The Gates Foundation released a report today surveying teachers and students on the kinds of digital tools they’d like to see available in classrooms.
In the classroom, fiero — excitement that gamers experience when they overcome challenges — makes students see that they’re empowered players in their own education. They’re released into the exciting adventure that learning can be. Without the intrinsic motivating power of fiero, however, gamification becomes nothing more than semantic spin: a language game in which a letter-based grade system is replaced by a points-based reward system. In these cases, gamification does little to address the shortcomings of a system that relies on high-stakes testing.
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A Colorado school district is trying to prove to the state that its performance-based assessments of student learning work better than state standardized tests.
Why haven’t education reform efforts amounted to much? Because they start with the wrong problem, says John Abbott, director of the 21st Century Learning Initiative. Overhauling the educational paradigm means replacing the metaphor — the concept of the world and its inhabitants as machine-like entities — that has shaped the education system, as well as many other aspects of our culture.
Beyond increasing the amount of information that students can access, the new abundant economy of information has far greater implications. It represents both a shift in the way that future classrooms will operate as well as in the student behaviors that we will value and expect.
If we know that X does Y when Z, is it possible that A does Y when Z, too? That’s often how innovations get their start, in the lab and elsewhere: by taking a familiar starting point and using it as a launch pad to explore new territory.
Parenting these days is patrolled by the language police. Sometimes it seems like the worst thing you could ever say to a kid is “Good job!” or the dreaded, “Good girl!” Widely popularized psychological research warns about the “inverse power of praise” and the importance of “unconditional parenting.” What are these researchers really getting at? Are the particular words we use to talk to our kids so important? And how do we convey positive feelings without negative consequences?
When you want to improve your physical health, you don’t have to eat one specific type of food or exercise in a specific way. Rather, you need an appropriate mix of healthy foods and exercise — no one thing is required. Different types of exercise and foods are in some sense interchangeable. What matters is that you get the appropriate dose. Could this common idea from health translate into the world of education?
Web-based games can prove to be a treasure trove of learning opportunities, and there are a variety of content-areas, age ranges, and skill levels to choose from. The true pay dirt for browser-based learning games can be found on large online digital game hubs. Here are 10 game hubs players that teachers can use to as one tool in their arsenal.
The real fear among those who study kids and handwriting is not that our schools will stop teaching cursive; it’s that students aren’t writing enough.
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindsets has dominated much of the attention around how students can influence their own learning. But there are other ways to help students tap into their own motivation, too. Here are a few other important mindsets to consider.