Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gamification and Education

Why 21st Century Teachers Should Promote Game-Based in Their Classroom?
Gaming will better educate our students, and engage them while utilizing the contents. It teaches the students at their levels and then increases the difficulty at their levels of cognitive ability. Gamins encourages team work, and builds an environment of motivation to succeed. To learn more about this, please watch the following YouTube.

How to gamify your classroom? 
People love to play. Whether your students are in kindergarten or college, adding fun to classroom learning by playing games is a positive and effective way to engage students. Your students are already master game players, whether those games are technologically based or not. Use this knowledge and expertise everyday by gamifying you classroom because play doesn't have to be reserved for recess anymore.

To design game-based learning, consider the Garris, Ahlers, and Driskell (2002) model as shown in the figure below. In this model, a learning game needs Input (instructional content), Process (game cycle), and Outcome (learning outcomes).

For more information about how to really make gamification work in school, visit:

Areas of Impact- Education
The principle of applying game based learning and gamification to our lesson's design is to focus on the core of motivation, play and engagement. Game design principles such as constant challenge and feedback, meaningful context to associate to the everyday lives of the students, and the freedom to explore and experiment in a world while playing powerful roles, can help produce learning environments that are engaging, fun, and connected. The learning outcomes for game-based learning should also align with Bloom’s Taxonomy (Allen Interactions, 2014). See the figure below.

blooms taxonomy | Questions & Bloom's Taxonomy (image

What the future will look like?

We are expecting a new era of creativity, which will socially, democratically, and collectively transform the world we are living in. Other important elements enhanced by gaming creativity include:

  • Perseverance, or grit.
  • Speed and pressure to make more discussions and make more quick decisions.
  • Discovering true talent and skills.
  • More educational innovations.
  • More educational connections among students
  • To put the power of games to work.
  • The ability to bring new things on the fly, and to solve problems driven from the concept of games.
  • Making failure as easy as it needs to be practiced by doing it over and over to master it.
  • Increase the quality and quantity of these creative ideas and it's number of people who get to be creative.

To learn more about this, please watch the following YouTube.


Current News and Issues:
  • 2014 Horizon reports that the culture around digital games is growing to encompass a substantial proportion of the world’s population, with the age of the average gamer increasing every year. The gaming industry is producing a steady stream of games that continue to expand in their nature and impact — they can be artistic, social, and collaborative, with many allowing massive numbers of people from all over the world to participate simultaneously.
  • “Game players regularly exhibit persistence, risk-taking, attention to detail, and problem-solving, all behaviors that ideally would be regularly demonstrated in school.”- The Education Arcade at MIT
  • 1.2 Million Students in the U.S. fail to graduate from high school every year. According to Joey Lee and Jessica Hammer at Columbia Teachers College, “the default environment of school often results in undesirable outcomes such as disengagement, cheating, learned helplessness, and dropping out.” So, the question is: What kind of elements of gaming can we harness for educational purpose? How can gamification improve learning?

Games and Culture:

With the advent of video games, games have returned in full force as a cultural product, with more people in North America consuming video games than movies and music. In fact, 58% of Americans play video games, 45% of gamers are women, and 58% of parents play video games with their kids as a way to socialize with them (2). Games are part of the cultural landscape, and they aren’t going anywhere. An example is Classcraft. While not a video game, it is inspired by them, and its power on learning is very similar.

What is Gamification?

What is Gamification?

The first documented use of the term “gamification” was in 2008 (Deterding, Dixon, Khaled, & Nacke 2011) and was defined simply as using game design elements in non-game contexts. Since 2008, gamification as a concept has been broadened and defined by others as follows:
  • The process of using game thinking and game mechanics to solve problems. (Deterding, et. el, 2011)
  • The use of game mechanics, dynamics, and frameworks to promote desired behaviors. (Lee, & Hammer 2011).
  • The trend of employing game mechanics to non-game environments such as innovation, marketing, training, employee performance, health, and social change. (The Gartner Group)
  • Games and game-like elements have begun to invade the real world. Gamification, defined as the use of game mechanics, dynamics, and frameworks to promote desired behaviors, has found its way into domains like marketing, politics, health and fitness, with analysts predicting that it will become a multi-billion dollar industry by 2015 (MacMillan, 2011)
  • Gamification is using game-based mechanics, aesthetics, and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning and solve problems. (Kapp, 2012).
  • Gamification is using game design in systems that primarily support non-game tasks to make them more fun, engaging, and motivating. (Gamification 2013-
  • Gamification may have only recently emerged as a viable trend, but its roots stretch back to the late 1890s. Kyle Turco "Technology Advice"charted the most important moments in gamification’s history, and created this timeline to show how much the industry has evolved. Please visit the following link to view a glimpse on gamification timeline history-

Gamification, is using motivating factors to get people to do what it is that you want them to do. Please watch the following YouTube to learn more.
The following YouTube talks about "What is gamification and the history of gamification" and the difference between games and gamification:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Virtual Classes

Watch the video above, it is about virtual schooling in Pennsylvania, which is from the February 23,2012 edition of PBS Newshour. It raises up the question " Is online schooling beneficial for students or just a fad within education?" 

