Time to Play!

Let’s be honest.  Games are super fun.  I like them.  I’m sure you like them too, reader.  But when played in the classroom, sometimes, most of the time, they don’t look like ‘conventional teaching’.

And that is a good thing.

As most of the readings on gamification state, using games in education is not a novelty.  Educators all over the world have been using educational games for decades in order to engage their students.  I remember when I used to teach English to adults back in the start of my career, the one thing that would get my class going at at 8pm was a quick language game.  There was this competitive streak, innate to all human beings, to participate, learn quickly and beat the other opponent/team.  It was awesome.  And whether I did it for a short time at the beginning to get everyone going or as a formative assessment to check how much they  had acquired, everyone had fun and that was my main goal.

Enter 21st century technology.  Back then, the only technology I used for gaming was flyswatters on a whiteboard, where students had to swat the past participle of an irregular verb I called out… I’m literally laughing out loud as I remember how awesome it was 🙂

Gaming in classrooms, especially one-to-one environments, cannot escape the use of gaming for learning.  There is so much out there that engages students of all ages!  It also allows students to acquire skills that make them feel successful.  For instance, an ELL playing PopWords against an opponent in his class or anywhere else in the world, doesn’t have to worry about making mistakes with a word they don’t know.  Rather they get to explore the different ways they can form words, and when they form a word they don’t know, they quickly learn it in order to use it in the future and become ‘better’ at playing the game.  It’s a win, win situation.

Although this might be a very simple way of looking at gamification for education as I know there are all sorts of games out there that reinforce all kinds of learning in all subjects, I think the most important aspect of gaming is the engagement of our learners.  If a game can present students with situations where they have to think in different ways, see things from different perspectives, use diverse problem-solving skills and challenge themselves to learn new things, I can certainly see the relevance, or even importance of gaming in any classroom.



From Scratch

I’ll keep this post short and allow my C3 project to speak for itself and tell the story.  But I couldn’t not post about the experience of creating this project.  I’m very proud of the project itself, but making it was some of the funnest times I’ve had on a COETAIL assignment 🙂

It should be noted that it is very overwhelming to start a project from scratch.  Having a set of directions and the freedom to create can become a daunting task with too many ideas bouncing around in ones head.  But more so than the product, the experience of creating is really what will be valuable authentic learning.  During this planning process, there were some standout things that I hope that my students ‘do’ whenever they are creating.

  • KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.  The product of your project should be something you will be proud of, reflect your creativity and deliver your message.
  • WORK COLLABORATIVELY.  Whether you are making something with a partner, in a group or individually, surround yourself with people whose work you respect and who can help you get your creative juices going.  Working with Liz on our project, a colleague I respect and a friend I love, was certainly the highlight of this process!
  • HAVE FUN.  Use tools that you like and that will reflect your creativity, take your time and create a space where you can focus and enjoy your work.

Can’t wait for what Course 4 has in store!

A letter to Creative Commons, Part 1

Dear Creative Commons,

I’m writing to you to tell you how much I admire you and your work.  I heard about you for the first time from Jabiz Raisdana at the Learning 2.012 Conference in Beijing.  I love the idea of everyone’s creativity being shared and ‘piggybacked’ on by others.  Like the ripples of some endless sea of collaboration.  Really, kudos to this.

But CC, (can I call you CeeCee?) I’m having some conflicting thoughts about this sharing and collaboration system.  I value creativity greatly, mainly because I’m not very creative myself and I admire people who are.  I’m lucky that I’m surrounded by creative minds, some are family members, others colleagues, and of course, students of all ages.   I’m usually not the one creating, but the one being inspired or prompted by others’ creativity.  And from that creativity, I have had some success… Because of what someone else has created that inspired me.  So here’s the thing: I. Feel. Bad.  And it’s not that I’m not giving others credit, I just think they deserve more than just that.  Should I feel this way? Do you have any advice for me to appease my conflicting thoughts? I really hope you do 🙂

Anyway CC, I’ve been asked by COETAIL to think and reflect on you, and use you as well.  I’m learning how to embed pictures and Jeff, our fearless leader, is adding a CC license on our blog.  Or wait, maybe I’m supposed to do that…?  Still wrapping my head around course 2.  I’ll get there.  But your thoughts would be greatly appreciated CC! And I really hope that as I explore, well, you, during this course; that it helps me understand you better and my admiration for you is only reinforced!!

Ceci (Seh-See) Gomez-Galvez
Teacher & COETAILer


Does Twitter Count?

As I was going over my COETAIL assignments, I realized I was missing one!  Oops!  This reflection is all about collaborative online projects.  I struggled with this since there are so many out there, yet, none of them I’m currently collaborating on.  Not just that, the amount of choice overwhelmed me a bit and I couldn’t think of which one to reach out to for collaboration.  While opening an array of tabs with different projects, I kept on checking back to my Tweetdeck, posting new tweets, responding to tweets, retweeting, adding links, hashtagging… And then it hit me… Aren’t I participating in a collaborative  online project? Isn’t Twitter the ultimate collaborative online project?

So I this is what I want to reflect upon: the impact Twitter has had in my professional learning and the way I collaborate with others through this medium.  But instead of a long-winded blog post on how great and wonderful I think Twitter is, I will represent my collaboration through some key images of my Twitter world.

A screenshot of my current Twitter profile

Me on Twtitter using Discovr People

A screenshot of my Tweetdeck, which I keep open on a separate desktop on my Mac at all times 🙂

These are snapshots of a an online collaboration I am a part of everyday, constantly changing, moving, updating, learning, connecting, geeking, sharing…  So, does this count?

iCollaborate – An interactive wall

Here’s a WMC (Weapon of Mass Collaboration, loving this term!).  I created an interactive wall for “messing around” 🙂  I used Padlet (aka Wallwisher).   Give it try! Let me know if there are any bugs. While you’re using it, think of many ways you could use this to collaborate, learn & share with others.  How can you use this tool in a team meeting? How about your classroom?

Too small for you to type? Click here for the direct link to the wall.

Weapons of Mass Collaboration..?

That’s the first time I hear this term.  And I love it.  I’m currently on holiday, on a remote little island in the Philippines, sitting by the ocean, feeling the breeze, hearing the waves, and using a collaboration tool where readers from different parts of the globe will (hopefully) read this post.  This is a perfect example of how learning, sharing & collaboration has evolved in the past few years.  We are indeed in the Collaboration Age.

As I reflect on Will Richardson’s ‘World Without Walls: Learning Well with Others’, I think of the role I’m partaking in this age of collaboration.  As an educator, it’s imperative that I  not only think about it, but that I adapt to it.  How can I become a better ‘connector’ for my students? How can I “model my own editorial skills” while still stick to ‘what should be taught’?  It is all about willingness to share, as Will points out, but it’s seen so rarely.  How can I start? And how can I serve as a model to others?

I’ll start with this:  I will take risks and allow myself to make mistakes.  I will share with others what I’ve experienced, and hope my experiences guide others to achieve their goals.  I will think of my peers and students as collaborators to my learning.  I will use these ‘weapons’ in my favor and see where it takes me.