Posts Tagged ‘social learning’
Here are some resources that support The Internet & Social Networking for Enhancing Social-Emotional Learning presentation.
A lot of talk, press, and focus in this era of learning is on common core standards and 21st century skills and literacies. What is often neglected is the importance of building social emotional skills within the classroom.
The challenge of raising knowledgeable, responsible, and caring children is recognized by nearly everyone. Few realize, however, that each element of this challenge can be enhanced by thoughtful, sustained, and systematic attention to children’s social and emotional learning (SEL). Indeed, experience and research show that promoting social and emotional development in children is “the missing piece” in efforts to reach the array of goals associated wit h improving schooling in the United States. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/197157/chapters/The-Need-for-Social-and-Emotional-Learning.aspx
It’s not enough to simply fill students’ brains with facts. A successful education demands that their character be developed as well. That’s where social and emotional learning comes in. SEL is the process of helping students develop the skills to manage their emotions, resolve conflict nonviolently, and make responsible decisions. Research shows that promoting social and emotional skills leads to reduced violence and aggression among children, higher academic achievement, and an improved ability to function in schools and in the workplace. Students who demonstrate respect for others and practice positive interactions, and whose respectful attitudes and productive communication skills are acknowledged and rewarded, are more likely to continue to demonstrate such behavior. Students who feel secure and respected can better apply themselves to learning. (Why Champion Social and Emotional Learning?)
Two principles guide this article:
- Social-Emotional skills and strategies should be addressed and taught in school settings.
- Video and online games can promote SEL skills and as such, should be integrated into classroom instruction.
Social Emotional Skills in School
According to the Collaboration for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
Schools that create socially and emotionally sound learning and working environments, and that help students and staff develop greater social and emotional competence, in turn help ensure positive short- and long-term academic and personal outcomes for students, and higher levels of teaching and work satisfaction for staff.
CASEL identified core competencies for social-emotional learning:
Social Emotional Benefits of Gaming
Self-awareness is accurately assessing one’s feelings, interests, values, and strengths; maintaining a well-grounded sense of self-confidence (http://casel.org/why-it-matters/what-is-sel/skills-competencies/). Video games, by their very nature, provide ongoing feedback about personal performance. The gamer becomes a critical learner, a highly self-aware individual able to critically assess, compare and contrast the various virtual environments s/he finds her/himself within. In other words, the side-show mirror reflection of him/herself that the video game provides is not naively accepted, but critically examined (http://www.etc.cmu.edu/etcpress/node/209).
Video games also provide powerful opportunities to explore and experiment with different aspects of one’s identity:
Video games allow people to adopt virtual identities. According to Przybylski, Weinstein, Murayama, Lynch, and Ryan (2012), the appeal of video games is in part due to the players’ ability to explore aspects of their ideal selves that might not find expression in real life. Gameplay experiences that were congruent with perceptions of a player’s ideal self were the most intrinsically motivating and emotionally engaging http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/positively-media/201208/video-games-problem-solving-and-self-efficacy-part-2#_ENREF_12
The Future of Identity, one of the influential Foresight reports that looks ahead to highlight emerging trends in science and technology, found . . .
. . . that far from creating superficial or fantasy identities that some critics suggest, in many cases it allowed people to escape the preconceptions of those immediately around them and find their “true” identity. This is especially true of disabled people who told researchers that online gaming enabled them to socialize on an equal footing with others. The internet can allow many people to realize their identities more fully. Some people who have been shy or lonely or feel less attractive discover they can socialize more successfully and express themselves more freely online.
Management of Emotions to Reach Goals
Self-management is the ability to regulate one’s emotions to handle stress, control impulses, and persevere in overcoming obstacles; setting and monitoring progress toward personal and academic goals; expressing emotions appropriately (http://casel.org/why-it-matters/what-is-sel/skills-competencies/). The impact of gaming comes from its emotional connections and from the gamer managing those emotions as s/he works towards achieving the game’s goals.
Hugh Bowen fielded a national online survey with 535 gamers to explore how important the range of emotions is to the success of any particular game. Half of all gamers he survey stated that emotion in games is extremely or somewhat important. Here is a list of feelings that gamers say video games most strongly inspire.
Jane McGonigal in How Might Video Games Be Good for Us? explored research that examined the types of emotions gamers sought from the gaming experience.
The top ten positive emotions of video games range from bliss, to relief, to personal pride, to feeling emotionally close to another player, to surprise, to curiosity, to excitement, to awe and wonder (see survey results at Top Ten Videogame Emotions). What’s extraordinary about these ten positive emotions is that gamers have figured out how to spark and feel them whenever they want, no matter where they are, or what kind of day they’re having. It doesn’t matter if they’re bored or stressed or lonely or frustrated or anxious – gamers can change how they feel, just by starting to play. We know that this is true even for gamers in incredibly difficult conditions. For example, children in hospitals prior to surgery are able to control their anxiety by playing a handheld video game (see the research), while soldiers in Afghanistan are able to reduce psychological stress by nearly 75% by playing video games for three to four hours a day (see the research, specifically pages 33-34). In fact, recent clinical trials have demonstrated that online games can outperform pharmaceuticals for treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety. (See the research) Even if games don’t change anything else in our lives, the power to change how we feel in the moment is a very good thing indeed. Games give us more control over our emotional destiny.
