Ramblings about Education

Importance of All Hallows Eve Costume

As I reflect on all of those cute and sometimes scary costumes that I saw over the Halloween celebration, I pondered on how some child care facilities and parents view dressing up for the holiday. Early childhood research supports the concept that allowing children to dress up as different things that they see out in the world, read about, or see on TV helps them to gain a better understanding of those concepts. Thus a child dressing up like a fireman will get to try out that role as well as gain a better emotional understanding through play acting of what it might feel like to save people or put out a fire. One concept that we sometimes forget is ‘fear’. Dressing up as and acting as something they are fearful of helps a child to better understand and be able to control their emotions. Bonus they hopefully will realize that the animal, item, person, situation is not nearly as scary as they thought. Thus they can take control and ownership of their behaviors which then leads to more productive and positive interactions with others.

Play Journal – Fun Operation

DSCN2730It was a toss up between Chinese Checkers or Rudolph Operation on Bumbles. After realizing that the checker game was missing some marbles (literally) the other game won out. It was given to my hubby a few Christmas’s ago. Each year he gets something Bumbles (inside family joke because as a child he was terrified of Bumbles).

It is similar to the regular game (don’t touch the sides) but with a few twists besides the obvious ones of Bumbles roaring and the bones actually being toys from the Island of Misfit Toys. There were cards you drew each turn and if you messed up the person with the matching expert card (that was randomly dealt out at the start) got to try at double the payment $$ that you would have gotten had you been successful.

It went much faster then we expected because all of the shapes seemed to have a ledge or something sticking out that allowed you to grab it without setting off Bumbles. It was fun but limited game wise. One could come up with some different rules like try to grab the items with your non-dominate hand or with 1 eye shut. Great for fine motor skills for younger children. We only did one round…… Now to find those missing marbles. LOL

Teachers Pay Teachers – Summary

I enjoyed exploring this site and it’s different media links over the semester. Though it was heavy in worksheets there are are many opportunities for a knowledgeable teacher to take the worksheets and create an interactive real world experience. The one items I would like to see more of is games. Not just the several board games offered but instructions for teachers on how to use the different computer/app games to expand experiences and knowledge.

Enjoy – https://youtu.be/pSWV87ngTKo

Teachers Pay Teachers – Affinity Space

Teachers Pay Teachers Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

I am not sure why it did not click with me earlier but today I found the app for my phone and iPad https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/teachers-pay-teachers/id581312419?mt=8

From the time I choose this website I have only been accessing it on either my desktop, laptop or via the regular browser on my tablet. Today I was playing around on the website and noticed they have an app. Well that would have made my downtime waiting for DMV or any of my other appointments more productive because I could have played on the app. Though I have been spending the past 5 minutes trying to remember my log in since it is store on all the different devices and I have forgotten…… Oh there is goes. Now check the remember me box so that I can forget all over again.

As I have been exploring their Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook pages I have been ear marking different items to share with my students. I want them to have outside resources to access once class is over and/or they graduate. Though both my students and I have noticed that just because these people think they are amazing teachers with developmentally appropriate items to share, sometime the lessons are not right for the age. I think it is beneficial to show this to my students as it will help them to create their own guidelines for what lessons/activities are DAP for children 8 years and younger.

Personally I quickly get side tracked looking at the businesses and people that this group is following. I am currently listening to a book called APE about publishing – http://guykawasaki.com/books/ape-author-publisher-entrepreneur/. Interestingly when I went to the groups twitter site one of the people they are following is Guy Kawaski who is one of the authors for this book. ape-1667x2500.png


6 Degrees of Separation – we are always closer to people and answers then we think.

Scholarly Critique #6

Kids’ Gaming makes up nearly 8% of the mobile game spending worldwide.

Jeff Grubb August 18, 2015    http://venturebeat.com/2015/08/18/kids-gaming-makes-up-nearly-8-of-mobile-game-spending-worldwide/

  1. Why were you interested in this article or study? In other words, why did you select this reading as a reflection of your own interest-driven learning?

We have been talking about Education and are now moving into Mobile discussions in the UCD class. I was really interested in learning more about the numbers as that is something I like to share with my student teachers. When teachers understand how the game developers think and profit then they will be able to be more successful in understanding how they can use the different tech experiences that children have into learning experiences in the classroom.

  1. How does the author (or authors) conceptualize learning, and what evidence is provided to substantiate the relationship between games and learning? Alternatively, what evidence is missing that fails to address the relationship between games and learning?

This article was more about data and trends which is  what drew me in. What is the data showing compared to what we might think it would be. The author pulled his information from www.superdataresearch.com.

  1. What are the social dimensions of game play, and how do social relations contribute to either individual or collective learning?

