Archive for December, 2007

Links for 2007-12-30

Sunday, December 30th, 2007
  • Main Page –
    Very cool for Mac or Win: “Freeciv is a Free and Open Source empire-building strategy game inspired by the history of human civilization. The game commences in prehistory and your mission is to lead your tribe from the stone age to the space age.”
    (tags: edugames)

Links for 2007-12-29

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Researcher’s Log 2007-12-28

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Due to the holidays I have extended the deadline for Round 1 of the study. I have sent a reminder to all participants and asked them to complete the survey by Friday, January 4th (if they haven’t already). I currently have 9 responses. However, posting on my blog a reflection on the process prompted many other potential participants to come forward, and prompted my existing participants to suggest colleagues who might be interested in participating. At this point I now have 18 participants who have returned a consent form, 2 more who intend to do so, and the 1 dropout. So, I am hopeful that I can reach at least 12 responses, if not as many as 20, by January 4th. This will give me greater confidence that as I proceed I will be able to finish the study with the minimum number of participants that I recommended in my proposal. If, however, this is not the case, I am sure that the data I am collecting will still be valuable. My early analysis turned up a variety of meaningful perspectives already, and it still remains for me to code the most recent four responses.

It has become less likely I will finish collecting data before the baby is born. I now project finishing data collection sometime between Feb 1 and Feb 15. The baby is due on the 5th. I am also concerned about making the March 1st “deadline” for having a draft of my results ready. Hopefully I can push that back and still be able to graduate in May.

Links for 2007-12-22

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Links for 2007-12-21

Friday, December 21st, 2007

21st Century Skills for Teachers: A Graduate Level Class

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Hello, learning network. I’ve been working on the early stages of designing a graduate level class that introduces teachers to the concept of 21st century skills and how to help students develop them. This evening I’ve completed the “design document” and I’ve decided to share it here in hopes of receiving feedback from some of you: 21st Cent Literacy Design Document

While I was working on it, I pushed a couple of questions out on twitter and thought I would also aggregate those here so that others can respond later:

  • What’s your favorite information literacy framework besides the Big 6?
  • Do any of you teach “risk taking”? If so, how do you approach it? Any frameworks? Or personal lessons learned?

I’d also like to add a few others. I’d be stoked if any one of these catches your interest enough to inspire a comment:

  • What is your favorite framework for 21st century skills and why? (I’m especially interested if it’s not enGauge or the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.)
  • What multimedia skills do you consider critical? (And if you teach graphic design at all, what framework do you use?)
  • What are your favorite digital storytelling resources? (And do you have a favorite digital storytelling framework or philosophy?)
  • If I could only share 1 site to communicate how the read/write web changes education, what would it be?

And these last two may be the most important – and most difficult:

  • What metrics or evaluation tools do you use to assess 21st century skills?
  • What organizational changes have happened to make this possible for you? (Or, what organizational changes need to happen to make this possible for you?)

As always, I hope this might make interesting reading for some of you, and that others might be able to find this post in a time of need when it might help. Meanwhile, I thank you in advance for any feedback you might leave for me as I continue working on this course.

Researcher’s Log 2007-12-19

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

This has been posted after the fact (on 2008-02-08) in order to protect the integrity of the study.

Further early analysis on the first five responses has generated additional material for existing codes, and additional codes. Much more has been submitted related to collaboration and social elements of games, and I am now seeing more mentions of the creative or expressive benefits of games. Also, more was written about the ability of games to be differentiated for various learners. In addition, I’ve seem more related to 21st century skills, and new material that has introduced the potential of MMORPGs to effect positive social change, which also came up in the literature review. Again, this analysis is related to the first question, which covers the potential benefits of MMORPGs as constructivist learning environments.

Question two asks about the potential drawbacks, and my early analysis has also resulted in more codes than I expected. A good deal has been submitted about educational organizations’ resistance to change, a topic that was cut from my final proposal. Some has been written about the drawbacks of constructivist pedagogies in general, as well as additional ways learning in an MMORPG might be difficult to assess (at least in the eyes of traditional educational establishments). In addition, of course, the issues of addiction and anti-social behavior have come up, as have concerns over the amount of time the games can take to play (particularly in an educational setting) and the lack of necessary infrastructure in schools. Also, several respondents have mentioned that videogames are not for everyone and that not all games are attractive to all gamers.