With the increase in gesture-based games, there is also an increase potential for video games to help identify and regulate emotions:
Numerous studies have shown that movements or postures generate cues the mind can use to figure out how it feels, a phenomenon dubbed the physical-feedback effect. [Gesture-based games like Kinect] and Wii games might also create emotions between people through “emotional contagion,” where the brain can make us feel what we see, hear, read or think others experience. (http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/11/wii-emotion/)
Social awareness is being able to take the perspective of and empathize with others; recognizing and appreciating individual and group similarities and differences; recognizing and using family, school, and community resources (http://casel.org/why-it-matters/what-is-sel/skills-competencies/). To be socially aware is to be able to see the world through another person’s eyes, to be empathetic. In her Psychology Today article, How Videogames Can Promote Empathy, Susan Krauss Whitbourne proposes that video games with a pro-social theme can promote compassion and altruism among the players.
Dr. Mathew Chow, a psychiatrist who studies gaming and behavior, discusses the development of pro-social behavior via gaming in an NBC interview:
Video games have evolved into a shared experience. No longer are people playing these games alone in their parents’ basement. People expect to be able to play online. People join online communities populated by tens of thousands of individuals around the world. They participate in pro-social behaviors such as cooperative play, trading, negotiating, forming alliances, and creating rules of conduct.
You need to be able to get along with a diverse community in order to succeed in online play. Antisocial people are often marginalized and even banned from popular communities. If you told me that a child was participating in an activity where she was cooperating with tens of thousands of people across the globe to accomplish a shared objective, I would probably label that as pro-social. People playing video games are doing this right now. (http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/ingame/worried-about-your-childs-gaming-psychiatrists-say-play-them-1C7660207)
Relationship skills is considered establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; resisting inappropriate social pressure; preventing, managing, and resolving interpersonal conflict; seeking help when needed (http://casel.org/why-it-matters/what-is-sel/skills-competencies/).
As Cheryl K. Olson notes video games may promote social skills through actions such as sharing tips with one another, guiding one another to websites for cheat codes, and engaging in online team endeavors and tasks through games such as Minecraft and World and Warcraft.
Responsible decision-making is making decisions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate social norms, respect for others, and likely consequences of various actions; applying decision-making skills to academic and social situations; contributing to the well-being of one’s school and community (http://casel.org/why-it-matters/what-is-sel/skills-competencies/).
Video games, by their very nature, overtly teach gamers decision-making and problem-solving skills.
Problem-solving is a central theme to many video games, and kids of all ages are taught to recognize patterns and strategize in order to win. For example, Nintendo’s “The Legend of Zelda” series includes many puzzles and complex levels that challenge players. When Link gains an item, he must then use it to advance to what were previously inaccessible areas of the game. Many of the puzzles in each game also employ these items. Obstacles are often put in the way of achieving a goal in “Zelda,” which is arguably similar to many situations kids face in real life, like working hard to learn a difficult mathematical concept in order to succeed on a test at school.
Games like “Portal 2″ keep the mind sharp and alert through hours of unique, mind-bending puzzle solving. This game emphasizes the importance of navigating a new environment carefully and recognizing and utilizing the materials available in a game. These problem-solving video games teach kids the importance of patience and perseverance by forcing them to think cognitively when trying to master a challenge. By working hard and choosing not to give up, kids achieve an “a-ha!” moment, where they realize the solution to a problem and feel smart for doing so. In this way, games like “Portal 2″ not only help stimulate a child’s mind, they also boost confidence. (http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/life-skills-video-games-can-teach-kids1.htm)
. . . and video games have the potential to elicit ethical and moral decision-making choices.
Video games are a great way to walk in someone else’s shoes, if only digitally. Depending on the game, you can do good deeds for the love of humanity or the love of money. You can swing a sword for freedom or for oppression. According to Dr. Andrew Weaver, your game choices are more obvious than you’d think. When it comes to moral decision-making, how you play your game is how you live your life–and you’re playing morally.
For their paper, “Mirrored Morality: An Exploration of Moral Choice in Video Games,” Dr. Weaver and his fellow researcher Nicky Lewis had 75 gamers (40 men, 35 women, ages 18 to 24) play Fallout 3, a game that starts with relatively little game play and multiple character-building decisions. These gamers also took the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (you can take the self-scorable test, here) to evaluate their psychological foundations of morality, such as whether they value loyalty to a group or whether they respect authority. From this, Weaver determined that players used their own moral foundation to make their choices in-game. The key finding was players largely made moral decisions just as they would in real life, that is, they were doing the right thing. Even when given the opportunity to be violent, they were choosing non-violent acts. http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolpinchefsky/2012/11/28/you-and-your-videogame-avatar-are-more-moral-than-you-realize/
A recent Stanford experiment provided evidence that video games can be designed to encourage and elicit altuistic behavior. During the experiment test subjects were given Superman-like flight in a virtual reality simulator which in turn made them more likely to exhibit altruistic behavior in real life. Although this is a beginning of a series of experiments, the researchers found that:
While several studies have shown that playing violent video games can encourage aggressive behavior, the new research suggests that games could be designed to train people to be more empathetic in the real world. It’s very clear that if you design games that are violent, peoples’ aggressive behavior increases. If we can identify the mechanism that encourages empathy, then perhaps we can design technology and video games that people will enjoy and that will successfully promote altruistic behavior in the real world.