This article discussed how parents are viewing game play for younger children. Their focus being on a one time purchase compared to the Free games. Part of the authors reasoning why this is happening is that parents feel more comfortable with spending the money up front and then allowing for the child to play as much as they want without the pressure to purchase extra’s in order to progress in the game. Also mentioned was the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which limits the data the game companies can college on children who are younger than 13. Yet, I wonder how many games on mobile devices are being played by young children where the data is still being collected as if they were an adult. Without a prompt that asks ‘put in the year you were born’ I believe that there is a considerable amount of data being collected that probably should not be.

Which then leads me to the issue of teachers using different mobile games in classroom learning. How would a teacher find out whether the game is COPPA compliant? If it was not would the teacher/school be liable for using that game in a learning environment without the parents direct permission? Would the parents even know that COPPA exists? So many questions when you are working with young children and need to protect their identity and use of the technology.

  1. What tools – whether digital, material, or conceptual – contribute to game play, and how do tools contribute to either individual or collective learning?

This article strictly discussed digital. Though it would be interesting to see where there is overlap with some games also being available in real world. Example: Simon Says – there is a digital game along with the physical game that you can purchase. My though being that if children play the physical game does it later lead into them wanting to explore the digital one because it allows the freedom to take the game anywhere and also ease of use. I have to admit that I enjoy my cribbage game on my computer because I do not have to drag around a board and cards where ever I go. When I have some wait time I can just get out my phone and enjoy a game. Then pause and restart at my leisure. That is another piece of data that would be interesting to extrapolate, how many of the games for children under 13 that are purchased have the ability to connect to others or are the majority stand alone.

Initially I was surprised about the amount of money that is spent for in-app purchases. Then I reflected on some of the people that I know play games like Candy Crush. One person spent over $500 over the course of just a few months in order to level up. So the article makes sense when talking about how parents are choosing to spend the money upfront to pay for a game instead of allowing their children access to games that encourage the player to spend ‘just .99 cents’ in order to continue playing or level up.

I really want to explore this Super Data Research more. It could be a useful resource for my students when they go into the teaching field to see what the trends are and how they can use this information to improve their classroom. Also to inform parents as they are the one’s most likely to be providing the majority of the children’s tech gaming experiences.

Games – Jenga


I was very excited that my oldest son made it over the mountain to spend the weekend. After dinner I choose Jenga as it is a simple game to learn. Years ago we had the original Jenga game where you got to choose any piece to move. It was fun but needed another level of challenge. So when the new Jenga came out that was more challenging we got that and they have really enjoyed it.

Rules for updated version are simple. Stack the tower initially how ever you want mixing up the colors. Then each player rolls the die and has to follow the instructions regarding what type of piece they need to remove from the tower and then stack on the top without tipping it over. NOTE: you can not remove pieces from the very top layer. The dice have colors that match the pieces. Thus if the dice show blue and say mid I would have to find a blue piece that was in the middle and move it.

As usual my oldest likes to play it risky while his young brother just enjoys the experience of the game. So quickly the tower was balancing on only a couple of pegs in a few different areas. My dad had never played and was just trying to keep the tower from falling over. Which worked pretty well until he had an unlucky roll where he had to reverse another players moves and well the tower came tumbling down. Over all everyone seemed to enjoy the game and scolding other players for making the tower wobbly.

I love the design of the game because it really plays to the STEM learning areas. People have to use critical thinking in order to figure out pressure points and stability. The original game is good to start with before tackling this more challenging level. As I was playing I was thinking about how easy it would be to create a different set of dice. Then it popped into my head how the colors were like Uno, thus you could create a dice that had Skip, Reverse, etc (which would make it even more challenging).

Cycle 5 was all about Educators/Schooling and this game is one that fits into so many different areas and teachers from Kindergarten up through 12th grade (into college level) could use this game because it is both simple (just removing pieces) to complete (engineering to keep it upright). It also successfully involves play. Where it is easy to fail and then quickly start over. Holden’s et al. paper talks about the playfulness and social interactions which this game demonstrates. Just check out the faces of the people when it  stack tumbles – joy, excitement, laughter.

VoiceThread and Games

VoiceThread and Games

I was excited about this webinar because I have been using Voicethread.com for quite a while with my online classroom. If you have not had a chance to explore Voicethread I encourage you to try out the free account.

Tonight the class was lead by George, instructional designer, and it was amazing. So many things that I had not thought of trying before. The best thing is that he linked examples into my voicethread account. No having to search for a link to a recording. It was fun to think of how students would play a game and then I could score them to encourage some friendly competition. George gave a great reminder that after the game we, as teachers, need to help the student reflect on the game and their learning/emotions/critical thinking. I am definitely going to have my students use the doodle tool. What a great way to have both audio and a working visual.

