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  • jarvise 12:36 pm on October 19, 2011
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    Tags: , e-portfolio   

    I have attempted blogging in both secondary math and science classes with some success. I am being broad in my use of the term ‘blogging’ here, since my math blog was officially a wiki (but was basically being used in the same way as a blog). A couple of years ago, my first attempt to […]

    Continue reading Day 2 – A teacher’s reflection Posted in: Week 07: Blogs
    • Angela Novoa 4:28 pm on October 19, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Emily, Interesting post. Two things that I’ve seen either on MET courses and my course blogs with my students that were successful for motivating them to participate were:

      1. First: students portfolios were transformed in ePortfolios through the blog. So all their assignments would be published on the course blog.
      2. Second: providing feedback and having peer evaluations through the blog was positive to promote students’ participation in this medium, because both activities allowed them to improve on further evaluations.

      Blogging requires a huge commitment, but facilitates to check the progress of students.

    • Deb Kim 12:24 pm on October 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thank you for your insights on blogging. I agree with you that “[i]n order to really be blogging, we are selecting what to talk about, how to present it, what swing to put on it, who to gear it towards, and are getting something out of it ourselves”. That’s probably why many blogs are discontinued.
      Just like what you did for your math classes, I also created a course blog to post handouts, information on quizzes/tests, project information and rubric, and extra worksheets. It’s been working well not just for students with sporadic attendance but also for those who are usually slow at digesting what they learn in each class. I also gave username and password to parents so that they can monitor what’s going on in each class. My blog has agenda for each class, so it’s easy for them to follow. The course blog has become my “electronic lesson planner” as well.


    • Keisha Edwards-Hamilton 6:47 pm on October 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      I agree with your recommendations for successful blogging in classrooms. I must add that we must be mindful when of using blogs since it cannot be used for all course content, hence we have to carefully examine the topic before introducing blogs. In addition, we must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of integrating blogging in our classroom practices for more efffective blogging.


    • Juliana 7:53 pm on October 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Emily,

      I am glad that you brought up the intention of blogging. I think that is an important thing to consider when introducing blogging in the classroom. Why are we doing this and what learning gains are we looking for in the student. I guess that is true of any technology that we do incorporate in the classroom.

      As a venture do you see blogs being used more effectively in a classroom setting?


      • jarvise 7:26 am on October 21, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Definitely. If you were to provide a list of templates, with built-in structure based on use intents for beginners you could sell this service. Other value added features could be listing the to dos for getting started, links to topics such as dealing with appropriate use and privacy, might help with marketing too. Teachers want legwork done.

    • hall 3:58 am on October 23, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I like your recommendations; they are very useful for a new blogger. But I particularly like the way you used blogging with your mathematics students. I will certainly attempt to use your strategies with my math students. I think they are very good.

  • jarvise 1:54 pm on October 13, 2011
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    Tags: ,   

    I know, it doesn’t seem fair, but it is what it is. The ipad, right now, is the main game in town (wow – I just can’t stop with the game references). Why? It has the e-reader plus more. I am a recent user of an ipad 2, and a veteran user of a Kobo. […]

    Continue reading iPad vs everything else… Posted in: Week 06: eBooks
    • jenaca 5:08 am on October 14, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hey Emily,
      Very interesting post! I currently have a kobo, although I am very interested in upgrading to the one and only “Ipad”! I think your title is dead on…Ipads are the number one device that can virtually do everything! I really don’t think others compare, unless you are only interested in reading. Then I would have to compare the features of the ereaders more specifically.

    • ifeoma 9:09 pm on October 14, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Emily,
      It would be a great thing to have school boards have their own ebook stores or library and students can come with their own ereaders (possessing all these features you have mentioned in the last paragraph) to access whatever text in class and study and discuss together, enabling collaboration in class with the ereaders. What a wonderful world of ereading 🙂

  • jarvise 4:40 am on October 10, 2011
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    A big thank you to all for an engaging, collaborative week of Game Based Learning analysis. The discussions were enlightening (and fun!) and we saw various ways of engaging with, and analyzing the effectiveness of, games for learning. There were several very formal analyses done, and others that were more of a quick overview of […]

    Continue reading Concluding Week 5 Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • bcourey 5:32 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great job Tamara, Michelle, Julie, Emily and Andrew! You gave me an opportunity to try our a lot of games that I had not heard of and opened my eyes to the possibilities that go beyond simple practice of skills that I expected to see – the idea of embedding so many social justice issues into a game format was new to me – as a non-gamer, I see I have been missing an opportunity to bring what I want the students to know, into a format that they love. Thanks for that! As for market venture potential – I can see that there is room to make games that deal with complex concepts – and seeing how some of the games fell a bit short on this, there is room to make them even better.

    • jenaca 6:22 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great Job Week 5- Tamara, Michelle, Julie, Emily and Andrew! You gave me a new insight to games and education that I had not focused on before. I really enjoyed the way you set up the week and how you had us actually try games out to see what we thought about them. It was a great way to learn more about different games and their purposes!
      I also appreciated sharing our personal experiences about gaming and learning about the ways others interacted with them….I wonder if we were to ask younger students the same question whether their answers would be more focused on “yes, we are familiar”…but more specifically what game they are familiar with!
      Great Presentation.

    • Karen Jones 10:55 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the opportunity to explore this area of learning that I tend to forget or ignore in my curriculum planning, Team 5. It got me looking back at previous course work and considering it in a new light. As well, I now have a number of interesting games bookmarked, and will look at incorporating them into my classes.

      I really liked how you set up your platform, wiki, and the discussion. You’ve set the standard for the rest of us to aspire to.