Using games in the classroom is more and more becoming an acceptable and accepted instructional practice. The benefits of games, when used strategically, should not be overlooked in increasing and enhancing the learners’ social and emotional competencies.
Benedetti, W. (2012). Worried about your child’s gaming? Psychiatrists say ‘play with them’ NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/ingame/worried-about-your-childs-gaming-psychiatrists-say-play-them-1C7660207
Bowen, H. (2011). Can Videogames Make You Cry? Retrieved from http://www.bowenresearch.com/studies.php?id=3.
CASEL. (n.d.) SEL skills and competencies. Retrieved from http://casel.org/why-it-matters/what-is-sel/skills-competencies/.
Choi, C. (2010). How Wii and Kinect Hack Into Your Emotions. Wired Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/11/wii-emotion/.
Kilgore, N. (n.d.) What life skills can video games teach kids? TLC Family. Retrieved from http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/life-skills-video-games-can-teach-kids1.htm.
Krauss Whitbourne, S. (2011). How Videogames Can Promote Empathy. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201109/how-videogames-can-promote-empathy.
McGonigal, J. (2012). How Might Video Games Be Good for Us? Big Questions Online. Retrieved from https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/how-might-video-games-be-good-us.
Pinchefsky, C. (2012). You and Your Videogame Avatar Are More Moral Than You Realize. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolpinchefsky/2012/11/28/you-and-your-videogame-avatar-are-more-moral-than-you-realize/.
Schools that create socially and emotionally sound learning and working environments, and that help students and staff develop greater social and emotional competence, in turn help ensure positive short- and long-term academic and personal outcomes for students, and higher levels of teaching and work satisfaction for staff. http://casel.org/why-it-matters/benefits-of-sel/
The Technology-Enhanced Social Emotional Learning Activities website (http://seltechnology.weebly.com/) has been designed to describe technology activities that facilitate social emotional learning. They can be used within formal and informal educational settings. Even though the focus of the activities are on building and enhancing social emotional learning, many can be connected with content standards related to language arts, visual arts, oral communication, media literacy, and ISTE’s National Education Standards for Students. Also, age levels are not recommended. Most of the activities can be adapted for any age level.
List of Activities:
- Acts of Kindness
- Book Trailers
- Collage of Feelings
- Conflict Management Strategies Posters
- Dear Abby Letters
- Feelings Posters with Photos
- I Am Posters
- Identifying Emotions Apps
- Mobile Sharing
- Personal Support Networks
- SEL Comic Creation
- Social Media a Cause
- Teach Tech to Grandparents
- Twitter for Good
Technology Enhanced Social Emotional Learning Activities by Jackie Gerstein is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://seltechnology.weebly.com/
Tens of thousands of people answered Anne Curry’s call and thus began the 26 Acts of Kindness campaign to honor the 20 children and six teachers lost in the shooting at Sandy Hook, according to NBC. A Facebook page has been set up to promote the 26 Acts of Kindness campaign. It already has almost 83,000 “likes.”
Here is an example of the 22 acts of kindness a 22 year old did to celebrate his birthday, not part of this project but a great example how one person took the initiative to do some of his own acts of kindness.
If I was still a classroom teacher, I would have my students do this as a year long project and record their acts of kindness via a photo essay or video. I believe that this era of education should include learning about social good and global stewardship. Students should be encouraged to be change makers in the world. This is why this post is included in my series on user-generated education.
Some teachers have started acts of kindness campaigns with their students:
What follows are my #21 acts for Holiday, 2012 (five more are forthcoming). I try to live a life of acts of kindness, trying to give charity to others all year long through my actions (e.g., helping a senior citizen) or making contributions during catastrophes. During Christmas time, I make my big contributions and try to do some volunteer work – helping deliver meals to homebound, packing Christmas treats at the Salvation Army, etc. I never tell anyone about my acts as they are personal and I do not do so to get any pats on the back from anyone else. I am sharing this year’s acts due to the #26acts movement, and to inspire, motivate, and challenge others to do so.
#1 – Lifted Spirits at the Post Office
I was in the post office to mail some Xmas presents. As expected, the line was extremely long. We took our numbered tickets upon entering the PO and found our places for the inevitable waiting. I have very little patience for lines and based on the reactions, attitudes, and comments so did the other people waiting. I took a deep breadth and dove into my iPhone. An older lady (she looked about 80) a few people away from me kind of joked about being #67 as they had just called out #17. I realized I had picked up a lower number #33 from the counter leaving me with both #33 and #41. I handed her #41 saying it is a good time to engage in acts of kindness. She yelped with joy and asked me for a hug. A man then stated loudly that he forgot to get a ticket. The older lady handed him her #67. We had started a game of pass it forward. A majority of the 30+ folks in the Post Office started laughing and commenting – a potentially miserable time at the PO became joyful and fun. I left the PO smiling – the first smiles I had since hearing about Sandy Hook. A very small act of kindness changed the entire climate of a “grouchy” situation into one that touched my heart.
