Ramblings about Education


This games brings back pleasant memories for me but my husband has a different point of view (yep that picture on Facebook with the table turned over and game pieces everywhere….. that was his house). This is fascinating to me only in the sense of how impactful those early experiences are for children. When we make game play enjoyable (yes they need to loose sometimes) then the children learn social ques and also have to control emotions. I should also mention that this is a great way to encourage determination in a child. Help them to understand that the more they play the better they will get the better chance they will have of winning. *Though my husband started off well, with getting double several times and buying up a bunch of property, he ended up in jail a couple of times combined with having to pay high rent several times thus leading to he lose of cash. My son ended up as the winner, with several tram stops on his properties.*

Monopoly is great for a variety of different reasons.

  1. There are a clear set of rules (and most people have played the game at least once in their life)
  2. The rules can be modified as the players see fit – Go to jail – role snake eyes and you are free for the rest of the game. If you can’t pay the rent you can not move for 2 turns. etc
  3. There is a wide variety of different themes. We have regular (40+ years old), newer version, Newton, NJ, and Simpsons. (I am hoping to add the Nightmare Before Christmas one soon)
  4. The board and pieces are mobile (we played after dinner on Sunday). But we tried to play when on a trip in the motor home years ago. One would need a magnetic board other wise things move around too much.
  5. The game comes in different formats so you can play by yourself (computer/tablet/phone/portable game) or you can play with as many people as you have game pieces for.
  6. Learning experiences abound for this game: math, strategies, problem solving, persuasion, basic social interactions, turn taking, reading, and more. This game is great for learning basic math of addition and subtraction.
  7. It can be used in a 40 minute classroom time frame for learning experiences and once the basics of the game are learned they can be changed to meet the learning needs of the students and course outcomes (http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/glpc_gamesforadigitalage1.pdf)

Games – Curious

Having a history background I have always been interested in how games have both changed and stayed the same over the millennials. In some ways it reminds me of the evolution of music. There have been changes but the roots remain the same. To communicate, interact with others, and hone in our expertise. I enjoy learning about games that were popular hundreds of years ago that are being resurrected. The Shut the Box game that sailors use to play is a great example of how people understood that games helped them to pass the time more quickly and entertain themselves (not to mention maybe put a couple more coins in their pockets).

Inte 5320 – Game Carcassonne

There were two choices for games this week. Both were new to me and in a genre that I had not done before. I played it online first. Wow, that was challenging because the website did not fully explain the game. I was putting pieces in just random areas and not understanding the points system. I played for about 30 minutes and over that time started to glean what the game was about. Thank goodness the actual game with instructions arrived a couple of days later. After reading the instructions it was much easier to play the game both with my family and online. Though I have to say, when playing a board game that is different from other board games that I have played, it is much easier for me to have the actual game. I won a few and lost a few which is the point of a game. To encourage repetition with the hopes of winning. Also to encourage those critical thinking skills which leads to better placement of tiles in order to earn the maximum amount of points. Interesting twist in this game is that people can share points – thus it brings in the prisoners dilemma regarding –  do I try to take it all and then get nothing or share and be safe. 1 big detraction is that it can take up a lot of space on a table depending on how people place their tiles. Reminds me somewhat of dominoes.

6720 Sept – 4

The gamification of Education.

Published by the Futurist September- October 2011

by Aaron M cohen

Why online social games may be poised to replace textbooks in schools.

  1. CMU online library
  2. This gives another view regarding how education and gamification can fit together
  3. There are no question this is an article
  4. The objective is to understand supporting research behind the idea of gamification in education
  5. na
  6. na
  7. na
  8. It was not confusion as much as the brief comment regarding getting students to stop playing

The main draw for this article was that it listed different references that I have seen in other places. Getting different perspectives on the same research helps one to interpret the resources better. This author strongly supports the idea that online social gaming in the future will be the tool of choice in many classrooms. The focus of this article was on young children (which is a focus of mine). How children learn when they are young is how they will enjoy learning when their are older.

This article discussed how professional training situations are already using games to replace lectures and presentations. This is an interactive way to draw employees into being excited about training opportunities. The author also discussed Thomas and Browns book, A new culture of learning, regarding the three aspects that are important to learning: curiosity, imagination, and a sense of play. These aspects are missing in traditional text book/lecture based learning experiences.

This article also mentioned the Quest2Learn charter school in New York, which was mentioned in the other article that I read earlier. The quote listed in the article was ‘a school that uses what researchers and educators know about how children learn and the principles of game design to create highly immersive, game-like learning experience in the classroom’. This view aligns with other research regarding how having an immersive interactive experience helps to deepen learning experiences and help the learner to enjoy educating themselves.

Interestingly it was noted that some subject were easier to gamify thane other. Science and math were at the top of the list. This surprised me as I would think that withe all the civilization creation games that History would be right up at the top as well.

