When I was working on our Design Assignment we looked at different things we could use. At some point we found Textadventures.co.uk. I made an account and found out it’s actually really cool and very useful!
Basically the site gives you the option to create and play text adventure stories.
You can design everything you can think of. There are so many possibilities it would take hours and hours of investigation and simply trying the site to find all the features.
I myself have tried a lot of different stories. The fun part is that they are actually made by other users. So you don’t need to get certificates, you can just sit behind your pc and work on your own stories. You can make it as detailed and neat as you want.
The cool thing about this site is the huge amount of great features. For example you can make a story with choices. Meaning you can assign answers to get recognised by the site to determine what your next screen will be. A simple example would be “You have reached the crossroads, do you turn left or right?” And have the pupils either type “left” or “right” into the chat box. According to what answer was given the on screen text will differ.
Another great feature is the possibility to use fragments and links. This makes it very easy to let pupils watch something and give additional tasks beforehand or afterwards. This way you can make the lesson very interactive without having to worry about the pace. Every pupil can just work in their own pace and progress through the digital story while watching the materials.
Something else that’s cool is the fact that there is an actual app that goes with the website. So if you do not have access to a pc you can always just download the app so you can use your phone or tablet.
Textadventures is completely free. You only have to make an account by signing up and you’re ready to go! The site is organised into categories so you can choose what type of activity you want to do.
I am definitely going to use this during my next lessons!
What is it?
It’s a new trend! A new way of teaching and above all a big step forward! Why not incorporate the very thing teachers seem to fear? A lot of teachers complain about pupils being addicted to games. Not just on their desktops but also on their tablets/Ipads and even their phones. Can you really blame them? School is made out to be boring and games are supposed to be fun. It has already been proven pupils are no good at making long term decisions. So the questions: “Do I make my homework?” and “Do I study for that test I have next week?” or “Do I play a nice video game (with my friends)?” Aren’t very hard to answer for most pupils. For years it has been a problem that a lot of teachers and parents have struggled with but now a solution seems to have been found: why not implement game aspects in your lessons? It’s a big succes!
Can we use it in our classroom?
Yes we can! Studies have shown that certain game aspects motivate students to do more work and work harder in general. There is a wide range of possibilities. For starters you would have to think about what type of game you want to use. A simple Kahoot! quiz may seem nice at first but apart from a lot of fun and laughter, what do pupils really gain? Mr van Geffen has made a very handy, compact guide on how to set up lessons in his “Gids voor Gamification”. It’s an all-in-one guide. He starts by explaining what this new hype is and later on goes down into detail on how to set up lessons, or even whole courses based on the ideas of Gamification. There are so many advantages gamification has to offer over the old method of teaching from a book!
What are the advantages over traditional teaching/learning?
So what are those so called advantages?
- It’s very accessible. Many schools have even adopted the new Ipad class idea. Every pupil either has a laptop or an Ipad/Tablet to work on. This makes gamification perfect! They will always BTOD!
- Pupils feel as though you connect with their world. They like using technology because it is such a big part of their lives already. It’ll be like second nature to them.
- Pupils will be very motivated. Just take a second to think about all the different ways of motivating them. Give them badges when they successfully complete tasks, maybe give them perks so they can show them off to their fellow students.
- A bit of competition is good! They will work harder and achieve things they didn’t think possible at first. Give them a timer, make them compete against each other, have them race to the finish, award a price to the winner.
- It’s very easy to keep track of their progress. Most programs have a built in section in which you can analyse all the data.
- Pupils won’t see it as boring work. They will actively work to get better while having fun as well.
- Pupils will develop their skills without realizing. They don’t have to grind word lists or repeat the same exercises over and over to understand the grammar. But once they reach the test and their mark will be higher, they will have this very precious moment of personal achievement!
- Rewards! You can make this as big or small as you want. I previously mentioned giving them badges for completing tasks. You can also give them a mark, a real prize (which they can touch), a big compliment in-game, points to level up.. There are so many possibilities!
What do you need to keep in mind?
Games are all fun and games (see what I did there…?) until they start taking over. Enthusiasm should be rewarded but the teacher needs to keep an eye out for pupils that take it too far. Maybe they can’t help it but they get so competitive they turn into mean trolls? (deliberately making fun of people, maybe even in a hurtful way) Or maybe they can’t stop themselves from playing these games all the time and other subjects suffer?
There is a lot of potential! But like always you need to give students a very clear structure and guidelines on what to do, and what not to do.
What do I think about it?