#2 – Gave Homeless Man My Lunch
I went grocery shopping. In the roasted chicken section was a roasted turkey breast. I bought it for my lunch today – nothing like hot roasted turkey. It cost $9. At the stop sign off of the highway, on the drive home, was a homeless man (I assume) with a cardboard sign that said, “Anything would help.” He was an older man with very long grey hair and beard. I stopped to consider giving him a few dollars. I asked him if he smoked. I don’t give the guys with signs money for fear that they would spend it on cigarettes. He said he did and I told him that I didn’t want to give him money for cigarettes. With very said eyes, he asked, “Do you have anything to eat?” I grabbed the roasted turkey and handed it to him. He stared in disbelief and could only say “Oh my goodness” a few times. I yelled Merry Christmas and drove off.
#3 – Bought an iTunes Gift Card and Made a List of Recommended Apps for My Brother with Asperger’s. He is getting an iPad for Christmas.
#4 – Donated to John Green’s (Fault of Our Stars) amazing Youtube fundraiser, Project Awesome 2012
#5 – Promoted Sandy Hook Snowflake Project on my social networks.
#6 – Donated $26 dollars to the Sandy Hook PTA for their Snowflake Project.
#7 – Donated to Beyond Borders because we should not forget about Haiti, Beyond Borders is an international nonprofit working to end child slavery, guarantee universal access to education, end violence against women and girls and promote dignified and life sustaining work that recognizes and reinforce Haiti’s strengths.
#8 – Bought Merchandise to Support and “Advertise” Pencils of Promise
#9 – Bought a MiiR Water Bottle – $1 of every MiiR bottle purchased provides one person with clean water for one year, one4one.
#10 & #11 – Donated a Year of School for Two Girls through International Rescue
#12 – Donated a New Classroom through International Rescue
#13 – Donated a Pair of Goats through International Rescue
#14 – Donated A Women’s Health and Wellness Kit through International Rescue
#15, #16, #17, #18 - Contributed to four classroom projects through Donors Choose for classrooms affected by Hurricane Sandy
#19 – Provided Kiva loan to the agriculture Mahinga Group in Kenya as I believe we are all global stewards.
#20 – As I do every year, I donated a substantial amount of $$ to Save the Children.
#21 – Planned a Surprise Birthday Cake-Card for Fellow Potter Who Turned 70. During our holiday pottery show, I gave Mimi, who was turning 70, a chocolate cake and a card signed by the group members. Her son and grandchildren came to the show so I gave it to her when they were there. She told me that it had been years and years since she had a birthday cake.
#22 - Paid $20 of a Senior Citizen’s Grocery Bill. She was really grateful and asked me for a little kiss.
These are my acts for the 20 children and for Sandy Hook Principal, Dawn Hochsprung, and teacher, Vicki Soto. The other four acts will occur when an act of kindness is needed and I can provide such an act.
I do not live a life of trying to give acts of kindness as a ticket to get into an afterlife. I live it because it feels good. It is the right thing to do.
I am an advocate of integrating socio-emotional learning into the classroom.
It’s not enough to simply fill students’ brains with facts. A successful education demands that their character be developed as well. That’s where social and emotional learning comes in. SEL is the process of helping students develop the skills to manage their emotions, resolve conflict nonviolently, and make responsible decisions.
Research shows that promoting social and emotional skills leads to reduced violence and aggression among children, higher academic achievement, and an improved ability to function in schools and in the workplace. Students who demonstrate respect for others and practice positive interactions, and whose respectful attitudes and productive communication skills are acknowledged and rewarded, are more likely to continue to demonstrate such behavior. Students who feel secure and respected can better apply themselves to learning. (Why Champion Social and Emotional Learning?)
Implementing morning meetings is a method to do so.
Today, many children in kindergartens, elementary and middle schools around the country launch their school days in Morning Meetings. All classroom members—grown-ups and students—gather in a circle, greet each other, listen and respond to each other’s news, practice academic and social skills, and look forward to the events in the day ahead. Morning Meeting is a particular and deliberate way to begin the day, a way that builds a community of caring and motivated learners. (Morning Meeting: A Powerful Way to Begin the Day)
See ideas for morning meetings at http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/category/category/morning-meeting.
I used morning meetings with the gifted elementary students I taught. I taught each group of about 20 students, grades 3rd through 5th, for a full day/one day a week. We began our days with morning meetings. The meetings included a check-in where students reported how they doing and feeling, and if anything significant was happening in their lives. To keep the students’ interest and to introduce unit concepts, I had them create artifacts for these morning meeting check-ins (see below). The goals and outcomes of these check-ins included:
- Increased emotional awareness and intelligence
- Increased social intelligence as learners developed listening and empathy skills
- The ability to represent thoughts and feelings in metaphoric form
- Concrete, student-created examples of content area concepts
Here are some examples of what I have done in my class . . .
Morning meetings started with a beat of the drum:
Use of feelings cards:
Use of student-created feeling masks
Use of feelings books:
Choose a book cover that represents how you are doing and feeling:
Create a hat of a literary character to represent how you are doing and feeling:
Create a tangram image that represents how you are doing and feeling. I had about two dozen small tangram sets and decks of cards with tangram puzzles.