I think there is no significant difference between face to face learning or online learning according to many online instructors and online researchers. Learning online in early age will open the doors for preparing students into professionally from early age. We tend to agree that the development of skills online is very important, and no matter whether we teach face to face classroom or online classroom; we end up in having to do a good portion of online blended or flipped classroom or even integrating technology in the classroom work. It is important to remember that online is a delivery method. 

"As online enrollments have rapidly expanded, so too have accompanying concerns. Educators and parents worry about losing the nurturing intimacy of teachers and students who are connected with each other in face-to-face classrooms. Pundits opine that our youth are losing their ability to interact with live humans instead of screens. Journalists report that online schooling providers are raking in tens of millions of dollars while providing substandard, perhaps even fraudulent, educational experiences. Superintendents gripe that other districts’ provision of online courses results in interdistrict ‘theft’ of students and state funding." Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D.

According to the video above, the most common problems students face is the technical issues that accompany the use of technology and the engagement part of the lessons. Here we say; that any instructional methods can face challenges, how many times we prepared lessons for face o face class, but something has occurred and we couldn't deliver it. I think the realistic problem that we consider is engagement. Engagement, and motivation are the solution for success of the instructional method. Also, we heard in the video from a teenager complains that online classes are boring, and he prefers playing games all day, this situation applies to thousands of students. Engaging students of this century, needs lots of compromising from us, in addition we need to accept the change of the way we have learned and go with the flow, that means gamification needs to be part of the lessons. Games nowadays a way to socialize; so I believe that modifying the way we deliver the lessons are crucial to suite the needs of our students.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Online Classes

I know that online classes, are individual learning plan for each student, it requires for cooperation from the parents especially in the lower grades. This program is great, because it teaches students right where they are, in addition the instructor differentiate his instructions to help achieve his students' potential in all of their courses according to their academic levels.  

The trend to of teaching “K-12 online learning” is expanding everywhere. I have heard about virtual and cyber schooling, but I never practice it myself or been exposed to some who is a part of this program. I do not know the exact details about the programs or platforms they are using, I think that these courses might be using the Blackboard, Moodle, Google classrooms or any other program that is designed by the school or district. I know that the online k-12 program is progressing continuously, I think the flexibility of the program allows variety of different kind of students to enroll. 
 I have learned that 53 million students were enrolled in public or private K-12 schools in the U.S in 2004. I never expostulated that the virtual school has begun as an independent-study high-school movement in 1920s. Video based distance education also has a long history. The first education television broadcast in 1933. On-line learning enrollments is a growing part of the K-12 distance education. Virtual schools are a separate delivery system from traditional education. I have learned that Online courses are for gifted and talented students only. I knew that virtual schools are about curriculum and instruction not about using technology, medium is utilized to strengthen instruction. I never heard that online courses represent an “add-on” to already burdened school systems and teachers, but I know that online education does not represent an “add-on.” It does represent an opportunity take advantage of online resources.

It is interesting to know that online charter schools and district-run online schools fall under the state accountability system and receive performance grades based on the state. It make sense that accountability system are not designed to measure online schools, because they have high rates of student mobility, meanwhile state accountability systems are meant to measure and report on how well schools are serving students, in ways that can be understood by policymakers, parents, students, and other stakeholders.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Utilizing Blogs as a Web 2.0 Tool

Using a blog as a web 2.0 tool is very rewarding. Participants in blogs can responds to posts, comments, discuss, and use forums. Blogs can be an ideal example of a collaborative and engaging learning.  After searching blogs I found some good inspiring ones, although Arabic K-12 field is still growing in the U.S.A and needs a lot of attentions and efforts from educators and executives. I usually search other contents and convert or get ideas to build Arabic curricula with perspective of the differences.
These are the blogs that I discovered and subscribed:
First blog:
            This blog has many good resources for the Arabic and chines contents. NOVA STARTALK is a summer institute in its third year designed to help teachers integrate technology tools and 21st century language pedagogy in the Arabic and Chinese curricula. Arabic and Chinese teachers in each language will create a collection of activities to expand the curriculum presently in place.
This blog provides programs and Apps that are used in teaching foreign languages.
This blog has a flipped classroom method assignment. I can use many of these links in my classroom.
These blogs are good resources for the Arabic content.
This blog is a good resource for Arabic and Indian contents.
This blog lists some of the more interesting blogs from or about the Arab countries. This content is for 8-16 age level.
This blog has games and fun activities for Arabic content. 

Online Learning and Teaching journal for "Faye Deter" is very beneficial in this matter, it provides a wide explanation of a collaborative learning using wiki web 2.0 tool. Defiantly, technology is continuously evolving, which allows users to go beyond reading and doing assignments.
The following YouTube presents a great example of utilizing social media tools; wikis, blogs and tweets in a classrooms.