The article brought up the downside of gamification, which is important to recognize as well. Student addition to gaming and playing for hours on end has been indicated in previous research as having the opposite affect on contextual learning. The author makes a suggestion that it would be an option for the characters in the game to ask for a break which would force the player to turn off the game thus giving them time to do something else. Including process the information they were seeking from the game.

6720 Sept – 3

The effect of gaming approach on learning in basic microbiology education: a pilot study.

Z karahan, A Kosan, M Demiroren. 2014

  1. found at CMU online library
  2. gaming in relation to context
  3. to see if gaming helped with context knowledge
  4. same
  5. This research was more longitudinal then the one that I will be completing as it was done over 16 weeks. Compared to my one time survey
  6. Data was collected during a text right after the context was taught then again 2 months later. There were 2 groups. Control (standard lecture), Sample (with gaming)
  7. There were 4 tables provided. Test results, Student direct reflection of the teaching methods. Student opinion of the learning process. Student perceptions about the learning environment. Each provided detail via Mean scores.
  8. Some discussion about biology was not familiar but the rest was clear.

The researchers were investigating the effect of replacing lecture with game experiences in a microbiology course at a college level. Freshman students participated in this study where the researcher analyzed the students perception of their own learning. The researchers used pre, post, and retention test along with the student questionnaires. Interestingly  the was not a significant difference in the terms of the means of the post test and retention test scores. There were significant differences regarding students views of the effect of the teaching methods between lecture, learning process, and gaming.

For the purpose of this research the researchers defined their view of games as: a competitive environment in order to fulfill a specific aim under previously defined rules during which they evaluate the activities critically. Adult learning was also discussed as being different from that of public school age children. Adult learners were considered to hold in higher importance self motivation and the need for self-directing learning process. (As an early childhood education I disagree with this because young children can and do complete and value the same tasks. The point being that our current school structure discourages child directed and guided learning)

The groups were divided up randomly but it was noted after the research that there was no significant difference between the the prior knowledge based on coursework taken in high school. Though this is still a concern form me regarding reliability as taking a course for each person is different and they did not all attend the same course in high school.

Table 1 indicated that there was not significant difference regarding test scores between those who used games and those who did not. Table 2, 3 and 4 did show a significant different regarding the students views of learning.

  1. An effective way of learning –  control group 3.86 compared to the study group of 4.83
  2. It improves reasoning skills – control group 3.57 compared to the study group of 4.92
  3. The purpose of the lesson was obvious – control group 3.78 compared to the study group of 4.83
  4. The lesson was well organized – control group 3.86 compared to the study group of 4.83
  5. Meaningful – control group 4.00 compared to the study group of 4.83
  6. Entertaining – control group 3.71 compared to the study group of 4.92

The highest mean score for the control group was for the meaningful definition and for the study group it was motivating, entertaining, dynamic.

Sept 6720 – 2

Popularity of Gamification in the Mobile and Social Era. Focus Game vs Gamification.

Published in Library Technology Reports February/march 2015 by Kim Bohyun

This article focuses on the research that  regarding the leveraging of gamification by companies to engage consumers and clients with both games and incentives for promoting, marketing, engagement, and customer loyalty. There have been over 350 companies involve in gamification projects since 2010. The current research is suggesting that this surge is taking place in reaction to the increase in mobile technology (2013 State of Online Gaming Report by Spil Games).

The word gamification was original coined by N. Pelling in 2002 but did not start to catch on until 2010. To clarify: gamification is not the creation of a game but instead transferring some of the positive context/attributes of come game into something that is not a game and is used for contextual learning in different subject areas. Example would be using the game World Of War Craft within a math class to discuss strategies for points value and trading. Teachers are finding ways to use a variety of different multi player online games to encourage a deeper understanding of specific context. Think about how history comes alive when playing Civilizations type game.

For the focus of this article the author used Foresquare and Waze. Both of these have mobile apps which allows for great diversity and exploration. Waze is a Global Positioning System app. It gives you driving direction and also tips from other participants when you are passing or stopping at different locations. This encourages the user to also participate by leaving their feedback.

The author discussed the adoption of gamification by Quest2learn charter school in New York City. The school is currently working towards gamifying the entire school. They use games as the rule -based learning system. The context is built into the system as characters are explorers, mathematicians, historians, writers, and biologists. Students use strategic thinking to make choices, solve complex problems, seek content knowledge, and consider others point of view. The schools choice is supported by a 2012 Higher Education report indicating that game-based learning would be increasingly wide spread over the next few years. Specifically in higher education. This schools choice will help prepare students for this trend.

Even with all of the benefits there are some draw backs. These include but are not limited to: economic hardship (students can not afford mobile devices) and lack of internet service.

This article give me a variety of different resources that I can look up as I move deeper into the research regarding games in context.