Construct a 3-D geometry symbol of how you are doing and feeling. The school had a die cut for 3-D origami. I cut out a variety of shapes. Students, then, selected those they want to create for their check-in.
Select a constellation that represents how you are doing and feeling:
Create your own constellation that represents how you are doing and feeling:
Select a bone of the human body that represents how you are doing and feeling:
I blogged about this activity before. I am using it for an online course for the first time this summer and am so excited about the results, I wanted to report on it again. The I Am Poem is a popular exercise for language arts. I thought it would also be a good ice breaker for students to get to know one another. It goes beyond the, “Hi, my name is ________, and I live/work at __________” type of introduction, and reinforces the importance of beginning an online course through developing a sense of community. Some general strategies to do so include:
- Connecting people’s names and faces is a first big step to forming bonds.
- Students need non-threatening, interesting ways to begin creating online community.
- Social interactions between and among learners enrich the learning community and should be supported in the instructional design of the course. (http://frank.mtsu.edu/~itconf/proceed01/19.html)
I have used the I Am Poem in a face-to-face undergraduate course (see http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/mobile-driven-identity-activities/). For this summer semester teaching online courses on Integrating Technology Into the Curriculum for the Boise State Educational Technology graduate program, I asked students to do the I Am poem as one of their first course tasks.
Students were provided with the following directions:
- Write an “I Am” poem using the template, either electronically – http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/iampoem.htm or through the template below to write your own poems.
- Once your poem is written, locate or take a photo via one of your computer devices that symbolizes who you are, the essence of your poem.
- Send your photo to Flickr along with your first name in the subject line and your I Am Poem in the email body to (email to my Flickr account – randomly generated by Flcikr).
- Since all the group’s images will be sent to this single Flickr account, you can view each other’s poems via the Flickr account http://www.flickr.com/photos/78773858@N03.
- You do NOT have to have a Flickr account to submit your I Am Poems nor to view other students’ pictures/poems, but if you want to comment on a photo/poem (not required), you will need to have an account.
- A full description of this activity can be found at http://community-building.weebly.com/i-am-poems.html. Here you can find more directions how to set up the activity for your own class.
Here is a screenshot of the Flickr page of student submissions. I love the diversity and creativity they demonstrated both through the images selected and poems written.
. . . and some specific examples:
I have been blogging about how I am integrating mobile technology into my undergraduate course on interpersonal relations. Since I have always been an experiential educator, I seek ways to integrate the learners’ mobile devices into my experiential activities. The questions I seek to address when designing experiential mobile learning activities include:
- What effective instructional activities did I use in the past that can include mobile device integration to make them even more effective?
- Will it be interesting and engaging for the learners?
- Will it be an authentic and relevant learning experience?
- Can it facilitate critical and reflective thinking?
- Does it have the potential for to cause a change in thinking and/or behavior? (Grant Wiggins recently wrote about this in Everything you know about curriculum may be wrong. Really where he discussed the point of learning is not just to know things but to be a different person – more mature, more wise, more self-disciplined, more effective, and more productive in the broadest sense.)
- Does it have the potential to be epic?
The Equity Game
- To explore issues related to unequal distribution of resources.
- To explore principles related to communication, non-verbal behavior, emotions, listening, and conflict.
- High School, College, and Adult Learners in Face-to-Face Settings
- The intent of the activity is for three groups to build a city within the boundaries and materials provided.
- Prior to the activity, the facilitator set ups the room by tapping off three areas – a large, roomy area for the upper class, a medium sized area for the middle class, and a small, cramped area for the lower class.
- The community resources are provided to each group via QR Codes on Index cards. The QR codes lead to Creative Commons Flickr photos of city structures, These include houses, schools, recreational buildings, etc. The reasons QR codes are used is twofold: (1) It increases the realism by linking into real images, and (2) Because groups can trade with each other, it adds an element of trust.
- Popsicle sticks are also distributed to represent roads. The upper class is given a huge pile, the middle class about a dozen, and the lower class a few broken ones.
- The resources represent those typically (and stereotypically) found in the neighbor of that social class. The upper class gets nice homes, several schools, high class recreation center and golf course, and high end shopping. Here are some examples (you’ll have to scan it).
- The middle class receives housing, some strip mall shopping centers, basic schools and recreational areas.
- The lower class receives low income housing, a liquor store, a waste disposal center.
- The group is split into three sub-groups of equal numbers. There needs to be one or two mobile devices per group to serve two functions: scanning the QR codes and communicating via text with the other groups.
- The facilitator takes the groups one by one into the set up room and are told to build a city with the materials provided. The upper class is taken first and given directions that they are to build a city, that they can request additional resources. The middle class goes next with most of the same directions omitting that they can request additional resources. The lower class is taken in last and given short directions, “Build a city with materials provided. The QR Codes lead to pictures of resources.”
- They are told that they can text the other groups with questions and requests. This is intentionally left vague with the hopes that some trading and deals with occur.
