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Gamifying Teacher Professional Development through Minecraft MOOC at ICCTAR, Melaka

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Minecraft is a game that has sustained the attention of teachers wanting to introduce elements of gamification into their classrooms despite their encountering two steep hurdles: (1) the complexity and depth of the game itself, and (2) understanding how students will experience self-directed critical and collaborative learning by engaging each other in appropriate video games. I started EVO Minecraft MOOC (EVOMCM) in 2015 to learn with teaching colleagues how to experientially address both these issues.

EVO (Electronic Village Online) consists of over a dozen sessions on topics proposed by language teachers who develop their proposals into professional development courses of interest to other teachers. The Minecraft EVO session has become an ongoing community of practice of language practitioners learning about gamification by interacting with each other in Minecraft for over 5 years now, http://minecraftmooc.org.

This talk is about the nature of learning in sustainable distributed communities of practice as embodied in EVO, and in particular understanding how video games can be leveraged into opportunities for language learning once teachers grasp the ineffable nature of their participatory cultures through engagement with peers, and in learning hands-on through meaningful play how games such as Minecraft might be used in their own teaching contexts.

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Gamifying Teacher Professional Development through Minecraft MOOC at ICCTAR, Melaka

  2. 2. THIS IS A FLIPPED PRESENTATION ● You can read my presentation in full text here: https://tinyurl.com/icctar2019vance ● You can download my slides at any time here: https://tinyurl.com/vance2019icctar If you visit my slides you will find a link to the full text. If you visit the full text you will find a link to the slides. I am Vance Stevens. Find me at http://learning2gether.net -- Penang, Malaysia Or VanceStev at gmail.com
  3. 3. MELAKA MINERS ● Let’s ask these guys about the affordances of Minecraft for language learning ● Having FUN engaging in Frivolous Unanticipated Nonsense
  4. 4. WHAT IS THIS ABOUT? ● The role of games in language learning. ● Premised on the assumption that … In order for games to be used effectively in language learning, the teacher / learner needs a clear / intuitive understanding of the affordances of games in fostering development in a target language
  5. 5. HOW TO UNDERSTAND AFFORDANCES OF GAMES IN LEARNING A LANGUAGE? As a learner you can teach yourself languages in a gamified environment, ● Just download Duolingo  ● Or visit a build in Second Life where interaction is in a language you want to learn ● Or join a guild in a foreign language in World of Warcraft Then you will ● arrive at an understanding of the role of games in language learning through your own experience in that process ● If you are a language teacher, you’ll be better positioned to guide others in that process https://www.duolingo.com/
  6. 6. TEACHING VS. TRAINING • There is no such thing as a language teacher • There are only language learners Stevens, Vance. (2004). The Skill of Communication: Technology brought to bear on the art of language learning. TESL-EJ 7 94) http://tesl- ej.org/ej28/int.html
  7. 7. TRAINING SPANISH VERB CONJUGATIONS Attribution attanatta Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/austinaron off/18930548626 under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by /2.0/ Charts like this imply training. Learning comes from context • e.g. reading • Immersion • Authentic communication
  8. 8. HOW TO TRAIN (NOT TEACH) YOUR HORSE TO COUNT ● https://youtu.be/j0DkkpJvt9w ● A horse counting https://youtu.be/kwiQXEmNRE U It’s an illusion, of course • The horse can’t count • or process what it’s counting Certain forms of assessment can create illusion that • students are learning • when they are responding to training
  9. 9. TRAINING STUDENTS TO ANSWER TEST QUESTIONS A B C LMark the correct letter on your answer sheet The teacher moved to stand near the correct answer during the assessment • Real incident • A variation: “teaching to the test”Max Pixel -- Public domain graphics. Retrieved from https://www.maxpixel.net/Man-Class-Illustration-Lecture-Professor-Speaker- 3026707
  10. 10. TEACHERS VS. LEARNERS ● A teacher models and demonstrates ● A learner practices and reflects
  11. 11. TEACHERS AS MASTER LEARNERS A master learner • models and demonstrates • and practices and reflects David Warlick “to redefine what it means to be a teacher — I try to present myself as a master learner, suggesting that part of what teachers should be, today, is constant and resourceful learners — master learners.” Warlick, D. (2010, October 8). Are they students or are they learners? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://2cents.onlearning.us/?p=2762
  12. 12. GAMES IN LANGUAGE LEARNING ● Recall: If you incorporate gaming in your own language learning, you will arrive at an understanding of the role of games in language learning through your own experience in that process, and if you are a language teacher, you’ll be better positioned to guide others in that process ● Corollary: If you teach using games, but don’t use games to learn languages, how can you effectively teach languages using games? ● Not can you? The answer to that is of coure, YES -- But HOW can you?
