• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

More US classrooms adopt game-based learning to engage students (1 Viewer)

TU Curmudgeon

B.A. (Sarc), LLb. (Lex Sarcasus), PhD (Sarc.)
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
64,257
Reaction score
20,114
Location
Lower Mainland of BC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
From The Christian Science Monitor

More US classrooms adopt game-based learning to engage students

It's 1 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon in Wallingford, Conn., and about 20 children are watching a screen at the front of the room as they take turns navigating challenges and collecting virtual currency to unlock powers, outfits, and pets for their characters.

The game they're playing has some similarities to the online battle game "Fortnite." But the kids aren't fighting one another – they're racking up points for participation and good behavior in their classroom at Dag Hammarskjold Middle School, where their teacher is presenting a home economics lesson with help from Classcraft, a fantasy-themed educational program.

"It's actually a lot of fun," said 13-year-old Caiden McManus. "The pets – that's my favorite thing to do. To train the pets, you gain as many gold pieces as possible so you can get the new outfits and stuff."

Peek inside your average classroom these days, and you're likely to see teachers using apps, websites, and software that borrow elements from video games to connect with students living technology-infused lives. By all accounts, they're fun to use, and studies have found that some can be effective. But there is also skepticism about how often students who use them are better educated, or just better entertained.

Dag Hammarskjold consumer sciences teacher Gianna Gurga said she had been looking for a way to get more out of her students. Students have been more motivated and performed better in her classes since she began using Classcraft in spring 2017, she said, and she has signed up a handful of other teachers in the school.

COMMENT:-

The article is quite interesting but left me with two disturbing thoughts:


  1. "The difference between 41% and 43% could well be statistically insignificant."; and
  2. "Why in HELL would a School District think that it was being successful when it gets ONLY 43% of its students educated to the point where they "met standards"?.

(Read the article to see what I mean.)

The "obvious" solution is to change the "standards" so that at least 90% of the students "meet standards" - because that makes the teachers/system look good, and "enhances the child's feeling of self-worth". The "non-obvious" solution is to actually educate the students.

Guess which solution has the highest likelihood of being implemented.

PS - If you don't believe me, take a look at the way that the SAT scores are reported. Every year they are "re-normalized" so that the "average student" scores the same as the "average student" of the year before. That means that if the "average student" in "Year 1" actually got 75% of the answers correct and the "average student" in "Year 2" actually got 50% of the answers correct, BOTH would have the same SAT score. (NOTE - I exaggerated the change between years to show how the system works more clearly. In actuality they should read more like "Year 1" and "Year 21".)
 
Its 3 fold.

We've lowered our standards for teachers...many of them simply aren't all that passionate about teaching. Many of them, being barely older than the kids they are expected to reach, are ill equipped, mentally...coming in to classrooms with zero experience managing children.

We don't collect enough, and allocate enough taxes, to properly fund schools in many areas. This is exacerbated by school administrative positions that pay 6 figures.

And last, parents are failing their kids. The details associated with that one line are legion, and I'm on a phone...so I won't list them.
 
From The Christian Science Monitor

More US classrooms adopt game-based learning to engage students

It's 1 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon in Wallingford, Conn., and about 20 children are watching a screen at the front of the room as they take turns navigating challenges and collecting virtual currency to unlock powers, outfits, and pets for their characters.

The game they're playing has some similarities to the online battle game "Fortnite." But the kids aren't fighting one another – they're racking up points for participation and good behavior in their classroom at Dag Hammarskjold Middle School, where their teacher is presenting a home economics lesson with help from Classcraft, a fantasy-themed educational program.

"It's actually a lot of fun," said 13-year-old Caiden McManus. "The pets – that's my favorite thing to do. To train the pets, you gain as many gold pieces as possible so you can get the new outfits and stuff."

Peek inside your average classroom these days, and you're likely to see teachers using apps, websites, and software that borrow elements from video games to connect with students living technology-infused lives. By all accounts, they're fun to use, and studies have found that some can be effective. But there is also skepticism about how often students who use them are better educated, or just better entertained.

Dag Hammarskjold consumer sciences teacher Gianna Gurga said she had been looking for a way to get more out of her students. Students have been more motivated and performed better in her classes since she began using Classcraft in spring 2017, she said, and she has signed up a handful of other teachers in the school.

COMMENT:-

The article is quite interesting but left me with two disturbing thoughts:


  1. "The difference between 41% and 43% could well be statistically insignificant."; and
  2. "Why in HELL would a School District think that it was being successful when it gets ONLY 43% of its students educated to the point where they "met standards"?.

