Category Archives: GAFE

Creating a Leaderboard

 

To motivate students and develop a desire to see their points rise, I need a visual. This is called a leaderboard in the world of video games.  Back when I was doing my graduate work, I witnessed how the leaderboard motivated me. As I said before, gaming wasn’t my thing. And the quests and the things we did to “pass” were out of my comfort zone. However, I finished the class with the second to highest XP. Why? Because I was motivated. I liked seeing my avatar in the lead.

 

One of the principles I learned about games which carries directly to teaching, is that everything has to be in the ZONE, Lev Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD). Well, I am not sure game designers think of Vygotsky’s research when they create games. But think about it, each level gets more challenging, gives enough lives to make it interesting but not too hard or too easy. In this graduate class, Dr. Chris Haskell created a variety of quests. Some were required, but most were optional. You just had to choose enough quests to reach your “grade” goal. There were enough quests that were carefully scaffolded and in my Zone that I was able to learn a significant amount about gamification, while accumulating points (XP). Just as the gamification research shows, students (even unskilled students like me) can be motivated by competition and seeing their XP stack.

 

In working on this project, I am revisiting some of the articles and post I wrote during my graduate work. As I review the materials on gamification,  what I am attempting to do this semester is not true gamification, but it is a start.  So to build a leaderboard, I did what everyone does, look for free resources on the web. Alice Keeler has some fantastic resources, and I found other people’s posts. But of course, nothing is exactly what I need, so I will have to do some good old fashioned spreadsheet work. If I were building these materials in Adobe Captivate, I would have used the resources created by eLearning Brothers. That will be for my next PD course I write.

Continue reading Creating a Leaderboard

Capture images with Awesome Screenshots

Are you a Chrome user?  Then you can take screen shots with Awesome Screen shots and paste them into documents, share them on Twitter or Facebook, or create a set of images in a project.
Here is how to get started.

Go to the Chrome Web Store.

awesome-screen-shots-1

Search for Awesome Screenshots.

awesome-2

aweseome-3

 

Add it to your Browser Extensions.

awesome-3

 

Click on the Awesome Screenshots icon.

use-awesome-1

 

Sign in using your Google Account.

use-awesome-3

 

Choose your Google Account.

use-awesome-4

 

Click on the tab of the image you wish to capture and click the Screen Shot icon in your Browser bar.

use-awesome-1

Choose the type of screen shot you wish to take.

use-awesome-6

Select the area to capture (if applicable).

use-awesome-7

Annotate (draw write etc)

use-awesome-8

Click done.

use-awesome-9

 

Right click on the image to copy it.

use-awesome-9a

 

Find the location to paste it.

use-awesome-10

 

Right click where it should be placed and click paste.

use-awesome-11

Resize as desire.

use-awesome-12

Done!

 

 

 

50 States Google Map project

the_50_states_projectAs a interdisciplinary coordinator, I enjoy working with teachers and parents to use Google Apps for student learning. Integrating technology into teaching and learning provides the opportunity to reach higher order thinking skills as students engage in challenging and creative tasks (King, Goodson, & Rohani, 2009).

Most American students are tasked with the challenge of memorizing the 50 states and their capitals. Currently this is a fifth grade standard, but I have known of students as early as 1st grade beginning to learn these facts. However, if you ask most 20 year old adults to name 15 states and their capitals, you might be surprised at the answers. Here is a fun way for students to learn these facts, while engaging higher order thinking skills as they generate their own map and produce travel itinerary to visit capitals across the nation.

Resources:

  • Computer
  • Google Account
  • Apps used – Google Maps, Google Sheets

 

Students will start by going to http://www.50states.com/tools/thelist.htm to see a list of states and capitals, then type them into a spreadsheet.  Additionally, students should research other details such as the Admission Day for each state, or a famous author/artist who lives/lived in the state. This is a wonderful opportunity to personalize the activity to peak student interest. Maybe the student is interested in theme parks, gardens, or sports. This information will be entered into the spreadsheet. In fact, up to 50 columns of detailed information can be included. Here are step by step instructions for entering this information into a spreadsheet.

After they have created the spreadsheet they will open the My Maps app to import all the information into a customizable map.  Once they have imported the details into their map, they can add images, customize the pins, etc.  Use the following instructions for creating the map.

To make this activity extend into math, ask students to create a travel itinerary. They can choose to travel by plane, car, bike or other means of locomotion. The more the students interact with the states and capitals, seeing them on the map, talking about them and learning about them, the more likely they are to remember them after they have taken a test.

Consider having students listen to the states and capitals songs while they are working on the project. Or for the ultimate technology creation, have the students screen cast their map with the states. Use one of many free web based screencasting tools, such as the Snag it Chrome Extension or Screencastify. Remember that the YouTube editor allows for quick edits and background music.

 

“Higher Order Thinking Skills – Center for Advancement of …” 2009. <http://www.cala.fsu.edu/files/higher_order_thinking_skills.pdf>