I use to think....
When it came to games and simulations, I used to think that games where just what others did to “waste time,” I was wrong! I knew simulations could be of value to education but had not an idea of the role that games can play in that venue. My extent of gaming was board games that we had a cabinet full of that we broke out on Tuesday or Saturday nights for family fun. The funny thing about it was I could not imagine it becoming a part of my pedagogy for teaching. My children came along in the video game era and they had every early video game that was available for young children. I spent lots of funds on making sure they had the new hot game or system that was on the market. So all my children enjoy and spend their expendable adult funds on their enjoyment with playing video games. My youngest son even participates in national competitions and attend conferences. They have had handheld systems as well as console systems. They have played on the computer, their phones and portable devices. I on the other hand played none.
Now I think....
What has this class done for me was open up my mind and educate me on the value of games and how they can impact learning. Not only for children but adults of any age. It has taught me a clear understanding of what is meant by “play” and why it is so important in a cultured society. I have broadened my horizon and appreciation of what games and simulations can do to add to and enrich the learning experience. Because of this class, I have read articles by: Jenkins (20ll), Gee (2011), Read (2011), McLeod (2012), Warren, et al. (2011), Dondlinger (2011), Aarseth (2001), McClarty (2012), Clark (2009), Rosa (2003), Crawford (1997), Rieber (1998), Schein (1993), and Clark (1987). These are a small sampling of the articles I have read and Youtube videos that I have watched along with the introduction to the video gaming itself. Some articles where assigned others where read out of personal research and need to know. I have tried to play the following games: Game Star Mechanic, The Sims, World of War, Spiderman PS4, Mario, Zelda, Minion Rush, Warcraft, and Candy Crush. You can see my samplings are broad and varied. The instructor suggested, and others out of curiosity. I have found the value in gaming for people of my age bracket, senior citizens, as a tool for increasing cognitive skills. Who would have guessed? Surely not I, but am so glad I have discovered it. It has set me on a quest to see how many others are missing this vital tool to ward off Alzheimer's disease and help keep the mind and body alert. The benefits far outweigh any negative comment that is generated against the joys and fun of gaming. A TED Talk by McGonigal “Gaming can make a better world;” shows how gaming can increase world peace by teaching us to urgent optimism, social fabric, blissful productivity, and epic meanings. It can super-empower us and help develop a hopeful individual. That’s a powerful tool if it can do all of that.
So where does it bring me today? I’ve learned that games are an integral part of how we learn, and they help us to stick with the learning until we master the task. It helps us to focus our attention on a task until we can get it done or master it. It helps to release good natural endorphins. If we can find the Magic Circle of a game and get into the Flow of the game success would be ours.
Games and simulations can help us teach many different types of learners and pull in the slow or non -responsive learner. It is the educational tool that can be used in many ways, to teach, to reinforce, to review, to engage. Also, I have gained a new appreciation of what it takes to create and develop a game or simulation in order to bring it to market. Untold man hours of testing, improving, and re-evaluating how the game works must be done. It’s not something that is done in a matter of days or even weeks. A good game will take years to develop before it can go to market. Computer games have many lines of code to create the graphics and the way the player can move through the game. What I have discovered is the abundance of research that has been done in the last ten years pertaining to games and its value to helping us learn. The book we used to help instruct us on the value and principles of games by Salen and Zimmerman opened a new understanding of games’ history and its impact on current times and learning.
I realized that this is a part of my social skills that have been lacking and I am enjoying taking advantage to learn and perfect the skills needed to game. It’s work; but fun! That’s what it should be.
Aarseth, E. (2001). Computer game studies, year one. The International Journal of Computer Game Research.
Clark, A. C., & Ernst, J. (2009). Gaming research for technology education. Journal of STEM Education, 25-30.
Crawford, C., & Peabody, S. (2000). The Art of Computer Game Design. Vancouver.
Dondlinger, M. J., & Wilson, D. A. (2012). Creating an alternate reality: Critical, creative, and empathic thinking generated in the Global Village Playground capston experience. Journal of Thinking Skills and Creativity, 153-164.