Link: Podcasting with Ted Lai in Palm Springs

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

CUE: Podcasting with Ted Lai in Palm Springs (Via If you happen to be in the Southern California area, don’t miss this opportunity to learn from an educational podcasting master (and help the local CUE affiliate with fund raising for teacher grants):

Ted Lai, co-author of The Macintosh iLife ’08 in The Classroom, leads this workshop. Participants learn to use GarageBand and a free hosting service to create their own online shows. Podcasting allows anyone to create and share a show – and allows others to enjoy the show at their convenience. Learn to use podcasting to access existing instructional resources and to share student work with parents, the community, and the world. With GarageBand on a Mac, create an enhanced podcast, complete with images and links.

Title: Broadcasting for All: An Introduction to Podcasting in Education (Mac)
Date: Saturday, February 2, 2008
Time: 8:30 – 11:30 am
Location: Palm Springs USD District Office, Professional Development Center, 1000 Tahquitz Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262.
Price: $100 (For CUE Members)

Register Now

Researcher’s Log 2007-12-18

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

In the methods chapter of my proposal, one procedure I stated I would follow during the data collection and analysis phases of my study was to keep a research log. Because I am not revealing any sensitive data or sharing results that might skew the study, I have decided to share my experiences here as well. (Entries will appear in an edited form in order not to influence the study if participants happen to read this blog.)

UPDATE: It’s now 2008-01-02 and with the conclusion of data collection I am now adding back in a paragraph that does discuss specific results below. It begins with the word “Specifically”.

The first round of the study was originally scheduled to conclude tomorrow. However, I have only collected five responses. Out of more than sixty invitations to participate there are now fourteen confirmed participants, with a potential for two to three more. The good news is that their levels of expertise are very much what I had hoped for, which will add to the credibility of the study, though of course their identities will remain anonymous. However, the minimum number of responses I called for in my proposal was twelve, so I plan to send out reminders today and extend the deadline to Friday the 21st at least. It is a difficult time of year to conduct surveys. I knew this would be the case and I know I will need to be flexible in order to finish in time to graduate this May.

Nevertheless, once I received my first three responses I began to organize and prepare data for analysis. Also, I began early data analysis, using Tams Analyzer for OS X to create an initial coding scheme from the first three responses. Already the categories (and thus potential questions) I may include in the second round of the Delphi have already grown beyond my original six. I’m sure I will need to synthesize and condense the results to allow for a manageable and productive second round.

Specifically, there has been a focus on active learning, depth of learning, and differentiated learning, all of which may fall under my category of constructivist learning, as problem solving might, too. There has been some focus on hard fun, as well as the expected discussion of motivation and engagement. The importance (and inherent educational value) of gameplay has also been mentioned. There has been little mention so far of social benefits, other than some discussion of the natural marriage of games and the ZPD. One category discarded during the proposal stage was 21st Century Skills, but those issues are making an appearance in participant answers, particularly risk taking. Role playing has also reappeared in participant answers as well. Note that this early analysis has focused on question 1, which focuses on the potential benefits of MMORPGs in education. I have not yet begun analysis on question 2, which focuses on the potential drawbacks of MMORPGs in education.

This morning, I will be sending an email to the participants thanking those who have completed the first round and prompting others to complete the survey. A few participants who joined later will be receiving their round 1 questions this morning. And finally, a few others I expect might still want to join will receive an invitation or prompt for response.

I also plan to add two most recent responses to my Tams Analyzer project and add their content to my coding scheme for question 1. I will also begin reading and analyzing responses to question 2.

In addition, as I review my methods chapter I am looking ahead to identifying a colleague familiar with the subject matter to serve as a devil’s advocate to the results, and to identifying a colleague familiar with the method to serve as an external auditor.

Links for 2007-12-17

Monday, December 17th, 2007