Good games can provide immersive experiences for students. Like novels, films, plays, and other media, games can be high-quality materials a teacher uses to enable students to access the curriculum. Classrooms with high-functioning game-based learning are not ones in which the teacher hands a game to students to play. Nor do the teachers "gamify" their rooms, turning them into a game. Instead, effective game-based classrooms involve each of these components. Students are provided with learning experiences driven by play.
The following are three approaches to bringing game-based learning to your classroom. They’re not distinct from one another - so try mixing two or all three.
1. Games as Shared Experience
In 2015, Benjamin Stokes compared the experience of playing games to taking a class on a field trip. With a field trip, you first let students know what to expect and then give them freedom to explore an out-of-school location. Back in the classroom, you facilitate connections to the curriculum. Games, like field trips, provide meaning for students. You can put students in Minecraft and have them build structures. When night comes and creepers attack, only the students who stayed in fortified structures survive. After play, discuss the difficulties of setting up a colony in a hostile environment, like Jamestown. Students understand the dangers of settling new worlds because they have experienced them.
As smartphones and tablets blur lines between work, home and social lives, parents are grappling to balance it all, a new small study suggests. Parents' use of mobile technology around young children may be causing internal tension, conflicts and negative interactions with their kids, suggests the qualitative study in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. It's a challenge both parents and health care providers should tune in to.
"Parents are constantly feeling like they are in more than one place at once while parenting. They're still 'at work.' They're keeping up socially. All while trying to cook dinner and attend to their kids," says lead author Jenny Radesky, M.D., a child behavior expert and pediatrician at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital who conducted the study with colleagues from Boston Medical Center.
"It's much harder to toggle between mom or dad brain and other aspects of life because the boundaries have all blurred together. We wanted to understand how this was affecting parents emotionally. We found that parents are struggling to balance family time and the desire to be present at home with technology-based expectations like responding to work and other demands."
The study involved in-depth interviews with 35 caregivers, which included moms, dads and grandmothers.
Participants consistently expressed an internal struggle between multitasking mobile technology use, work and children, information overload and emotional tensions around disrupting family routines, such as meal time. As one mom in a focus group described it, "the whole world is in your lap."
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The Condition of Education 2016 presents 43 key indicators on important topics and trends in U.S. education. These indicators focus on population characteristics, such as educational attainment and economic outcomes; participation in education at all levels; and several contextual aspects of education, including international comparisons, at both the elementary and secondary education level and the postsecondary education level.
Students can use it to help them with reading comprehension. The way it works is easy: you paste your text, customize some of the tool’s settings and click on ’summarize’.
Smmry does the rest and provides you with a synopsis of the text containing few topic-focused sentences. The second application is an iPad app called Clipped and is especially ideal for news readers. Clipped summarizes long news articles into bullet points extracting unnecessary information and data leaving you only the gist of the story.
SMMRY's mission is to provide an efficient manner of understanding text, which is done primarily by reducing the text to only the most important sentences. SMMRY accomplishes its mission by:
• Ranking sentences by importance using the core algorithm.
• Reorganizing the summary to focus on a topic; by selection of a keyword.
• Removing transition phrases.
• Removing unnecessary clauses.
• Removing excessive examples.’
When you hold in mind a sentence you have just read or a phone number you’re about to dial, you’re engaging a critical brain system known as working memory.
For the past several decades, neuroscientists have believed that as information is held in working memory, brain cells associated with that information fire continuously. However, a new study from MIT has upended that theory, instead finding that as information is held in working memory, neurons fire in sporadic, coordinated bursts. These cyclical bursts could help the brain to hold multiple items in working memory at the same time, according to the researchers.
“By having these different bursts coming at different moments in time, you can keep different items in memory separate from one another,” says Earl Miller, the Picower Professor in MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. According to the new model, information is stored in rapid changes in the synaptic strength of the neurons. The brief bursts serve to “imprint” information in the synapses of these neurons, and the bursts reoccur periodically to reinforce the information as long as it is needed.
