response to Bass- Engines of Inquiry

sorry for this super-delayed blog guys….

Bass stresses in various forms that students is a vital body in the pedagogical circuit, that students learn better actively and collectively, rather than being a passive receiver. And to better facilitate students’ caliber, Bass unfolds the following aspects of learning where technology can help: distributive and dialogic learning, public accountability, authentic tasks, and reflective and critical thinking.

One intriguing point Bass brings up briefly is that when approaching a technology-based environment, some educators have difficulties to prioritize, may that be time, material coverage, or control. Bass lists out several features in ways critical thinking can be enhanced in a technology-based setting. However not only we need to ask our students to think critically, but rather us as educators to enable critical thinking before we even step into curriculum building. This interesting dilemma reminded me some of the classrooms I have been where the instructor’s’ enthusiasm for the subject resulted in a journey through every little subject-related anecdotes the instructor has hoarded over the span of years. Because of the convenience technology brings us, we are at a time in which accessing information has never been easier before, how do we use technology, not just as a tool and a device to gain access, but also to filter? As Bass points out later, “technology is merely a prop” to transfer something far more valuable. That is something for us to think about.

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For your viewing pleasure

I discovered these two films last spring while doing some research. They’re entertaining, but also extremely relevant to this week’s readings – especially Dewey, in my opinion.  This is what the progressive education he was advocating for in the late 30s might have looked like.

If you have a chance to watch these, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’m very curious how others in the class would characterize the pedagogical methods in these films. Both are examples of active learning, but do they follow Dewey’s guidelines for carefully-shaped experiential education? How do they differ (if they do) from his model? Do you think they would be equally effective, or is efficacy determined by the context and educational goals being set?

School: A Film About Progressive Education (1939, short documentary on Hessian Hills School)

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Agency and Passivity in the Digital Age: Learning with Dewey

In the first chapter, Dewey writes of “traditional” education ,

Learning here means acquisition of what already is incorporated in books and in the heads of elders. Moreover, that which is taught is thought of essentially static. It is taught as a finished product, with little regard ither to the ways in which it was originally built up or to changes that will surely occur in the future. It is to a large extent the culture product of societies that assumed the further would be much like the past, and yet is used as educational food in a society where change is the rule, not the exception (p. 19).”

When using technology as a teaching tool, how do we ensure that learning is not static? In what ways does technology reproduce the “banking method” of education? In what ways can it subvert it?

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Provocation on “What Games Have to Teach Us About Teaching and Learning: Game Design as a Model for Course and Curricular Development”

In this article , Kimon Keramidas offers a thorough definition by Jesper Juul of what a constitutes a game, as well as further expanding on the 6 characteristics which create this definition: rules, variable/quantifiable outcome, value assigned to possible outcome, player effort, negotiable consequences. Instead of giving attention to how games may be integrated into the learning environment, this article chose as its focal point what educators might extract from game design to create more successful and dynamic learning experiences for their students.

While I find it an absolutely worthwhile endeavor to analyze how education may benefit from game design (and the new technologies they encompass), much of this article echoed many of the same ideas I’ve have heard in conversations about the necessity of student-centered pedagogies. This feeling was further reinforced in the conclusion where Keramidas uses a quote expressed by influential educator and philosopher John Dewey in 1938.

“A primary responsibility of educators is that they not only be aware of the general principle of the shaping of actual experience by environing conditions, but also that they recognize in the concrete what surroundings are conducive to having experiences that lead to growth. Above all, they should utilize the surroundings, physical and social, that exist so as to extract from all that they have to contribute to building up experiences that are worth while.” – John Dewey

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Youth in the Neoliberal Age

Neoliberalism believes that we have reached the end of history, a steady-state condition of free-market capitalism that will go on replicating itself forever.
The Neoliberal Arts, Willliam Deresiewicz

Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion.
The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire

My provocation of Deresiewicz’s essay concerns the concept he puts forth of the role of youth in the age of neoliberalism. The role of youth in the neoliberal age, he argues, is different from what it was from the period of the romantics through modernity. Youth has historically been understood to inhabit the unique role of skeptical questioner of the world. Our current higher education system is skewing this expectation. With the mad rush to secure spots at perceived elite institutions for economic and philosophical reasons driven by post-modern neoliberal values, this historical role is being extinguished, with nothing unique or particularly notable to replace it. Young people are now simply small, less developed adults. But is this really true? And, what does this say about our concepts surrounding the role of adults in relation to their society?

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Notice RE: Monday’s Game-Based Learning Lab

Hi all,

If you are registered to attend the Game-Based Learning skills lab on Monday, October 24, please note the following:

The lab facilitator, Teresa Ober, asks that you bring your own laptop to the session, if possible. She would like to give you hands-on experience creating a game, which will require downloading and installing a (free) web app. The library computers in the lab space typically don’t allow students to do this, so it would be great if you had your own machine to work on.

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Gamification, Exploitation, and Games – Ian Bogost

Ian Bogost shines a dim light on the recent trend in product and service development around quantifying user experience, a trend he calls “exploitationware.” He begins his article by speaking about this trend by its more commonly used name, “gamification,” and focuses his argument on the “game” as well as the “-ify” qualifier added to it. I see issues with both aspects of his argument but will limit my provocation to just one: the linkage between gamification and games, and Bogost’s treatment of games as magical and powerful entities.

First, I’d like to point out that the type of exploitative behaviors that Bogost condemns in the implementation of gamification is widespread in game design itself. Studies have shown that many “free-to-play” games – a pricing model that rakes in millions despite the use of the term “free” – are structured around techniques employed by gambling services to entice their customer to spend as much money as possible over a long period of time via small impulsive payments that cumulatively grow beyond what the same customer might spend in a single large sum. Considering that many of these games are marketed towards children, I consider this the epitome of exploitation.

Second, while the terminology around gamification does include many game-related concepts such as points, I do not see games themselves as being the motivators of non-gaming industries adopting gamification techniques. Whether in the case of frequent flyer miles, the number of followers on your Instagram, or the leaderboards your smartwatch displays after every run, these services and products are not being “gamified” but, rather, are being made more interactive through the quantification of the level of interaction that the consumer engages in. These techniques exist in simple methods such as the card from the coffee shop that records — and rewards — my purchases and are not at all directly linked to games themselves. Games can avoid using those methods and are just as likely, if not more so, to be exploitationware when they don’t.

WikiArte Edit-a-thon at MOMA this Saturday

Hello everyone–

I just wanted you to know that this Saturday MOMA is hosting its second annual Arte y Cultura Latinoamericana (“WikiArte”) edit-a-thon starting at 10AM. For details, check the Wikipedia meetup page and/or the Facebook invite below. I will be there about 12-1pm as I have to grade papers in the morning…

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