Sounds like they offer this type of class a few times a year. So you did not miss out. Just get your free account and start watching for any webinars that peak your interest.

Games – Learning Reflection #2

GamerGate – Wow

Educators as Designers – My niche

How did your participation in course activities this month contribute to your understanding of games (generally) and the relationship between games and learning?

GamerGate: I had heard briefly of it before as I listen to TedTalks as well as occasionally it will come across my google trends. But I did not know the depth of this  issue. How violently people will defend their views. Then again when you look into almost any field there are those at both extremes. I think the only way to find balance is to keep moving forward in a positive and considerate way. Change is going to happen even if we are not ready for it. http://image.slidesharecdn.com/whomovedmycheese-150303123018-conversion-gate01/95/who-moved-my-cheese-3-638.jpg?cb=1425385948

Educators as Designers: Now here is a module that relates directly to my world of teaching those who will go on to teach our future leaders/caretakers. I was very excited to see so many of the theorist that I talk about weekly. My favorite is Maslow but he was not talked about. Vygotski was a key player. Interesting that only years after his death did his theories finally start to gain footing. His focus on scaffolding aligns with what gamer’s experience. That gradual increase in both knowledge and ability with help from others who have a greater mastery of the specific task. Also the idea of social learning where peers are both supporting and competing in a positive manner. *I am very glad that I was about to guide the discussion for two of the research papers because I felt that I had greater knowledge this model and could ask better questions of my peers.*

What preconceptions about games, play, and learning have you changed because of your course activities so far?

Though it was a shock to think that some people in the gaming world, which if full of changes, would be so bias regarding specific changes (women), this new understanding will help me to better prepare my student for what they may face in the classroom. Though my student only teach up to grade 3 they still may come across students or parents that have very set views regarding women/female roles in gaming.

The education module gave me some new resources to share with my students in an executive summary. I will also be looking into some of the other resources that were listed at the end to see what other summaries I can add or links to different websites.

How have you relied upon networks – with peers, via social media – to advance your learning in our course?

I regularly share information with both my faculty and my students regarding the classes that I am taking. Having their thoughts regarding the information provide is helpful because I enjoy trying to see things from other peoples perspectives. Example: One of my faculty can use a cell phone and basic internet. When I talk with her about using online games she brings up great points regarding how it would be challenging for some students who do not use technology in that way. If we do incorporate it we need to scaffold the assignment. Thanks to her views regarding tech I have made changes to my online classroom so that students are completing simple tasks first as assignment instead of making them learn to use the tech on the side and then have an assignment due.

Ask yourself a question about games, play, and learning – and provide a meaningful answer.

We know that children are born with little bias. This is learned as they grow. How can we as teachers of young children share the idea that women need to be portrayed as strong without having to be ‘sexy’. That women can design women heroes games that rival/equal/exceed those design by men.

What are your ongoing curiosities about games and learning, and how might you pursue these interests?

I am going to continue to see out more papers that relate games to the major theorist in the field of early education. Providing research and links to what my students already know, basic theory, while connecting it to games will help to broaden their ability to be a successful teacher.


Play Journal – Farkle


I had seen the game pop up in my recommended from Amazon, I was actually getting ready to order the Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee game, and decided that would be a fun game to play after Easter Dinner. Note: My dad is a die hard poker player. He gets together with his friends every week to play. He was a good sport and tried the game anyway. He did not like that, in his mind, it was mainly luck of the roll compared to poker where there is more strategy.

The rules that I found on the internet were different then my husbands rules so we played one game of each. Here is a link to the rules – http://officialfarklerules.com/rules-of-the-game/ Mainly you keep rolling as long as you get dice that score – 1 or 5 or groups of 3 or more of the same dice in the same roll. But if you want to take a risk and keep rolling but have no scoring dice (it happened at least 7 times when we played throwing all 6 dice) then you loose all points you had accumulated from your current turn. This relates directly to our reading from Holden regarding taking risks and trying out different ways of thinking.

Since it is a dice game there are all sorts of ways that you could change it up. We actually have a random dice that is brown. I was thinking that it would be fun to make that special in some way. Like choosing the power-ball number – say a number before rolling and if the colored dice comes up that number you take the total points that you rolled times that number.

Surprisingly even though both times I started out behind everyone I won both games.They were playing each roll to get the most points possible where as I was playing to observe them and just get a few points on the board each roll. I noticed as we were playing we were conversing both about the game but then also helping each other quickly add up the total points. This would be a great game for children any where from age 4 and up to practice their math skills in a fun way.