Don’t Just Use Tech Teach It

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Integrating technology into lessons for students should be the goal of all teachers, but teaching students how to use the technology is a must.  Often, as we use and adapt technology in our classrooms, we assume students know more about technology than they really do.  I have seen many lessons that have fallen flat because the teacher thought that students would know how to use the technology employed in that lesson.  I have had this happen to me on multiple occasions.  Adults commonly differ to students to figure out technology assuming that they would be familiar and able to use any type of technology.  This is often a misconception.  Just because students may know what the technology is does not mean that they know how to use it correctly.  We must remember this as teachers.  When deciding to use any type of technology in the classroom  time must be spent in class on how to correctly use the technology.  While technology can increase student engagement it can also kill engagement and motivation if students gets frustrated and confused by the technology.  As adults we need to remember that while students may have considerable knowledge about technology they still need guidance on how to correct use technology.

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Augmented Reality Post Five: Review of “Manifest Destiny” Game

Yesterday, I finally got to try out my Augmented Reality game, “Manifest Destiny“.  I was excited to give this a try and see how this new type of learning environment might work  with my students.  In the past I have run some short trial games to see how the software worked and all of the those tests the students seemed to really enjoy.  This was the first complete game with a specific learning target in mind that students had to completely discover on their own.  Students had no prior knowledge of the topic of “Manifest Destiny”.

GAME SETUP

The learning target for this game was: Students will be able to describe and define Manifest Destiny?

Students were given four questions to answer as they progressed through the game.

  1. What is Manifest Destiny?
  2. What are the three political factors influence the development of Manifest Destiny?
  3. What are the three social factors influence the development of Manifest Destiny?
  4. What are the three economic factors influence the development of Manifest Destiny?

Students were placed into groups of three and each student was a different character in the game. At each location each member of the team met a different historical figure.  The historical figure presented each student with some information. After the students listened to their historical character the students must then discuss what they have heard in their groups to get a complete answer.  Each member of the group received vital information that must be incorporated into the answer to each question.  Once they have answered their question the group then moves on to the next location.

Student Reaction

Students seemed to be very engaged in this type of learning environment.  They quickly learned how to use the device and how to use the interface of the program.  Both of these were concerns for me at the beginning of this exercise. Students really seemed to be enjoying themselves and all said that they would like to do this type of thing again.  Some of the complaints were that the questions were to hard.  They stated that they would like to just receive the answer and not have to try to figure it out at each location. Some said that they would like more interaction at each location.  they did not just want to be presented information at each place but rather interact with the device.

Assessment

In grading the assignment that went along with this activity all groups received a 70% or higher on the questions.  I felt as though the main learning target had been met by a majority of the class.  Something that might have worked out better was to not have the questions on the device but on a separate sheet of paper.  I did find that student engagement and motivation was very high for this activity.  However, the fact that this was a new activity with new technology might have a big part in the motivation.  All in all I thought that this type of learning environment showed a lot of promise.  I will be looking at doing another game shortly based off of what I learned from this game.

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Augmented Reality Experiment Post 3: “My First Game”

Mystery Animals

My First Augmented Reality game.

On Monday I tried out my first Augmented Reality game.  The objective of the game was for my students to learn a little information about the three major fur bearing animals of the Pacific Northwest.  The purpose of this game was two fold.  The first was that I wanted them to test the technology to see if they could interact with it.  The second was an introduction into our next unit on the fur trading era of the Pacific Northwest.

The only directions I gave them were on the purpose and organization of the game.  They were told that they were to discover three animals on the back football field.  At each location on the map they would find a description of an animal and an audio recording of the sound that animal makes.  It was their task to discover the name of that animal and convert that name into a code to unlock the next location on the map.  The hint for the code was A=1.  Students then went outside, opened the software, and began navigating the game, once they obtained a satellite signal.

Students seemed to have no trouble using the software to navigate through their game.  They were highly engaged and had to be persuaded to come into the building, when it began to rain.  Students were very motivated, almost driven, to get to the end of the game.  This was very interesting to me, since some of these students are not often motivated in class.   While I assume that some of the motivation was in the novelty of the situation, the game atmosphere did seem to motivate many of the students.  All students were able to eventually navigate the course and complete the game.  As students entered the classroom after completing the game, there was a lot of discussion about the three fur bearing animals and how they came to their conclusion for each animal.  The discussion in class went extremely well.  They really enjoyed talking about the games and the information that they discovered about each animal.  Every student I felt achieved the learning target for the day, and they truly seemed excited about the possibility of doing this type of exercise again.  All in all I would have to say my first game, while not overly complex, was a complete success.

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