Gee, J. P. (2011, March 23). How learners can be on top of their game: An interview with James Paul Gee. (H. Jenkins, Interviewer)
McClarty, K. L., Orr, A., & Frey, P. M. (2012). A literature review of gaming in education. Pearson.
McLeod, J., Vasinda, S., & Dondlinger, M. (2012). Conceptual visibility and virtual dynamics in technology-scaffolded learning environments for conceptural knowledge of mathematics. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 283-310.
Read, J. L., & Stephen, M. S. (2011, April 27). Interactice games to promote behavior change in prevention and treatment. JAMA, p. 2011.
Rieber, L., Smith, L., & Noah, D. (2018, August 28). The value of serious play. Retrieved from Educational Technology Publications, Inc.: https://www.jstor.org/stable/44428195
Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E. (2004). Rules of play: Games design fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Video games may not be the solution to educational problems, but they are an excellent tool to help educate and train young minds. This week’s readings the authors, Salen and Zimmerman, (Salen & Zimmerman, 2004) discussed in chapters 11, 12, and 13 how the rules of games have an effect on the enjoyment and understanding of how they function. A detailed analysis of some popular games gave insight into how the rules and strategy of the game help the players understand the goals and outcomes when playing. Rules help create the structure of the game. The rules are the component that makes it a game. Without rules, the game has no structure. They define games as being separate from real-world which separated them from ordinary life. Listed in Chapter 11 where the six characteristics that distinguish a game.
The video TEDTalk with McGonigal contained information that gave a deeper perception of how the act of playing games can add to the coping skills of society. Since gaming beyond board games is so new to me, there were many perceptions that I had not given any thought of the impact that playing video games can have on individual growth, coping and learning skills. I checked out two YouTube videos that gave additional insight into the challenges that games provide for the young mind: Games for Change 2018 Festival (https://youtu.be/1O8F2GgrfU4) and #GameOn-88 Seconds of Video Games (https://youtu.be/pWZtbfBGjIg). Both of these videos added some insight on how involved and wide-spread this arena of learning has grown in the last twenty years. Out of this growth, there are two really good educator resources that I found: Digital Games Handbook for Teachers by Patrick Felicia, Guide to Digital Games & Learning by J. Shapiro Game Educator’s Handbook by they were loaded in information that would be helpful to any educator. Both of these sources would be helpful in the planning of incorporating digital games into the learning environment and adding additional pedagogy to the experience.
Several strategies (Fradkin, 2017) that I found during my search that can help to integrate games into any learning experience were:
Allow students to name their teams;
Let them create a storyline to accompany why they are on a particular quest;
Build excitement before the games begin;
If it’s a new game that students have never played give them a chance to get familiar with the rules and game pieces within the game. (be it the board or digital);
If it’s a digital game allow them to view the video short of the game.
Computer game playing will enhance spatial skills, so find ways for them to show that they have a clear understanding of that skill by how they play the game and maneuver the components. Allow students to discuss and show their ability to read images, such as pictures and diagrams. Gaming allows teachers freedom of movement while the student is playing to monitor how well they keep track of a lot of different components of the game at the same time. (Gros, 2007)
Review the objectives of the game;
Ask students to answer questions about the game;
Ask students to relate their experiences while playing;
Link the game experience to related learning objectives and real-life experience;
Discuss what they learned while playing the game.
Create pointed questions that answer questions about the scene where the game takes place;
Discuss the goal of the game and identify the main characters and their role in the game;
Have students identify the challenges faced by the main character;
Have students identify what it would take to be successful in this game; what weapons, tools or items the character has use of to pursue their quest; and
Who is the antagonist and protagonist in the game? (Felicia, 2018)
Felicia, P. (2018, September 24). Digital games in schools: A handbook for teachers. Retrieved from Digital Games: http://games.eun.org/upload/gis_handbook_en.pdf
Fradkin, A. (2017, April 3). How to roll out game-based learning and boost engagement--In your classroom. Retrieved from Technology in School: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-04-03-how-to-roll-out-game-based-learning-and-boost-engagement-in-your-classroom
Gros, B. (2007). Digital games in education: The design of games-based learning environments. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 23-38.
Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E. (2004). Rules of play: Games design fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
I’ve chosen to review Spider-Man PS4, produces Insomniac Games. My daughter recently purchased the game, and we have spent the last few nights playing it late into the early morning. Not a good look for getting up the next day for work, but I have found this to be a remarkably well-organized game as far as its design and playability. I did more watching others play than actually playing myself. The views of Manhattan are so realistic its as if you are actually flying over the city yourself with old Spidey. If you have ever been to New York, you can easily identify landmarks and look across the water to see New Jersey. The character’s appearance reminds of the movie Beowulf that was done in CGI (Computer-generated imagery) which was also used in parts of the Hobbit for Gollum, Star Wars for Yoda and the Hulk’s exaggerated muscles in The Hulk. The realism was unsurpassed in any CGI I have ever seen. As I know very little about other superhero games, this one captured me and drew me in as I observed my daughter and her friend manipulate the characters through fight scenes and interactions with other characters in the game. I even tried my hand at the controls. The game system console made a remarkable visual impression with its bright red color with the Spiderman logo on top.The items I focused on, just because of what I have learned recently about games and their development, was the little items around Peter Parker's apartment; the way the street scenes appeared and how smooth the transition from flying through the city to having an active and aggressive fight scene. No stops just a smooth move from one aspect of the game scene to the next aspect of the game.
I’m sure as the game is viewed by more users they may find some weaknesses or disadvantages in how it was designed but as a newbie, I can’t see any. My daughter and her friend describe this game as raising the bar on all other video games, and even with my limited game experience I wholeheartedly agree. Check out reviews from such game reviewers as ScreenRant, IGN, and GamesRadar the commits where all strong and positive. The features of the game are amazing, and every character has their own motivations that are easily identified by the game player. Business Insider list five ways PlayStation 4’s Spider-Man games raise the bar for all other video games. (Smith, 2018)
It was easy for me to identify some of the system interactions in this game even with my limited knowledge of games. I had never heard of “Magic Circle” as it relates to games, but only as it related to crocheting. The authors define the magic circle as it relates to games is where the game takes place. When you play a game, you are entering the “magic circle.” Salen and Zimmerman (2004) described it as a physical component of a game like the game board or the playing field. I definitely felt that way as I played Spider-Man PS4 almost, otherworldly as if I had been transported into in an alternate reality. I definitely felt a lusory attitude as I became more involved in the many ins and outs of the game.
Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E. (2004). Rules of play: Games design fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Smith, D. (2018, September 6). The new Spider-Man game raises the bar for all other video games. Retrieved from Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/spider-man-ps4-review-marvel-playstation-4-2018-9
There are several differences between games and simulations as listed by Gredler (Gredler, 1992) and Sauve, et al (2007) these are the basic attributes of games:
For symbolic simulations the chapter listed two types laboratory research (students function as researchers) and system simulations (they function as trouble shooters to analyze, diagnose and correct operational faults in the system).
While reviewing simulation games such as the Sims and World of Warcraft I found some unique differences that made me enjoy the adventures in WoW a lot more than the situations of the Sims. In WoW I really enjoyed the personification of the animals and the story line. The gaming cinematography was highly engaging. While the characters and images in Sims did not appeal to me on any level and the stories did not interest me. The ability to design your character on this elementary type level did not appeal to me either. As I was researching I would a list of Twelve Types of Computer Games Every Gamer Should Know by Jane Hurst (2015). It helped me with the many acronyms that are used in this arena as well as to better understand the jargon. Here is the list:
I spend several hours researching other games and found that the ones I enjoyed most where those associated with some type of adventure simulation; Sword Art on Line was one and the Legends of Zelda. As a science teacher I know the value of classroom simulations for dissecting and understanding anatomy and physiology. There are many interactive simulations that are sold for science from elementary to college level course work. You can find Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) where students can learn real-world situations where they can drill basic concepts to simulating work in a laboratory setting.
These types of simulations can help students to translate from multiple scenarios, build digitally controlled working models, create chemical reactions, and serve as a vehicle for collaborative learning situations.
Arthur, D., Malone, S., & Nir, O. (2002). Optimal overbooking. The UMAP Journal, 283-300.