(Read the article to see what I mean.)

The "obvious" solution is to change the "standards" so that at least 90% of the students "meet standards" - because that makes the teachers/system look good, and "enhances the child's feeling of self-worth". The "non-obvious" solution is to actually educate the students.

Guess which solution has the highest likelihood of being implemented.

PS - If you don't believe me, take a look at the way that the SAT scores are reported. Every year they are "re-normalized" so that the "average student" scores the same as the "average student" of the year before. That means that if the "average student" in "Year 1" actually got 75% of the answers correct and the "average student" in "Year 2" actually got 50% of the answers correct, BOTH would have the same SAT score. (NOTE - I exaggerated the change between years to show how the system works more clearly. In actuality they should read more like "Year 1" and "Year 21".)
I am a fan of using technology to train kids better. Yes I said train not educate because schools imo have become training centers not teaching institutions as they portray themselves as.

I dont know about these specific games but in general I'm a fan of experimenting. As you say 45% is a failing grade I welcome attempts to fix that number

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 
Its 3 fold.

We've lowered our standards for teachers...many of them simply aren't all that passionate about teaching. Many of them, being barely older than the kids they are expected to reach, are ill equipped, mentally...coming in to classrooms with zero experience managing children.

We don't collect enough, and allocate enough taxes, to properly fund schools in many areas. This is exacerbated by school administrative positions that pay 6 figures.

And last, parents are failing their kids. The details associated with that one line are legion, and I'm on a phone...so I won't list them.

When I was a kid (and that's about 65 years ago) I had a job. That job was "to go to school and learn".

Things have changed.
 
When I was a kid (and that's about 65 years ago) I had a job. That job was "to go to school and learn".

Things have changed.

Not everything is worse. :)

I was worried about letting my son get too into video games early on - he's 6 now. But video games have changed a lot. I don't let him play Fortnite, but I let him play Minecraft, and some more age appropriate games on the Nintendo Switch. At first I really micromanaged it...until I noticed his reading just taking off. There is so much to read as part of the games he's playing, and he needs to read to play them, otherwise he doesn't know what is going on...so the games are, in fact, encouraging him to learn to read better and faster. Also, games like Minecraft can be extremely math heavy as well.

I don't think all games are suitable for the classroom...I'd be pretty pissed if he came home talking about Grand Theft Auto...haha... but there are some that very much are.
 
Just another way of trying to cope with so many teachers these days being little more than warm bodies.

If even half of them were any good, schools would be able to teach kids without having to resort to all this flashy and feel-good nonsense like "interventions", "learning plans", "smart boards" and "educational video games".
 
Not everything is worse. :)

I was worried about letting my son get too into video games early on - he's 6 now. But video games have changed a lot. I don't let him play Fortnite, but I let him play Minecraft, and some more age appropriate games on the Nintendo Switch. At first I really micromanaged it...until I noticed his reading just taking off. There is so much to read as part of the games he's playing, and he needs to read to play them, otherwise he doesn't know what is going on...so the games are, in fact, encouraging him to learn to read better and faster. Also, games like Minecraft can be extremely math heavy as well.

I don't think all games are suitable for the classroom...I'd be pretty pissed if he came home talking about Grand Theft Auto...haha... but there are some that very much are.

I agree that some games are very useful as an adjunct to teaching, but using them in place of teaching (which is what the article implies) sounds like it might have the same effect as giving all the students a list of 1,000 questions which MIGHT be on the final exam and telling them that ONLY the questions on the list will be on the final exam.

What result is that?

Well, with some slight exceptions, the rank order of the final marks will be about the same but the spread in those final marks will be greater. (As I recall the exception from my stint as a student in the Faculty of Education, the exceptions are likely to be most obvious in the mid-range where ["more work" x "lower innate ability"] can sometimes work out to a higher value than ["less work" x "higher innate ability"].)
 
Just another way of trying to cope with so many teachers these days being little more than warm bodies.

If even half of them were any good, schools would be able to teach kids without having to resort to all this flashy and feel-good nonsense like "interventions", "learning plans", "smart boards" and "educational video games".

Actually it looks more like a case of "I have to get SOMETHING published if I want to get promoted".

I did notice that the "increase" in reading skills could well be accounted for by the "Observer Effect". Since the "Observer Effect" almost always results in "improvement" I'd be very skeptical of this program until the "decrease" in math skills is adequately explained.

