need details for how the tool will be used, but you need to develop a concept, a reason for why the tool is being used and what is be pedagogy behind it. It is also important to use the tool quite a bit before starting as the educator needs to be an ‘expert’ in it so students feel confident asking questions.

While I have not yet used Twitter in the classroom, having a tool to be able to converse with students (and students converse with each other) outside of an LMS or email really extend the breadth of the class. In terms of my teaching practice, this project really emphasized how important a detailed plan is when new tools are being introduced to the class, or to the school

leadership_project.pdf

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