Goldenberg, D., Andrusyszyn, M., & Iwasiw, C. (2005). The effect of classroom simulation on nursing students' self-efficacy related to health teaching. Journal of Nursing Education, 310-314.
Gredler, M. E. (1992). Games and simulations and their relationship to learning. In M. E. Gredler, Designing and evaluating games and simulations (pp. 517-581). Kogan Page Ltd.
Sauve, L., Renaud, L., Kaufman, D., & Marquis, J.-S. (2007). Distinguishing between games and simulations: A systematic review. Educational Technology & Society, 247-256.
Shaffer, D. W., Squire, K. B., Halverson, R., & Gee, J. P. (2018, September 11). Video games and the future of learning. Retrieved from http:www.academiccolab.org/resources/gappspaper1.pdf.
How did I feel?
Everything has changed since my initial experience with Gamestar Mechanic. First, I feel a little more confident as I moved through the quests. But since I am not a seasoned gamer each level was a real contest for me in many ways. Becoming familiar with how to play each quests and learning new skills as I moved forward gave me insight on how games can progress and teach. It was a challenge but I have learned to embrace it and not let it intimidate me. After spending a lot of time trying to move through the quests I decided to look up some information on older adults who have gaming experiences.
What did I learn?
Because I have never played very many video games, not even ones on my smart phone, this gaming experience was similar to a babe learning through small baby steps. Each challenge taught me a new usable skill that I could see helping me to conquer learning how to game. Once I stopped fighting with myself and just relaxed the process was most rewarding and enjoyable. My determination now is to find the game that will motivate me to spend many hours learning to maneuver through the varied skill levels. I realized it’s about the journey not the conquest. So that’s what I did. I tried to learn the new skills that were being taught and tried to figure out how they would benefit me later in some other game.
I found out so much information as it related to young learners I decided to see what gaming could do for older learners over the age of 60. I found a Pandora’s Box of information on research studies conducted on older learners. The first article I came across was titled “Video games for elderly people: keep your brain young.” Which was a simple blog about the effects of gaming on helping older senior citizens increase their cognitive skills. The second dealt with the benefits of gaming on older minds called “Games keep you young.” The third was a study done by Jung, et al (Jung, Li, Janissa, Gladys, & Lee, 2009) where their research dealt with the effects of Wii games on older individuals perceptual and cognitive abilities. I read about five different articles that I have listed in my references below and they all helped to convince me that this is definitely something I want to learn and learn well for my own well-being. (Clark, Lanphear, & Riddick, 1987), (Drew & Waters, 1986) (McFadden, Whitman, & Connor, 2016) (Soong, 2018)
Clark, J. E., Lanphear, A. K., & Riddick, C. C. (1987). The effects of videograme playing on the response selection processing of elderly adults. Journal of Gerontology, 82-85.
Drew, B., & Waters, J. (1986). Video games: Utilization of a noval strategy to improve perceptual motor skills and cognitive functioning in the non-institutionalized elderly. Cognitive Rehabilitation, 26-31.
Jung, Y., Li, K., Janissa, N. S., Gladys, W. L., & Lee, K. M. (2009). Games for a better life: Effects of playing Wii games on the well-being of seniors in a long-term care facility. Proceedings of the Sixth Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment. Sydney, Australia: ACM Digital Library.
McFadden, C., Whitman, J., & Connor, T. (2016, February 17). Can brain games keep aging minds young? There's an app for that, says scientists. Retrieved from Today: https://www.today.com/health/can-brain-games-keep-aging-minds-young-there-s-app-t73811
Soong, J. (2018, September 5). Are video games the new fountain of youth? Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/games-to-keep-you-young#1
Reflecting on past experiences with a “meaningful play” required a few deep remembrances. My family often spent long hours playing board games and cards. My specialty was board games, such as scrabble, monopoly, checkers, and dominos. One very bad experience in my high school years was learning a very difficult card game that my mother would not let me quit until I learned how to play. To this day I still am not a favorite of card games.
