2014 Survey Results: Using Digital Gaming in Instruction


Reposted from Games & Learning:

The state of technology and the way games are used by teachers appears to be evolving quickly. Use of tablets, while still not the primary tool for playing games in the classroom, continues to grow. The GLPC survey found that a majority of teachers still use desktop computers to play games (72%) and a sizable group (41%) is using interactive whiteboards. But still, tablets have quickly grown to equal the whiteboard usage.

This growth of mobile technology was also highlighted in a new survey from the technology and education firm Amplify. That survey found that of those not using tablets 67 percent plan to invest in them in the next 1-2 years. “Mobile technology now has a substantial presence in most school districts,” the Amplify research report found. “2014 continued the trend of steady growth in mobile technology adoption, with additional growth very likely in the next two years.”

It is also worth noting that there is no single way in which teachers have students play games in the classroom. As many have students play games individually (30%) as have them play with another classmate or in small groups up to five (34%). Notably fewer teachers (only 17%) have lessons where students play as a class.

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Using Augmented Reality in Schools


Reposted from Innovate My School:

“Augmented Reality (AR) is cutting-edge technology that allows for a digitally enhanced view of the real world, uncovering hidden images, videos and texts to the user when the ‘trigger’ (or ‘marker’) image or item is scanned by a camera, adding layers of digital information directly on top of objects around us. Essentially, AR is hidden content, most commonly hidden behind marker images, that can be included in printed and film media, as long as the marker is displayed for a suitable length of time, in a steady position for an application (on a device such as a tablet or smartphone, by means of a camera) to identify and analyse it.

In schools, this technology can be used in many ways, the most exciting of which supports the control and programming demands of the new computing curriculum. This article shares a range of easy-to-create examples of Augmented Reality that could be used with your students; all you will need is a device such as an iPad with camera, and a suitable AR app installed on it. Note that these activities can be easily adapted to suit any age group or curriculum subject.

Becoming literate in the 21st century puts new demands on learners to be able to use technology to access, analyse, and organise information. Research around current practice of AR in schools (of which there is still relatively little, especially in the UK) has shown me that most of the teachers employing AR favour the free app ‘Aurasma’. Aurasma allows users to engage in and create Augmented Reality experiences (‘auras’) of their own; my list of suggested AR activities below highlight how both teachers and pupils can use this open source tool to essentially bring their learning to life.”

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App-Transcendence: 8 Touchstones for Learning Augmented with Technology

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Reposted from TED Ideas:

“It’s a multi-headed challenge: Teachers need to connect with classrooms filled with distinct individuals. We all want learning to be intrinsically motivated and mindful, yet we want kids to test well and respond to bribes (er, extrinsic rewards). Meanwhile, there’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, in the US alone, hoping to sell apps and tech tools to school boards. There’s no app for that. But there are touchstones for bringing technology into the classroom. With educational goals as the starting point, not an afterthought, teachers can help students use — and then transcend — technology as they learn.

“App-transcendence,” says Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard’s graduate school of education who is known for his theory of multiple intelligences, “is when you put the apps away and use your own wits, not someone else’s.” To help kids get to that point, Gardner suggests that teachers and parents “ask who created the technology and for what purpose, to what extent is it flexible, to what extent are the data produced going to be used by the manufacturer and the creator? In other words, interrogate the technology, interrogate the software. The existence of it is nice, but that’s not a mandate to use it.”

The following is what teachers (and parents) need to know when looking at the increasingly lucrative landscape of apps, learning systems, MOOCs and hardware. Already, K–12 schools represent a $600 billion market. Keeping up with the deluge of products is impossible and really not all that helpful. Instead, these 8 touchstones — based on research and backed by good common sense and teacher know-how — will outlast any technology life cycle.”

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One of the key concepts that came out of the STEM movement ten years back was technology fluency: the incidental and seamless use of technology tools to achieve learning and productivity goals within a discipline or profession. It was significant to distinguish instructional technology from technology as a distinct body of knowledge. Fluency takes the use of technology to the next level; the age of mere technology integration was over.