- The unspoken rules that the facilitator follows during the activity: (1) Upper Class can go outside of their boundaries, lower class cannot. If the lower class member goes out of their boundary, they are warned. If they get more than two warnings, the member causing the infraction is taken to “jail” – a corner of the room. (2) The facilitator continues to check in with the Upper Class group if they need anything. If another group has an item requested, then the facilitator takes it and gives it to the Upper Class. (3) The Upper Class can communicate with the other groups in any manner they choose. The Middle and Lower Class can only communicate via texting.
- Post-activity reflections occur via a group discussion and a VoiceThread using photos from the activity. The Voicethread allows for opinions to be shared that might not be shared face-to-face.
The Equity Game: In Action
The following is an edited video of this activity in-process. It provides a good overview of how this activity operates.
This is the second of two posts on student perceptions of mobile learning integration within an undergraduate course on Interpersonal Relations. It combines two semesters’ worth of student surveys.
As is true for many of us using educational technology in the classroom, we are experimenting with how technology can enhance the learning experiences of our students. Sometimes we have failures, often times we have successes. Yet, in this age of evidenced-based education, educators, administrators, and other decision-makers are depending on and using the data gleamed from large studies often completed by companies with vested interests, e.g. Gates Foundation, book publishers, and testing companies.
Educators can easily conduct action research about the practices they are using in their own classrooms especially given the ease of creating online surveys and data collection methods. Yet, it seems that it is rarely done.
For example, I introduced Quest Atlantis into my gifted classes a few years ago and asked these 3rd through 5th graders to complete a survey to assess its efficacy from the student perspective. The results I received were rich and informative. The kids offered great feedback, ideas, and suggestions. See Beyond the Game: Quest Atlantis as an Online Learning Experience for Gifted Elementary Students.
So if educators want to influence what occurs in not only their own classrooms, but in the classrooms of their co-teachers, then they need to invest the time and energy to demonstrate best practices. In a related blog, I discuss Every Educator Has a Story . . . Just Tell It.
The two sections of Interpersonal Relations course were offered during Fall, 2011 and early Winter, 2012. There were 20 students in the sections – eight were male, 12 female; 16 of the students were 17 to 20 years old, one was 25 year old male, another a 40 year old female, and two of the students were females in their fifties. All of them had/owned some type of mobile device. No two of the owned devices were of the same make or model.
The first section of the survey listed all of the class activities that used the students’ cell phones. I blogged about the individual activities. The archive of these blog posts can be found at User-Generated Education tagged with mobile learning.
As can be seen by these results, most students rated most of the mobile-driven activities to be of some value in helping them understand the concepts being discussed/covered. Students were them asked to identify their least and most favorite activities. The most favorable activity was Building Communications. The least favorite did not identify any consistent activity. A few mentioned that there were none, “They were all pretty good.”
Do you feel that using students’ mobile phones during class time was a good idea? Why or why not?
- Yes, it was great learning new technology and interacting with each other via phones.
- Yes I do because it brings our generations technology and learning.
- Yes I do feel it is a good idea. I believe technology is growing so much that mobile phones are vital in today’s communication.
- There were some things about people calling with different providers which would be annoying.
- Yes, I liked it because I know how to use it so well.
- I do, but with my phone, it didn’t work well.
- I thought it made the time go by faster because we were learning a different way. But some other students took advantage of this and used it as personal time.
- Yes I do because it gets more involved in our lives.
- Yes, it gave us the ability to open up and be ourselves.
- Yes, I did. We are in a technological age, it is time to accept that.
- Yes, it made things more entertaining.
- Yes and no. we could have done the same on the computer.
- I think it was in the middle because I would get distracted.
- Yes because it helped us use our cell phones for good use in activities.
- Yes. I think it was because you go to learn more things about people
- Yea. Cell phones are a big past of society these days.
As can be seen in these results, there was an overwhelming positive response to mobile device use in the class. A few problems were noted but no students reported a purely negative response to their use. The reasons stated for positive feelings about mobile device use seemed to revolve around three themes:
- Technology is part of today’s world.
- It made the activities more engaging and interesting.
- It provided the means for learning to be more personal.
What was the greatest advantage of using students’ mobile phones to get to know one another and build a sense of community in the class?
- It was nice to use them and not have to hide them and it connected the class because one way or another we all got each others numbers.
- I think people are a lot more open on their phones so I believe it helped us get to know each other more. Also we were able to show pictures of important people in our life so that I feel personalized it.
- The greatest advantage was how we could text and get to know each other.
- Ease of communication.
- You got to know the students better.
- It made us open up to one another because we had to connect at a more social level.
- It was something that we use everyday so it related back to us
- To get a better experience from the class and enjoy coming to class.
- It was something they were familiar with.
- It provided us with a common ground on which to get to know each other.
- We got to talk to each other outside of class, not just when we were in class.
- The students use their phones on a regular basis.
- That we didn’t waste paper.
- Getting the other students numbers and exchanging phone numbers to get to know one another.
- You got to know the people better though them
- We were able to communicate outside of class and create friendships.
The student responses centered around the social nature of mobile devices adding to their feelings getting to know one another. Several students mentioned that it provided them with a forum to open up with other students.
What was the biggest problem in using students’ mobile devices during class time?
- People who did not have unlimited texting, or did not have a phone..
- Sometimes your phone wouldn’t be charged and you wouldn’t be able to participate in the activity.
- I think some of the students were confused on some of the activities.