Later in life, my children became obsessed with playing video games because of their step-father. He would take them to the arcades and spend loads of money on playing arcade games. I hated the cost, but the children loved it. So in the early years of Atari, Nintendo, PacMan, Mario, and later Play Station, they were totally indoctrinated. Much to my dismay, I never seem to get involved on any level. It felt akin to wasting time.
Nevertheless, as they grew and gaming became a part of our culture, they feel right in. Competing in competitions and going to conferences. Never did I see me as wanting to become a part of this culture.
Then, here I am, taking a class on gaming. What an irony! Since beginning this class, I’ve perused some background research efforts to try to get a handle on the world of gaming. Reading one of my favorite research theorist Vygotsky’s take on play and learning and doing additional research on Kurt Lewin’s (Schein, 2003) theories it has given means a deeper understanding of the value of this type of high-level inactive play. While I was not looking gaming has developed into a learning tool for all students, young and old. Just from the brief moments that I spent trying to educate myself on how games motivate and trigger skills of higher-level thinking that I was not aware. The challenge of figuring out the strategies used in the game and then to manipulate the objects to outmaneuver the game was a difficult task. No gaming dexterity. Moving arrows and pressing a key to do two different things simultaneously was next to impossible, but with persistence, it was done. It was very difficult for me to master, and still, the frustration levels were so high I had a tension headache that lasted for hours. I have been reluctant to go back to meet the challenge but I must.
As a child, I played many of the childhood games and pretend characters that most children played and had great fun with all of them. But I never transitioned to the gaming arena. The reading from the National Institute of Play (National Institute of Play, 2018) the section on The Game Design Sequence, Chapter Five, (Crawford & Peabody, 2018) I see there is a lot that can is learned from gaming. Practice is what is needed to help me develop the skills needed to become a gamer that enjoys the challenge of a good game. I have been advised by family members and articles that I have read that if I find the right game, it won’t be a problem for me to be absorbed in the game. That remains to be seen.
Crawford, C., & Peabody, S. (2018, August 29). The Art of Computer Game Design. Retrieved from What is a Game?: https://www.digitpress.com/library/books/book_art_of_computer_game_design.pdf
National Institute of Play. (2018, September 3). National Institue of Play. Retrieved from The Science of Play: http://www.nifplay.org>
Schein, E. H. (2003). Kurt Lewin's change theory in the field and in the classroom: Notes toward a model of managed learning. Semantic Scholar.
This was my first written assignment in ETEC 526 Games and Simulations. It was a bit frightening for no apparent reason I was just nervous about taking it because I knew nothing of games except for board games. This will be a brand new experience for me and I am concerned that it will be over my head and beyond my ability to learn well.
The method of teaching today’s youth using “classical education is no longer seen as adequate preparation for success in life” (McClarty, Orr, & Frey, 2012). These researchers further state that these “taxonomies and frameworks highlight the growing discrepancy between current educational outcomes and the skill sets needed to succeed in the quickly shifting world.” Gee (Gee, 2011) in an interview by Jenkins stated for someone to have an interest something must draw them into the door and to further that interest to some depth they will need to have lots of practice and persistence past failure to go further and develop a passion and a desire to learn more. That’s what games do for learners. It kindles the fire to learn more and to master what Gee calls the “passionate affinity space.” Bill Gates (Gates, 2005) stated: “Training the workforce of tomorrow with the high schools of today is like trying to teach kids about today’s computers on a 50-year-old mainframe.” It is important that future generations are prepared for job markets of tomorrow, and an excellent tool to reach that goal is the use of games.
Gaming draws the learner in and challenges their thinking while developing creativity. Games, as defined by Salen and Zimmerman (2004), is a “system in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.” So many children and young adults engage in these types of challenges for fun and relaxation, but while they are engaging in these activities, there is serious learning on many levels taking place. Games are built on sound learning principles that are taken from the research of such child developmental psychologists as Ginsburg (2007), Bodrova & Leong (2003), Zigler, Singer, & Bishop-Josef (2004). They offer young children an opportunity to play through the use of simulated environments that they can manipulate in some form that serves as an integral part of the learning process. These games teach 21st-century skills that are needed for our rapidly changing global society. They force the participant to think through strategies, formulate methodologies and assess situations to come to a final ending. The use of rewards, bonuses, and graduation to varied levels help to keep them motivated and involved.