  13. 13. WHY TEACHERS NEED TO PLAY GAMES ● If teachers want to understand how games are meant to be used with students – need to themselves become gamers. ● HOW you use these games, or more importantly how your students use them, will fall somewhere on that scale between  true learning … and something closer to training 
  14. 14. WISDOM OF THE PAST: COMPUTERS VS. TYPEWRITERS C.1985 I used to rant about teachers teaching revision processes that they themselves were not using in their own writing practices Attribution: The Blue Diamond Gallery, retrieved from http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/typewriter/t/teacher. html under Creative Commons 3 - CC BY-SA 3.0 Attribution: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_II
  15. 15. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GBL AND GAMIFICATION From Khidar Bin Abdullah's talk at the PELLTA conference in Penang, April 2019 https://drive.goo gle.com/drive/fo lders/15gki57Jv- xMSTtRM42cbb3 LzI7Csm2nD
  16. 16. MONOPOLY From Pixaby: https://pixabay.com/photos/play- board-game-monopoly-money- 1538339/ under Pixaby License A game, but not gamification • No incentive to learn language in order to improve game play • Produces telegraphic language e.g. “Pay me”
  17. 17. WISDOM OF THE PAST MYSTERY HOUSE, 1980 There is a very powerful Easter egg here: Hidden passages Watch the game being played https://youtu.be/kiwHwPvIHBs Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_House Armando Baltra on Mystery House in ESOL Baltra, A. (1984). An EFL classroom in a Mystery House. TESOL Newsletter 18 (6): 15.
  18. 18. TRACE EFFECTS -- EXAMPLE OF GBL FOR ESOL ● Free copy and resources, https://americanenglish.state.gov/resources/trace-effects ● Trailer, https://youtu.be/U-luAE4p7cw • Learners assume an “other” persona • Problem: to return this character back to the future. • Pragmatics (politeness) important to success • You interact with other characters in the story (in predictable ways) • The game is free, and materials developed for it to be used as reinforcement, rewards, or “cheats”
  19. 19. AN EXAMPLE OF GAME-BASED LEARNING IN CALCULUS Immersive world teaches calculus concepts through simulations controlled to force the player to solve puzzles that • teach concepts established in advance and • require mastery before moving on to the next step • Students can manipulate but not alter content Variant Limits walkthrough From Triseum https://youtu.be/3vFyxFR83ZQ
  20. 20. IS THIS GAME-BASED LEARNING? -- KAHOOT From video at https://kahoot.com/
  21. 21. PLAY KAHOOT? This is on the Kahoot website, but ● How? ● With whom ?
  22. 22. WHEN DID LARGE NORWEGIAN QUIT WRITING LEXICON ON PAPER? Not strictly gamification ● It’s fun, but it doesn’t keep records on students in a way that can track performance. ● Students are engaged while playing the game, but that engagement OFTEN ends when the game does. Learning? Or reinforcement of training? Dr. Charles Browne suggested that LEARNING could be augmented with algorithms for recycling learned items and implementing contextualized reading, etc.
  23. 23. MEMRISE – CLASSIC STRUCTURAL GAMIFICATION ● Teachers set up lessons in profiles, ● Players must be logged in ● Each player has an identity image -- doesn’t have to be their own picture ● Memrise tracks everyone who attempts each lesson in a Leaderboard. ● Points are awarded generously for modest successes. Everyone starts at zero and points build UP ● Players gain in level the more they play ● Players can find other games created by their teacher, or by anyone ● Teachers can group students into separate classes https://www.memrise.com
  24. 24. TEACHING VS. TRAINING Quizlet Arabic to English, https://quizlet.com/12 9523616/arabic-to- english-1-flash-cards/ can be a good way to learn either Arabic or English, vocabulary items,but as training, does not extrapolate well to wider contexts Structurally gamified 
  25. 25. STRUCTURAL GAMIFICATION Centers on motivating people to complete everyday or mundane tasks ... that they find ● difficult to complete ● or lack the motivation to keep on track. e.g. fitness, health and wellbeing apps, badges, stickers, rewards and virtual ‘whoops’ The best approach is where a game and the game mechanics have learning value of themselves, where learning is intrinsic to the gameplay. So, gamification is a great way to reward, motivate and sustain interest in repeat tasks, daily procedures or long- term goals - from following a standard operating procedure to learning a language.