- It distracted me because I kept texting and not focusing
- Lack of technological compatibility.
- People text other people other than the class mates.
- I didn’t always remember to charge my cellular device so I thought it was going to die.
- People would abuse it and text friends and do other things that the activity wasn’t for.
- Caused outside social distractions
- The students were tempted to use the phones for personal use.
- Not everyone brought their mobile device.
- Students had more of a chance to get distracted.
- Some didn’t work.
- The service was bad because i would send a text and it would show up ten minuets later.
- Some people texted when they should have been participating.
- I didn’t see any problems.
Not surprisingly, the responses centered around two themes: distraction and not having a device/device that worked for the activities.
In addition, students wrote a final course reflection. What follows are some comments regarding their significant overall course learning.
I think I learned more about myself in the building structure unit then I did in the whole quarter. I always thought of myself as having the potential to be a leader but this activity helped me believe it. When I was trying to help the others build this structure without actually being able to help was very difficult, I had to make my teammates feel confident enough to where they could achieve the end project.
The most significant learning would be the, “building the bridge” because that was fun to be able to know who would take charge and everything you said over the phone about what your team was building with the blocks would affect how there bridge would look. I had to be very precise and accurate, nearly perfect in order to get them to build it the same. Something I am going to improve on is the clarity of how I talk.
My favorite activity would have to be going around taking pictures of our emotions with the emoticons. We really got to see everybody’s different personalities and see them open up on a different level.
I learned several ways to communicate effectively with others, especially during our build a bridge activity.
I appreciate that there were so many hands on activities to do and that we got to learn in a different style other than lecture or reading.
I enjoyed them all because I like doing hands on learning and I learn the best that way versus book work and paperwork. Being able to learn about something then put it to use during a couple activities actually helped me a lot to understand everything I was learning.
I personally enjoyed the activities quite a lot. They helped me learn the concepts effectively while also being enjoyable to participate in.
I really liked having the participation on Facebook as part of our assignments. It was nice to have discussions throughout the week with classmates about what we had done in class
This part is easy. Based on student testimonials both through the survey and their end of course reflection paper, the following two themes emerged:
- Students appreciated the use of mobile devices and believed they helped to increase their engagement.
- Students appreciated and learned best through the use of experiential and hands-on activities.
This is in line with recent research:
An EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative report, Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview, states that “students say they are motivated by solving real-world problems. They often express a preference for doing rather than listening. At the same time, most educators consider learning-by-doing the most effective way to learn.” The report further defines learning-by-doing as activities that are focused “on real-world, complex problems and their solutions, using role-playing exercises, problem-based activities, case studies, and participation in virtual communities of practice” (http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/2012/03/15/what-makes-an-online-class-an-interactive-learning-experience/).
I am presenting workshops on Experiential Mobile Learning Activities at the Digital Media Literacy Conference 2012 and the Mobile Learning Experience 2012. What follows is the slide deck from and a description of my presentation.
This interactive, experiential BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) workshop has its foundation in two guiding principles: (1) Building a sense of community in the classroom helps address the whole learner including achievement and academic success, and (2) Mobile devices are extensions of young people. As such, they should be leveraged in the classroom.
Young people are connecting with one another through technology in unprecedented ways. Computers, wi-fi networks, and smart phones allow young people 24/7 access to technology and to one another. Using smart devices in educational settings as learning and community building tools can promote interpersonal communication and encourage young people to positively express their individuality and build their student-to-student, student-to-educator relationships. The activities that will be presented and experienced during this workshop use the technology that young people use – cell phones, social networking sites, laptops, blogs, and digital cameras. These activities focus upon and build diversity and cultural sensitivity, teamwork and problem solving, self-reflection and self-exploration, and communication and self-expression (adapted from Wolfe & Sparkman, 2009).
Through participation in this workshop, you can expect to:
- Understand the importance of building community in the class.
- Explore the research about the use of mobile devices by young people.
- Learn through experience at least six community-building activities that you can use with your students.
- Develop ideas and strategies for integrating mobile-driven team building activities into your classroom environment.
This workshop is divided into three parts:
- Exploring research on the importance of building a classroom community and how young people are using their mobile devices.
- Learning, playing, and experiencing team-building games using mobile devices – see http://community-building.weebly.com/ for a list and descriptions of these activities.
- Large group brainstorming through Wallwisher and discussion – how these ideas and activities can be integrated into one’s own work environment.
- Abrams, Mi., Scannell, M., & Mulvihill, M. (2011). Big Book of Virtual Teambuilding Games: Quick, Effective Activities to Build Communication, Trust and Collaboration from Anywhere! McGraw-Hill.
- Austrian Institute for Applied Telecommunications. (2010). The Mobile Phone in School.
- Handling Opportunities and Risks Appropriately. Retrieve from http://handywissen.at/downloads/.
- California University. (2006). Schools as Caring, Learning Communities. A Center Practice Brief. Center For Mental Health In Schools At UCLA.
- Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis. M. (2011). Future Skills 2020. Institute for the Future for University of Phoenix Research Institute. Retrieved from http://www.iftf.org/futureworkskills2020.
- LaRose, R., & Whitten, P. (2000). Re-thinking instructional immediacy for web courses: A social cognitive exploration. Communication Education, 49, 320-338.