(Just because a child can read


"John has two cows. If Bob gives him three cows. How many cows does John have?"

that does not that the child knows that 2 + 3 = 5. It also doesn't mean that the child knows the difference between the "has" in the first sentence and the "have" in the third sentence.)
 
If a student is motivated, they can learn from the book, which I did most of the time.

Teachers are there to act as babysitters for the stupid and motivators for the lazy.
 
If a student is motivated, they can learn from the book, which I did most of the time.

Teachers are there to act as babysitters for the stupid and motivators for the lazy.

If parents do not "value education" is it likely that children will be "motivated to learn"?

If a child belongs to a sub-set of society and the only examples of "successful" people from that sub-set that they are exposed to routinely are semi-literate "Tiddlywinks Players", how motivated is that child going to be to be anything other than a "Tiddlywinks Player" (for which "literacy is optional")?

If a child thinks that they can be successful by effortless "playing" how likely is it that they will be motivated to do the hard prep-work that makes that "playing" seem easy?

Back in the 80s, my then wife told me that her home state had actually done long-term cost/benefit analysis and determined that - over a lifetime - it was actually CHEAPER to spend more money on educating EVERY person up to the maximum of that person's potential than it was to let people slide through the system and spend the whole of their lives "on welfare". The "front-end" cost was MUCH higher than for the current educational system, but the total cost was lower once you took into account the reduction in "welfare" payments.

I have known employers who (for example) hired people as floor sweepers who required a lot more instruction than "This is a broom, sweep the floors with it." and (almost invariably) the end result was that they ended up with REALLY first rate floor sweepers, but with people who were PROUD of their ability to sweep floors really well. I put those people in exactly the same category as someone who is a REALLY first rate doctor and who is PROUD of their ability as a doctor because, from a personality perspective, there really isn't any difference.
 
Its 3 fold.

We've lowered our standards for teachers...many of them simply aren't all that passionate about teaching. Many of them, being barely older than the kids they are expected to reach, are ill equipped, mentally...coming in to classrooms with zero experience managing children.

We don't collect enough, and allocate enough taxes, to properly fund schools in many areas. This is exacerbated by school administrative positions that pay 6 figures.

And last, parents are failing their kids. The details associated with that one line are legion, and I'm on a phone...so I won't list them.
I think that all of these are involved, although your first point is in part also your second point - we aren't willing to pay for better teachers, so we don't get them.
 
I think that all of these are involved, although your first point is in part also your second point - we aren't willing to pay for better teachers, so we don't get them.

A generation of ignorant parents that does not value education is highly unlikely to spawn a generation of children who will put out the effort needed to obtain a solid education and likely isn't willing to pay the costs associated with actually providing those children with a solid education.

Every night I see commercials for "Grammarly" (or "How To Pretend To Actually Be Literate").

What does that say about the actual ability of the "average" person to use and comprehend the English language? What does that say about how important the "average" person thinks ACTUALLY being able to use and comprehend the English language (as opposed to being able to pretend to) is?
 
A generation of ignorant parents that does not value education is highly unlikely to spawn a generation of children who will put out the effort needed to obtain a solid education and likely isn't willing to pay the costs associated with actually providing those children with a solid education.

Every night I see commercials for "Grammarly" (or "How To Pretend To Actually Be Literate").

What does that say about the actual ability of the "average" person to use and comprehend the English language? What does that say about how important the "average" person thinks ACTUALLY being able to use and comprehend the English language (as opposed to being able to pretend to) is?
Language is in the end a vehicle for transmitting our ideas and thoughts to others.

I think a computer program that helps us communicate can only be a good thing.
 
Meh. The only thing I learned from games-as-learning is that cholera makes some green pixels in a wagon die and trying to cross the country in a carriage sucks.


Oh, also, I learned how to break Apple IIes. I have no idea how I did it, but I pulled up what looked like it might have been HEX code or some other code (four columns across the screen), I can't remember specifically, but I could do that...and somehow I screwed with it....and then they had to throw the computer out. Kids, those days.

:lasucks:





The problem with educational games is that they are educational, therefore boring. Though I've read there's been some success with ones that mimic the success of 'game shop' cosmetics-for-cash (a scourge of the gaming industry). So students apparently do seem to engage with the educational game if they get outfits for their character. Which....just, why? Ugh. I dunno. I don't like people much.