The Onion video, a hypothetical scenario was played out as to what video games are teaching our youth if the case of an apocalyptic society where to take place. Are the skills being taught through video game simulations preparing them with life skills that will be transferable in that type of event? Through light-hearted, it brings up some serious thought as to what types of skills that can be transferred to help humanity survive. The broad and varied types of games can answer that question easily. Games are created with real-life situations that must be addressed and solved before moving into a higher more skilled player level. These levels give the gamer an opportunity to bring in other prior knowledge that helps to develop and increase their metacognitive knowledge. (Vygotsky, 2006)
What learning can happen from playing games?
According to current research, the application of games can encourage—or require—students to apply deeper levels of knowledge and skills (Bloom, Englehart, & Furst, 1956). It can tap into students’ recall, or basic demonstration of skills, games, and simulations can present students with more authentic environments to demonstrate strategic and critical thinkings according to McClarty’s report (McClarty, Orr, & Frey, 2012). In Clark and Ernst’s article on Gaming Research for Technology Education base on the current popularity of gaming, it is believed that gaming possesses qualities that can be used to motivate struggling students in danger of dropping out of school (2009). In Hitchcock's study, he concluded that computer-based simulation/gaming instruction increased motivation, attention, and retention of learning (2000). The survey that corresponded to this study showed that gaming could be a useful tool for gaining and maintaining student interest in all areas of STEM education.
In conjunction with the video from the New Learning Institute by Constance Steinkuehle, her response to this learning phenomenon was that teachers should think of learners as a community of individuals vested in learning and accomplishing a unified goal that would empower them to be in control of their level of learning. The nature of this style of learning helps students to press deeper and to learn more based on their interest. There is still a need for direction by the educator, but it should be limited without excessive instruction. She foster’s the direct hands-on method that is decided by the student's interest levels.
Bloom, B. S., Englehart, M. D., & Furst, E. J. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: the Classification of Educational goal: Handbook 1 Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Company.
Bodrova, E., & Leong, D. J. (2003). The importance of being playful. Educational Leadership, 50-53.
Clark, A. C., & Ernst, J. (2009). Gaming Research for Technology Education. Journal of STEM Education, 18, 25-30.
Gates, B. (2005, February 26). National Education Summit on High Schools. Retrieved from http://www.admin.mtu.edu/ctlfd/Ed%20Psych%20Readings/BillGates.pdf
Gee, J. P. (2011, March 23). How learners can be on top of their game: An interview with James Paul Gee. (H. Jenkins, Interviewer)
Ginsburg, K. R. (2007). The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics, 119, 182-191.
Hitchcok, A. A. (2000). Improving learning retention of knowledge, and attitude of students in a vocational-technical college through interactive computer technology. Fort Lauderdale-Davie, FL: Unpublished practicum paper, NOVA Southeastern University.
I recently completed a class on Content Literacy and in the process I have gained new knowledge that I want share as to why I am maintaining this site. Also, what new things that I have learned about myself and why I am pursuing this level of education.
Below are a set of thought provoking questions that I had to answer and realized I needed to share where I have grown. These questions were the result of my having to explain why I wanted to do this site and where I wanted it to take me as I grow more computer literate.
After viewing the video Shift Happens it gave me a real fright about the coming future of technology in our country and our readiness for it. America wants to be known as the technology leader, but it is obvious that we will not hold that title at all in the coming decades. We will be left behind by other countries that have been often thought of as third-world or possible up and coming competitors. This video removes the thought that such countries as China and India will not be behind us, but they will have far surpassed us as technological leaders.
In the academic report by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows how other countries are excelling far ahead of the United States. Of 71 countries whose 15 year old students are tested in reading, math and science literacy every three years the U.S. ranks 38th. (Programme for International Student Assessment, 2016) I reviewed all of the previous videos from 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2012 and found that the U.S. in each video was depicted as further and further behind. What can we do as a country, a nation in order to compete with these types of staggering numbers? Our solution is definitely educating our youth to be worthy to earn the jobs of the future that have not been created or developed yet. But we also want them to be sources for developing and creating these future positions.