So how is it, ten years later, everything I read coming out of ed tech social media touts the goal of technology integration, as if it has not already occurred? It’s headlined in conferences, webinars, books and blogs. You would think we were still trying to convince people that technology needed a place in teaching and learning.

The concept of fluency is out there. Gurus and practitioners alike are happy to pronounce the importance of technology-enriched learning experiences “not being about the technology.” My question is: why are educators still trying to make the case? It’s almost as though by talking about it, we ensure that it continues to BE about the technology.

Look at your Twitter feed on any given day. Teachers and tech specialists are posting lessons and strategies for specific brands and models of technology. The premise is that it’s about the learning, but the underlying message is it’s still about the technology.

Vendors must love it, to have educators promoting their hardware and software as if it’s THE way to successfully enrich learning. The culture is so brand-centric, we have entire cadres of teachers proudly posting on their profiles their vendor-conferred designations as “distinguished” this and “certified” that and unwittingly promoting technology brands in the process.


The entire ed tech culture is stuck in its identification with technology brands. And I get it. We love to tinker and learn new tools. It’s like Christmas whenever a new pallet of hardware arrives for deployment. New apps that continue to make collaboration, learning and assessment easier and more effective come out every week. We can literally spend our entire careers chasing the next big breakthrough in what tech has to offer. It’s exciting and stimulating and engaging. But what does any of it have to do with tech fluency?

What other profession spends its time touting its tech toys? When you go into your bank, is technology in your face? How about at your local shopping mall? Your doctor’s office? Supermarket? Gas station? Restaurant? No; the technology is only evident if you look for it. Technology is woven into the background of business processes and professional practices. The tech experts that support these places are all about seamless functionality that support and (more importantly) don’t disrupt business. Why should education be different? Why is it still about the technology?

This year, as we continue our journey living-and-learning-and-doing-and-creating-and-sharing-and-celebrating human potential, I implore ed techies and educators everywhere to thoughtfully, consciously move towards the seamless, incidental use of technology, rather than the gadget-centered tech-gluttony that is pervasive and preventing us from fulfilling its promise.

I’ve been saying it for years: “If we work to realize the promise of technology in the classroom, we are working our way out of our jobs.” It goes against our instincts and interests as techies, but if we are doing our job well, teachers will become self-confident in their technology fluency and the hardware and software will become part of the learning environment backdrop.

What’s you M.O.? Self-interest and self-preservation, or contributing to a new epoch of human innovation and achievement? Stop using “technology integration” in your instructional technology dialogue. Model, argue and advocate for technology fluency.


What Differentiation Is, And What It Isn’t… [INFOGRAPHIC]


For all the talk about differentiating instruction over the years, there are still so many different interpretations of what it looks like in the classroom, when the truth is there are very clear parameters for DI that bear themselves out in the research literature.

Consider the definition of differentiation, what it is and what it is not, provided in this ASCD infographic from the new second edition of Carol Ann Tomlinson’s highly acclaimed “The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners” (ASCD, 2014). 

Post it where you work, share it with colleagues, and circulate it online to help everyone keep clear understanding of best practices for differentiating instruction in mind!


Langwitches: Blogging as Pedagogy

Langwitches: Blogging as Pedagogy

Silvia Rosenthol Tolisano shares her framework for blogging as a method of instruction in this infographic. The four pillars are reflecting, reading, writing and sharing on top of which are lists of approaches, strategies and digital techniques that teachers can use to facilitate learning. See more of Silvia’s work on her Langwitches blog at http://langwitches.org/blog/


Technology in Education: A Future Classroom

Nemroff Pictures created this video (2:42) of what the future classroom will look like, including individualized learning options, holographic keyboards and screens, open secure wireless access, context-sensitive devices and flexible movement between local networks. The elements that surprise me are students are still attending school in classrooms, and teachers still standing at the front of instructional spaces. If all this connectedness, mobility and holography are available, why would students still be anchored to bricks-and-mortar physical facilities? Your input and insights on this are welcomed!