To the extent you can change a character's appearance without paying money, I generally like to make my characters look as absurd as possible. Why does it matter?
 
I think that all of these are involved, although your first point is in part also your second point - we aren't willing to pay for better teachers, so we don't get them.

That's always the part that has amazed me when I hear about paying teachers in the USA. If it's CEO salaries being discussed, one group of people justify them by saying that if you want the best, you have to pay for it. But when it comes to paying teachers, these same people say that paying more is a waste of money, and then find one example of a school in a poverty stricken area that is doing an outstanding job: "If they can do it, why can't everyone else"?
 
Language is in the end a vehicle for transmitting our ideas and thoughts to others.

I think a computer program that helps us communicate can only be a good thing.

The only problem there is if you don't actually have (and that means actually knowing the meaning of) the words, not only can you not express your thoughts, but you cannot formulate them either. Not only that, but I seriously doubt that a program like "Grammarly" would be able to correct "They led them to the well, shot them, and piled the bodies next to the wall." (to give an incredibly easy example) when what was meant was "They led them to the wall, shot them, and piled the bodies next to the well.".

Computers can do many tasks much more easily that people can, but they cannot think and only act within the parameters that they have been given.

Software that isn't designed to allow variations is more trouble than it is actually worth. I used to do a bit of web design and one of the tasks I hated most was fixing websites that had been built using compilers (like "Dreamweaver". The usual "best solution" to optimize those websites was to start all over with hand compiled html because the original coding preserved all of the bloatware that had been put in everytime the operator said "No, that's not the effect I want, let's try this."
 
Meh. The only thing I learned from games-as-learning is that cholera makes some green pixels in a wagon die and trying to cross the country in a carriage sucks.


Oh, also, I learned how to break Apple IIes. I have no idea how I did it, but I pulled up what looked like it might have been HEX code or some other code (four columns across the screen), I can't remember specifically, but I could do that...and somehow I screwed with it....and then they had to throw the computer out. Kids, those days.

:lasucks:





The problem with educational games is that they are educational, therefore boring. Though I've read there's been some success with ones that mimic the success of 'game shop' cosmetics-for-cash (a scourge of the gaming industry). So students apparently do seem to engage with the educational game if they get outfits for their character. Which....just, why? Ugh. I dunno. I don't like people much.

To the extent you can change a character's appearance without paying money, I generally like to make my characters look as absurd as possible. Why does it matter?

Back in the days of "punchcards" (someplace around the middle paleolithic I believe) a friend of mine created a set that would, if run, have caused the computer to forget how to add. Since that is all that a computer does, needless to say the consequences would have been serious.

He also devised an anti-hacking program that announced "This computer is protected, and I mean REALLY protected. Please go away and don't mess with it. Or else.". If the hacking attempt persisted, the computer sent "I warned you. [FORMAT: C]." which was the last thing that the hacker saw on his own computer.
 
The only problem there is if you don't actually have (and that means actually knowing the meaning of) the words, not only can you not express your thoughts, but you cannot formulate them either. Not only that, but I seriously doubt that a program like "Grammarly" would be able to correct "They led them to the well, shot them, and piled the bodies next to the wall." (to give an incredibly easy example) when what was meant was "They led them to the wall, shot them, and piled the bodies next to the well.".

Computers can do many tasks much more easily that people can, but they cannot think and only act within the parameters that they have been given.

Software that isn't designed to allow variations is more trouble than it is actually worth. I used to do a bit of web design and one of the tasks I hated most was fixing websites that had been built using compilers (like "Dreamweaver". The usual "best solution" to optimize those websites was to start all over with hand compiled html because the original coding preserved all of the bloatware that had been put in everytime the operator said "No, that's not the effect I want, let's try this."

I don't actually know how well this Grammarly thing works.

Computers are only as good as they've been programmed, and programming has been getting better.


I wouldn't be too surprised if we have some program writing entire books in 5-10 years, perhaps sooner.
 
I don't actually know how well this Grammarly thing works.

Computers are only as good as they've been programmed, and programming has been getting better.


I wouldn't be too surprised if we have some program writing entire books in 5-10 years, perhaps sooner.

That shouldn't have the slightest effect in (the majority of) "Romance", "Western", or "Detective" fiction.

Of course, since the typical (median) American has read four books in the past 12 months even then it won't have much effect in other areas as the "book consumption rate" is slowing down. I know that I'm down to fewer than eight or nine per month and I used to read a whole lot more.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top Bottom