Our task as a nation is to get our children “ready to man the technology ship” and train them to be able-bodied members of a forward moving society that can compete in the 21st Century. Our tools will be a strong information literacy skill set. The blueprint from the Information Literacy article is only a small piece of what needs to be done to obtain this goal. Everyone must be involved in the literacy training of our youth. It is not just left up to the classroom teacher, college professor, the parent or any outside source. It is a “whole village” task that must be met in order to prepare our children. Without training students will lack the skills needed to evaluate the information that is thrown in their direction. This is liken to putting them in a boat without a paddle.
Following the CRAAP test for evaluating the information sources will be a vital tool to help them make meaningful decisions. These decisions about the printed text that they must filter though to understand what is really being said will be crucial for developing their cognitive skills. Using technology to help our students understand the information that is littered across the information highway is going to be a major task. I remember when my school was trying to teach students how to filter through propaganda that was written in advertisements and in newspapers; it was a difficult task. Even today, far too many students believe if it’s on the internet it must be true. We must train them to have an epistemic eye when reading and reviewing information from the many media sources. One of the A’s in CRAAP stood for accuracy where you are looking to identify if the information is reliable, truthful, and correct.
My task as an educator is to help each student to develop their metacognitive skills so that they can be productive thinkers who review information deeper than just looking at its face value. Use proper reading analysis skills to dissect any digital data that they come in across. Teaching them good reading skills and developing highly competent technological skills will help them to be more productive as they move in and out of the rapidly changing technology. In R. J. Draper’s (Re) Imaging Content-Area Literacy Instruction (Draper, 2010) he describes the importance of developing metacognitive skills in young readers and the value of training students in its use.
As I reviewed the list from the Common Sense Media it amused me because I have looked at least 90% of the shows listed and loved them all. Several of the more recent shows of the last five years I have not seen only because my interest in television changed as I grew older. But this goes back to the statement made earlier about children being able to analyze what they are viewing and reading. This is a skill that has to be taught and it’s the job of educators to make sure children have that skill. The role of the media has had a profound effect on how children learn since the development of movies and television. Television can be a powerful teacher as reported by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)’s, which recently noted that it can be a positive or negative influence on the young mind. (Canadian Pediatrics Society, May-June 2003) Using today’s storehouse of technology can help them develop the skills necessary for analyzing and preparing their minds for tomorrow.
As I look around at today’s workforce I see technology’s hand in every aspect of our society. From the simplest task to the most skilled. It is not enough that a developing adult can say they’ve seen this technology or that technology; but, can they manipulate it, use it, and stretch its capabilities? All of these aspects are important to say they are knowledgeable and capable of using the tool.
Since I have started this technology journey, I have improved so many of my skills and have developed totally new ones has been astonishing to me. I have touched on digital data and tools that I would have never thought to be of any value to me at this stage of my life. I was drastically wrong and don’t mind admitting my ignorance, because I am doing something about making meaningful changes. I am putting my hands on the technology and dare to learn and use it myself.
Has my philosophy changed? Yes, it has more resolve to learn this than when I began. I am starting so far behind my younger educators, but I am running to catch up as fast as these old legs can carry me. My hope is that I can get other older educators to join in and educate themselves as well. Accept no excuses; you can learn this and get to be ‘silver surfers’ of the new technology.
References Canadian Pediatrics Society. (May-June 2003). Impact of Media Use on Children and Youth. Pediatics & Child Health, 301-06.
Draper, R. J. (2010). (Re) Imagining Content-Area Literacy Instruction. New York: Teachers College Press.
Programme for International Student Assessment. (2016). PISA Annual report. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical-Share Alike 3.0 IGO.
Nona M. Batiste is a forty-year experienced public school teacher who has taught in both New Orleans Public Schools and Dallas Independent School District. She holds a B.S. in Education from Southern University of Baton Rouge, LA and a Master of Science Teaching (MST) from Loyola University of New Orleans, LA. Ms. Batiste has taught Environmental Science and General Science to middle school and high school students. She has been active in both school districts as a master teacher and workshop presenter.