Mikael Lundqvist, a Picower Institute postdoc, and Jonas Rose, now at University of Tubingen in Germany, are the paper’s lead authors. The bursts create waves of coordinated activity in the gamma frequency (45 to 100 hertz), like the ones that were observed in the data. These waves occur sporadically, with gaps between them, and each ensemble of neurons, encoding a specific item, produces a different burst of gamma waves. “It’s like a fingerprint,” Lundqvist says.
The study, published in the Journal of Child Neurology, is the first of its kind to link nighttime instant messaging habits of American teenagers to sleep health and school performance.
"We need to be aware that teenagers are using electronic devices excessively and have a unique physiology," says study author Xue Ming, professor of neuroscience and neurology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. "They tend to go to sleep late and get up late. When we go against that natural rhythm, students become less efficient."
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that media use among children of all ages is increasing exponentially; studies have found that children ages 8 to 18 use electronic devices approximately seven-and-a-half hours daily.
Ming's research is part of a small but growing body of evidence on the negative effects of electronics on sleep and school performance. But few studies, Ming says, have focused specifically on instant messaging.
"During the last few years I have noticed an increased use of smartphones by my patients with sleep problems," Ming says. "I wanted to isolate how messaging alone - especially after the lights are out - contributes to sleep-related problems and academic performance."
To conduct her study, Ming distributed surveys to three New Jersey high schools - a suburban and an urban public school and a private school - and evaluated the 1,537 responses contrasting grades, sexes, messaging duration and whether the texting occurred before or after lights out.
She found that students who turned off their devices or who messaged for less than 30 minutes after lights out performed significantly better in school than those who messaged for more than 30 minutes after lights out.
Students heading back to school can always count on one thing: Technology will be a little bit more advanced than it was last year. After all, 21st century learning experiences are increasingly enhanced by gadgets and software, and the ability to plug into worlds beyond the classroom. Even so, technology is no substitute for everyday student engagement and collaboration among students, researchers find.
The study, published in Computers & Education, was the culmination of 20 years of analysis of 1,105 courses dating back to 1990, the year that spawned the World Wide Web.
As mobile technology has become more widespread, however, some instructors have begun to include texting or digital technology in their lesson plans, which begs the question: Is it still distracting to students? Can students reply to and send messages about class content without being distracted?
A new study by J.H. Kuznekoff, et. al., examines these questions. The researchers tested students using mobile devices in class to respond to messages that were related or unrelated to classroom material; additionally, the researchers varied the form of the messages (responding to another message or composing an original one) and the frequency of the texts. Their results are compiled in the article "Mobile Phones in the Classroom: Examining the Effects of Texting, Twitter, and Message Content on Student Learning."
Students who replied to messages relevant to class material scored higher on multiple choice tests than students who replied to messages that were unrelated to the class. The study authors conclude from this that "sending or receiving relevant messages may allow students to engage in similar processes as those that occur during note-taking. Specifically, relevant messages may allow students to encode lecture content in a manner similar to the processes that occur during note-taking (Peverly et al., 2013)."
The frequency of messaging was also found to be a factor in the interruption of learning: Students who tweeted or sent messages with higher frequency on content not related to the class took lower quality notes than those who tweeted less frequently on non-classroom related subjects. The first group also scored up to 17 percent lower than the control group on multiple-choice tests, evidence that engaging in messaging unrelated to the class hurts student learning.
While many instructors assume that mobile devices interrupt learning processes in the classroom -- even when they are related to material being studied -- this research points to the value that such devices may impart. That said, the study suggests that texting about content external to the lesson, or texting at a very high frequency, can, indeed, interrupt learning.
Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff, Stevie Munz, Scott Titsworth. Mobile Phones in the Classroom: Examining the Effects of Texting, Twitter, and Message Content on Student Learning. Communication Education, 2015;
Through this free app and a simple printed image, Anatomy 4D transports students, teachers, medical professionals, and anyone who wants to learn about the body into an interactive 4D experience of human anatomy. Visually stunning and completely interactive, Anatomy 4D uses augmented reality and other cutting edge technologies to create the perfect vehicle for 21st century education.
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