I love games! Not just digital ones… There are so many good things games have to offer in education. I would gladly incorporate games in my lessons. I wouldn’t let them take over my lessons, and I wouldn’t want to work without courseware, but games can motivate students to pay attention just a little longer, or they pick up just that bit of extra information.
After last week’s lesson I decided it would be a good idea to spend this blog on the different models that are used within TELL. Not just to give my readers a good understanding of the terminology but also to help myself study and understand these models.
Model 1: The TPACK Model
Shulman first came up with the PCK model when he wanted to find a way to integrate language and teaching. Nowadays that model would be outdated so a new part was added called Technology. Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge determines what kinds of knowledge aspects teachers need to have to successfully use technology inside the classroom.
The three circles are the main knowledge bases called Technological, Content and Pedagogical knowledge. These circles are slightly interwoven to show that most things are connected in this model. A lot of important knowledge is hidden in the intersections of this model. The ultimate goal is to reach the middle so you are in the TPACK area.
CK -> Content Knowledge: Teacher’s knowledge about the subject matter to be learned or taught.
PK -> Pedagogical knowledge: Teacher’s deep knowledge about the processes and practices or methods of teaching and learning.
TK -> Technology knowledge: Knowledge about certain ways of thinking about, and working with technology, tools and resources.
PCK -> Pedagogical Content Knowledge: knowledge that is applicable to the teaching of specific content.
TCK -> Technological Content Knowledge: An understanding of the manner in which teachnology and content influence and constrain one another.
TPK -> Technological Pedagogica Knowledge: An understanding of how teaching and learning can chnge when particular technologies are used in particular ways
TPACK -> Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: Underlying truly meaningful and deeply skilled teaching with technology.
Basically this model describes all the aspects of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Not everything has the complete TPACK package.
Model 2: The SAMR model
The SAMR model is about the different levels of technology use. It’s not a ladder that you have to climb but it states the different types of technology integration in class.
Dr Ruben Puentedura came up with this model to make it easier for teachers to integrate technology in their learning experiences. Substitution and Augmentation are mainly about enhancing the materials that are already in use. While Modification and Redefinition are about transforming materials so that the use of technology and it’s usefulness is maximized.
Model 3: Digital Literacies
In the whole world people acknowledge the importance of the upcoming digital literacies. Special subjects have been developed and are taught about them. Nowadays it’s important to know how to use these new abilities as effectively as possible. It’s not just about knowing what the digital literacies are, but to be able to use them in an advanced way. You need to be up to date.
I will be keeping a blog for the purpose of showing handy apps and websites I have found during the TELL lesson series. In every post I will comment on them using my personal opinion. I will also try to incorporate lots of unnecessary puns and other horrible TELL jokes which will have probably been used before, a lot of times, like, a lot.
So my first idea was Kahoot! which lasted exactly until the teacher said Kahoot! was not supposed to be used due to the large amount of blog posts already written about Kahoot! Which is a shame, but it’s okay. There are plenty of other resources.
After that I opened the installed apps folder on my phone and found: SOS Notes and Socrative.
I will be spending the remainder of this post on explaining what SOS Notes is, considering many a post will have been written about Socrative I think.
So let me TELL you!
Many weeks back when I was in the local bookstore I decided I needed more notebooks. So I went to the notebook section and my eyes fell on the Oxford emblem. I picked it up, had a quick look, and it turns out the pages have a special sign embedded on the corners.
I read the instruction page very carefully and it actually turns out those signs are special codes that your phone recognizes, when you download a certain app. I ended up buying 2 notebooks simply because I felt I needed these new, cool, innovative and mostly fancy notebooks. When I came home I installed the app for it called SOS Notes.
Basically what you do is write your notes in your notebook – open the app – click the scan button – then the app automatically looks for the 4 signs which determine a page – it works its magic with the camera, meaning you get super high quality photos if you hold your phone still whilst making the picture – and you can upload your notes to your phone/pc/apps like dropbox – which makes it super easy!
1. You always have your notes on you
2. You don’t have to deal with big stacks of paper
3. You don’t lose notes
4. The app doesn’t take any room on your phone
5. The app is very optimized. There is no unnecessary fuss involved, the layout is clean and simple. It takes no time to set it up, just make sure you give your note the right name.
At first I thought the result would be blurry pages which would be unreadable, but because of the 4 signs the app can make the picture very clear!
For those of you who are interested: http://www.oxfordsosnotes.com/
Bookstores should sell them but I know that sites like Bol.com also have them in stock