  26. 26. STRUCTURAL VS. CONTENT GAMIFICATION Karl Kapp (2013) distinguishes ● Structural gamification – where designers seek to “apply game-elements to propel a learner through content with no alteration or changes to the content itself. The content does not become game-like, only the structure around the content;” ● and content gamification, which involves “the application of game elements and game thinking to alter content to make it more game- like.” Kapp, K. (2013, March 25). Two types of #gamification [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://karlkapp.com/two-types-of-gamification/ Aha! games where learners can alter; i.e. have control over, content in a game-like context.
  27. 27. GAMES-BASED LEARNING VS. CONTENT GAMIFICATION ● Content is finite; therefore ● You notice repetitions in content ● Once you have “won” the game, or reached the end, little incentive to go back and repeat it, as opposed to trying to learn what you want to learn in some different way. However, it’s designed for ESOL ● Content infinite and randomly generated, always unique, always different ● Because you play that game in the company of people who themselves are unpredictable and infinitely branchable, you can learn something new from THEM each time you play. e.g. Trace Effects e.g. Minecraft But, teachers need to learn the game in the company of others
  28. 28. MINECRAFT AS AN EXAMPLE OF CONTENT GAMIFICATION ● May 17, 2009 – Minecraft released ● 2010 - Joel Levin “first played an early version of Minecraft with his 5-year-old daughter in 2010. He was amazed at how much his daughter was learning from Minecraft; she solved problems on her own, developed a spatial understanding in the game, and accelerated her reading and writing skills because she wanted to be able to interact with other players ● 2011 – I requested Minecraft licenses for my workplace ● 2015 – I started EVO Minecraft MOOC Ossala (2015) https://www.theatlantic.com/education/arch ive/2015/02/teaching-in-the-age-of- minecraft/385231/
  29. 29. THE BIGGEST PROBLEM PREVENTING TEACHERS FROM LEARNING MINECRAFT IS Finding a community ● Anyone can buy the game & play alone, but benefit comes from playing in a community ● It’s not so much the game but the participatory culture surrounding the game which is where the language comes from, where the most significant development takes place. ● But players of this game in educational settings tend to be K-12 children and adolescents. ● Difficult for many teachers to become trusted and accepted to play the game on servers populated by school kids in order to learn first-hand its affordances. Solution: EVO Minecraft MOOC http://minecraftmooc.org
  30. 30. COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE "Whatever the problem the community has the answers“ - Stilger (2017) ● 1998 I started Writing for Webheads -- a space where NNS students could meet to practice English ● 2002 Webheads in Action started as a CoP of ESOL teachers and edtech specialists called that is still viable today (Stevens, 2018). ● Over the years this CoP has ebbed and flowed and interleaved with other CoPs, one of which was called Electronic Village Online. EVO is a CoP that has produced free online teacher development workshops that have taken place every Jan/Feb since 2001. ● In 2015 I started EVO Minecraft MOOC. This session just completed its 5th consecutive iteration in February 2019 and is planning a sixth in 2020 (Kuhn and Stevens, 2017). Stevens, V. (2018). Webheads [pdf]. In John Liontas (Ed.). The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching. Wiley-Blackwell. 5824 pages. DOI: 10.1002/9781118784235. Retrieved from http://www.vancestevens.com/papers/archive/9781118784235eelt0458webheads.pdf Kuhn, J. and Stevens, V. (2017). Participatory culture as professional development: Preparing teachers to use Minecraft in the classroom. TESOL Journal 8 (4), 753–767. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesj.359 https://afternow.today/wp- content/uploads/sites/8/sites/14/2017/09/LifeAffirmingLeadership. pdf
  31. 31. HOW DID EVO MINECRAFT MOOC COME ABOUT? An EVO colleague from Croatia had an 11 year old son, Filip, who had become fluent in English by meeting people from other countries online and engaging with them in world in Minecraft (using multimedia with text and VOIP). ● Filip had his own YouTube channel where he shared videos, in English, with peers his age from other countries in Europe. ● Watched videos in English about how others solve problems in Minecraft When I visited his family in Croatia he told me that he couldn’t understand these videos at first, but eventually, “they started making sense.” Wanting to understand something in English so badly that you keep watching, and meaning emerges. … That’s language learning!