- Lenhart, A., Ling, R., Campbell, S., Purcell, K. (2010, April). Teens and Mobile Phones.
- New Media Consortium. (2011). 2011 Horizon Report: One Year or Less: Mobiles. Retrieved from http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2011/sections/mobiles/.
- Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.). Communication and Collaboration. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/overview/skills-framework/261-communication-and-collaboration.
- Pew Research. (2011). Global Digital Communications: Texting, Social Networking Popular Worldwide. Pew Research. Retrieved from http://www.pewglobal.org/2011/12/20/global-digital-communication-texting-social-networking-popular-worldwide/1/
- Pew Research (2010). Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones.aspx.
- Prabhu, M. T. (2010). Author: ‘iGeneration’ requires a different approach to instruction. eSchool News. Retrieved from http://www.eschoolnews.com/2010/04/12/author-igeneration-requires-a-different-approach-to-instruction/
- Schaps, E. (2003) Creating Caring Schools. Educational Leadership, 60(6) p. 31-33.
- Teaching Today. (n.d.). Cell Phones in the Classroom. Retrieve August 21, 2011, from http://teachingtoday.glencoe.com/howtoarticles/cell-phones-in-the-classroom
- Vesely, P., Bloom, L. & Sherlock, J. (2007). Key Elements of Building Online Community: Comparing Faculty and Student Perceptions. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 3, (3). Retrived from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol3no3/vesely.htm.
- Wilson, M.E. (2004). “Teaching, Learning, and Millennial Students.” In M.D. Coomes and R. DeBard (Eds.) Serving the Millennial Generation. New Directions for Student Services, no. 106. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
One of the DMIL2012 workshop participants, Billy Meinke, wrote about his experiences in my workshop in his blog, Digital Media and Learning (DML) 2012 Conference – Experience Notes:
The session, as she explained before we began, was much less of a talking-head lecture and more of an interactive experience. After describing recent research supporting the use of mobile devices in K-12 and Higher Education, she broke up the attendees into groups to take part in the same exercises she uses in her classroom. Using such tools as Cel.ly and Flickr’s mobile image uploading, she took us through simple activities that can be used to improve student engagement and build a sense of community in the classroom. Sure enough, no ice was left unbroken during that session and many participants continued conversations into the main room when she was done. I’ll be showing some of those activities to my mentors back at UH, hopefully seeing them put to use by instructors in the College of Education.
I previously wrote about the importance of beginning a class focusing on the learners in the room as opposed to the content to be covered in Beginning the School Year: It’s About Connections Not Content.
Most classes, starting with about middle school, begin the school year with reviewing the content to be covered, expectations regarding grades, and other academic information provided by the teacher or instructor. The human or social element is often disregarded.
What is interesting is that most learners enter the classroom wondering who is in the course. They want to know about the teacher and the people in the class not what material is to be covered. What this says to me as an educator is that it all begins with a social connection – between the educator and the learners, and between the learners themselves.
All of my classes, regardless of student age or demographics – elementary gifted students or graduate students, begin with ice-breakers and team-building activities. I recently developed a passion for using students’ mobile devices to do so as this devices have become natural and personalized extensions of students’ “selves.”
What follows are several of the mobile-driven ice-breakers I recently used in an undergraduate course on Interpersonal Relations. I also include some student reactions to these activities.
- Ask participants to locate a photo, song, or video from their mobile device that best represents them.
- Each person then shares his or her media and the reason it was selected.
- For photo or video sharing: Pass the device around so all students can view the image or use a webcam to project the image onto a larger computer screen or whiteboard.
- For sharing of music: Attach portable speakers to assist with the sharing of songs so others can hear them.
Student Reflections about Cell Sharing
Several students stated that this was their favorite activity of the class.
I thought it was awesome that you wanted everyone to show the class a picture or type of music that had meaning to us. By doing this we got to see and learn a little bit more of our peers.
We did a photo/audio thing which was my favorite activity because we got to learn a little bit of everyone’s lives
- Participants use a random number picker to select a number from one to 145.
- They then answer the question that corresponds with their number on http://www.teampedia.net/wiki/index.php?title=Question_Cup
- Answers are posted on a Sticky Note Board such as Wallwisher or Wifitti.
- The answers can be projected on a whiteboard (if done face-to-face) or students can view the answers via their own computers (face-to-face or virtually).
- Randomly pair students (can be either face-to-face or virtually).
- Ask them to develop questions that they would ask to help them get to know someone better.
- The pairs text their questions and answers back and forth.
- Interviewers summarize what they found out about their partners and posts their partners’ names and this information on a Sticky Note Board such as Wallwisher.
I enjoyed the texting exercise. It’s pretty cool when your teacher lets you use your phone for the activities especially since I got to learn more about my partner.
Student Reflections About the Ice Breaker Activities
I think that those games helped us get to know each other and were a very good ice breaker to help us know who our class mates are.
We played many activities and I believe that they all helped in breaking the ice between us all. We were able to get to know each other easier and faster than in a typical classroom environment.
I learned to communicate better instead of hanging back in a corner.
Although we all come from different backgrounds and cultures we all related quite well and by learning about each other we can start to establish friendships