Sept 6720

  1. Found at CMU library resources
  2. Related – general gaming. specific types of games and outcomes
  3. Gamers and non gamers critical thinking and relationship of critical thinking disposition to gaming context
  4. Same
  5. Small limited base group
  6. Data from survey
  7. yes. 2 tables. 1 to define genre of games. 2nd to show percentages of participants
  8. No

Gamers and gaming context: relationships to critical thinking. S Gerber and L Scott

The United States Department of Education has outlined several 21st Century skills that students should attain while attending public school that should transfer over to higher education. One of the focuses of these skills is the skill of critical thinking. Current general belief is that people who participate in a variety of different gaming activities online have higher critical thinking skills compared to their counter parts who only participate in standard lecture type classrooms. The focus of this study was to examine within a small group of participants if that was true.

They based the tables and game genre on J. P. Gee’s research, What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy (2003). Outlining ten different types of gaming genres that they would be investigating: adventure, fighter, 1st person shooter, music, platformer, puzzle, racing, role play, simulations, sports, and strategy. Each type was given a brief discription that they would use as a guideline because the guidelines for gaming types fluctuate.

The first area of investigation was the differences between gamers and non-gamers on crital thinking dispostions. They wanted to find out if there was a significant difference. The second area of investigation was to examine the relationship of critial thinking dispositions to gaming context. This included game genre, daily playing time, and connection to gaming community.

A total of 121 individuals replied. 79 gamers and 42 non gamers, to the survey. Gender response was about equal with 46% being male and of that percentage 78% were gamers. This reflects the data from other studies indicating that males within the age range of most college students are most likely to be gamers. 33% played games up to 2 hours daily. Only 19% played more than 4 hours daily.

Based on the results of the first set of survey questions completed by the participants on themselves, there was no significant difference regarding critical thinking dispositions. This result disagrees with current literature. The second set of survey questions resulted in data that supported current research. Those participants playing daily under 2 hours scored higher then those who were playing 4 or more hours per day.

The division between the different types of games were: Role Play 73%, 1st person shooter – 71%, Strategy – 58%, Adventure 56%, Music 53%. The remaining six games were all below 50% participating with sports games ranking last.

Though this research did not support the idea that gamers have higher critical thinking skills it did support other research regarding the relationship between playing games and critical thinking when context knowledge is included in the gaming component.

INTE 6720

The Merri-Weathers represent the spectrum of online teachers. Tammie ‘Vail’, an early childhood instructor at Colorado Mesa University, designs both online and on-site courses. Jennifer works with K12 as an online instructor, and Alicia is a wanna-be designer/instructor of online higher ed courses. Our mutual interests lie in the variety of components that make up great online learning experiences for our students.

Do elearning designs that focus on creativity increase learner motivation?


Traditionally, instructors design class assignments around pre-determined themes, structure and formats leaving little opportunity for creative expression. With the surplus of multi-media design apps now available, educators might develop assignments that allow students to take a more autonomous and creative means to show understanding. Does this type of design tap into the elusive motivation of the learner?

Problem Statement

Stimulating student motivation to participate in learning has consistently taxed instructors from all educational settings.


  • K-12 and Higher Ed. online instructors
  • K-12 online students
  • University distance learners


  • Individual student surveys
  • Teacher observation surveys


Ultimately, the results might offer insights into what motivates learners thereby improving instructional designs in a variety of ‘classroom’ settings.

Does social media inclusion in assignments help students to connect and learn more than traditional online classrooms?


Traditionally, online classrooms are self-contained. Students must learn to navigate them but once the course is completed they do not have access to information that was shared within the classroom. Currently the majority of students use social media to connect and keep up with current trends on a daily basis. Can including this type of interaction, which will continue to be available after the course ends, help students learn and retain more?

Problem Statement

Students lose access to other students and the shared information after the course ends..


  • Higher Ed. online instructors
  • Higher Ed.  online students
  • University distance learners (in our class)


  • Individual student surveys
  • Teacher observation surveys


The goal is to identify if it is worth it for instructors to include a variety of different social media into their course to engage the learner and give them resources that they can use later on..

How does the structure of an online game affect learning?


Some games used in the classroom are prefaced as fun while others are prefaced as educational. Most games used in the education field are meant to teach the students about a concept or idea. Teachers often present the games as educational and students seem to immediately disengage from it. Perhaps if teachers prefaced the game as a reward or just for fun game the students would be more motivated and actually learn more from it.

Problem Statement

Students learn more from games perceived as “fun” rather than games perceived as “educational.


  • K-12 and Higher Ed. online instructors
  • K-12 online students
  • University distance learners


  • Individual student surveys
  • Teacher observation surveys


Ultimately, the results might offer insights into what types of games help students learn more about any given subject.

Thought Leadership

Here is the reality that we live in…. The world is looking for creative innovative thinkers, yet the school system continues to be driven to make every student think and problem solve in the same way. Example  Recently a friend told me about how their child was failing math…… Not because he could not solve the a problem correctly BUT because he was not solving it in the exact same manner with the same number of steps as the teacher.


Just read an interesting article about research that showed a link between the design of a playground and how much time teachers spent outside and whether they enjoyed it. If the playground was more like a natural environment or English garden teachers were more likely to take the class outside for free play and lessons. It was also noted that there was less behavior issues. Food for thought!