  32. 32. HOW EVO MINECRAFT MOOC BEGAN ● NOT: enter the master learner cycle at the front end, with modeling and demonstrating. ● We flipped that, proposing instead to enter in the middle, starting with practicing and reflecting. ● Now all we needed was a community where some in the community would be able to model and demonstrate to us. Most people develop an expertise and then propose a session to TEACH that expertise; How did we approach this? We created it in two steps ● Marijana interviewed her son for Smolčec, Smolčec, and Stevens (2014). ● We created an EVO session so we could all learn about the affordances of Minecraft for language learning Smolčec, M., Smolčec, F. and Stevens, V. (2014). Using Minecraft for Learning English. TESL-EJ 18, 2. Retrieved from http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume18/ej70/ej70int/
  33. 33. HOW EVO MINECRAFT MOOC BEGAN ● NOT: enter the master learner cycle at the front end, with modeling and demonstrating. ● We flipped that, proposing instead to enter in the middle, starting with practicing and reflecting. ● Now all we needed was a community where some in the community would be able to model and demonstrate to us. We created it in two steps • Marijana interviewed her son for Smolčec, Smolčec, and Stevens (2014). • And we decided to create an EVO session so we could all learn about the affordances of Minecraft for language learning Most people develop an expertise and then propose a session to TEACH that expertise; How did we approach this?
  34. 34. ENTER THE PARTICIPATORY CULTURE / COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE Jeff Kuhn David Dodgson In my literature search I had identified other practitioners who were doing interesting things with Minecraft and language learning. They joined us and became or mentors.
  35. 35. AMONG OTHER SKILLED MENTORS IN EVOMC MOOC 2015 Mircea Patrascu’s amazing roller coaster built on the EVO Minecraft MOOC server, which you can ride yourself here, https://youtu.be/nJQhvLjtQn0 Mircea limited access to this ride by designing a set of switches that had to be set in a certain order in order for the door to open. The switches are set in answer to questions, which players must answer correctly before they can ride.
  36. 36. ANOTHER COMMUNITY -- JAMES YORK AND KUTOBA MINERS ● 2005 - James York started playing World of Warcraft to help him learn Japanese, ● Once Minecraft was released, he became convinced that this was the language learning game he had been looking for all along• He set up a server for his Japanese ELL students called Kotoba Miners (KM) • He created a series of English language learning tasks for them. But KM became a project for English speakers to learn Japanese. How did that happen? Read … York, J. (2014). Minecraft and language learning. In C. Gallagher (Ed.). An Educator's Guide to Using Minecraft® in the Classroom: Ideas, inspiration, and student projects for teachers. (pp. 179-196). Peachpit Press. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/296537652_Minecraft_and_Language_learning
  37. 37. JAMES YORK AND KUTOBA MINERS York enlisted some native English speakers to come and play on the server with his Japanese ELLs. just once each week to help his Japanese students learn English. ● His students’ level of English was fairly low, so the NS volunteers could also practice Japanese. ● Once a week, the NNS students logged in and completed activities with English-speakers ● Once the course finished, NNS stopped playing on the server, but the native English speakers continued. York suddenly had a server of English speakers who were interested in learning Japanese This led to the creation of Kotoba Miners (York, 2014, p. 182)
  38. 38. JAMES YORK AND KUTOBA MINERS – WHY MINECRAFT? York chose Minecraft over other possibilities such as Second Life and WoW because ● “I experimented with a number of virtual worlds and games as part of my research. ● I rejected massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) for lack of control over content and their often extremely specialized discourse ● I also rejected a lot of social worlds (such as Second Life) for their painful aesthetics, controls, and perceived distance between “users” and “content creators.” (p. 180) This left … The image is from York (2014)
  39. 39. WHY IS MINECRAFT SUITABLE AS A CONTENT GAMIFICATION ENVIRONMENT FOR LANGUAGE LEARNERS? As York explains it ● “Minecraft is simple. From controls to aesthetics and even gameplay. ● Learners spend less time learning how to navigate the game and more time learning and focusing on language. Additionally, it gives teachers and learners 100 percent control over content … that is easy to create and use.” The critically salient affordance of Minecraft that gives it the distinction of being an example of content gamification: Control over content for all players ● “The application of game elements and game thinking to alter content to make it more game-like.” (Kapp, 2013). ● “In content gamification the content is altered to be more game-like by using elements such as challenges, feedback loops, and storytelling without actually turning the training into a game,” Designing Digitally, Inc. (2019).
  40. 40. IF WE DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO REACH THE END OF THE SLIDES You can read a text version of this talk at https://tinyurl.com/icctar2019vance And find the complete slide set here https://tinyurl.com/vance2019icctar Contact Vance via https://learning2gether.net/ Or by email: vancestev [@sign] gmail.com More information about EVO Minecraft MOOC: http://minecraftmooc.org The End