      Great work,

    • Deb Giesbrecht 6:07 pm on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Excellent week guys! Thanks for enlightening us!

    • Deb Kim 6:50 pm on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thank you for doing such a great job! It was truly an interesting topic to discuss.
      You all did an excellent work:)


    • Jay 9:32 am on October 11, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for engaging us all this week! Well done

  • jarvise 9:34 am on October 6, 2011
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    Hi everyone, I was listening to Q this morning, and heard Jian’s introductory essay, devoted to the life and work of Steve Jobs, who passed away yesterday. It got me thinking of our Founders Parade posts from last week. What a game-changer this guy was. You can hear it  here. I was thinking about how […]

    Continue reading Steve Jobs – Ultimate Innovator Posted in: Blog Café
    • Karen Jones 10:29 am on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Emily,

      I found it interesting how sad I felt about Job’s relatively premature demise, and how much I was reflecting about his accomplishments in the light of an ETEC 522 perspective, as well. Thanks for giving the heads up about Jian’s essay – that is a must download podcast! (Gotta love him -saw him and George S. last Friday at CBC Culture Days <3)

      Wish I had 1/1000 of his ability to think outside of the box. Oh! That wasn't a direct jab at PC's! ;-D


    • David Vogt 10:57 am on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for this shout for Steve.

      I was wondering if, a century further down the line, if Jobs will still be a household name like Edison and Einstein? I certainly feel his impact on the world was (& will be) at least as significant, but I’m curious whether society’s capacity or process for embedding greatness has changed? Anyone have thoughts on this? Perhaps it is mostly a function of the school system, and whether Jobs can be curriculumized in effective ways.

      Speaking of schools (and I’m inviting irate debate here, perhaps to be championed by our iPad team!), as great as Apple’s devices have been, they never managed to produce an insanely great learning machine or platform. Not that anyone else has either – in almost all cases the primary technologies at use in schools were designed for “office” or “entertainment” applications, not learning. I guess what I’m saying is that I feel the world is radically ready for the Steve Jobs of learning. May s/he join us soon.

      • Karen Jones 11:25 am on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        I just posed the question, “Do you think Steve Job’s name will be as famous as Einstein’s in 10 years?” in my grade 10 science class. While the majority of the students knew who Jobs was and that he died yesterday, they didn’t think they’d remember his name. One said because the Apple brand wasn’t paired with his name, others said that they knew Einstein, but not what he was famous for, and another said that Jobs didn’t make anything to do with education (I didn’t prompt that!). Does technology move too fast to teach about people? Do people become famous today only if they appear in the media via TV, music, and Youtube?

        Interesting discussion!

        • Angela Novoa 5:27 pm on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          Hi Karen, great reflections. I was thinking on this issue too. As technologies are changing so fast and information does change too I am not sure how future generations will see the impact caused by people like Steve Jobs. Today I was discussing with my students of grade 9 how we should think critically about the information we receive through massive media (TV, Youtube, etc).

        • ifeoma 7:03 pm on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          Hi KJ,
          These are interesting responses from your students. I guess they need something to make the connections between the innovator and innovation .It would be interesting to see how they are connecting the dots and answering your question about popularity being based on media exposure. That for the net generation may prove true. For the students you teach, The Ipod or Ipad or Iphone may have been the reason they got to know anything about Steve jobs in the first place. In the case of Eistein, I guess being in a science class may have been the reason they know him even without knowing how come. I wonder though if this is related to learning in traditional mode and learning with technology…

        • Deb Giesbrecht 8:37 am on October 9, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          Interesting post Karen……..ask your Grade 10 students if they know reality stars like Kim Kardashian and the contribution they have made to society. Your answers might very well be different.

          I agree that Steve Jobs name is not synonymous with Apple and therefore people have difficulty associating the two. For our project (I am on the iPad team), I researched Steve Jobs and we have a short bio on him and Apple on our Wiki. His management and leadership style had a lot of controversy attached to it. It is said that his employees would not want to ride in the same elevator as him as they feared they may not have a job by the time the elevator door opened again. Management by fear is generally not a good way to go.

          His contributions though cannot be debated. He has over 300 patents in his name. He is credited though, not with creating something, as much as taking somebody else’s idea and making it great.

          As far as ipad and education goes, the potential is great, but we are not there yet and have a long way to go. Historically, the education system is slow to change and moving forward / change management has always been an issue. The constant upgrading or keeping up with technology is difficult and expensive on a personal level, never mind on a corporate level. What is in this year is history by next, and the public cost is high if we continue down that road within the education institutions.

          The question between Edison/Einstein and Jobs is no debate …….we would be typing in the dark if it were not for the aforementioned contributors.

      • mcquaid 12:13 pm on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        I think, perhaps, that Jobs will be remembered years later for his contribution (or at least change) to how we interact with music (where we get it, how we listen to it, how artists get paid, how bands connect to fans, etc.) more than anything else.
        In the Edison vs. Jobs comparison, I noticed Dave Bidini say something rather apropos (albeit a little – characteristically – off-colour) on Facebook today:
        “again, respectfully: jobs v edison. no way. edison gave the world light. jobs gave the world milfs. not that i’m not grateful…”
        While it’s a little off the mark, I think it at least gets the point across on how monumental Edison’s achievements were compared to other creators of our time. There would be no Jobs without Edison.

        • Julie S 2:29 pm on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          Remembered just for the music? Really? How about these products?


          Not sure I understand Bidini’s reference to Jobs gave the world milfs, he sure doesn’t come across as very informed. But I guess that’s the point about whether or not you remember an innovator. Which raises the question, does it matter if an innovator is remember by the masses or not?

          • mcquaid 3:59 pm on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

            Not JUST for his influence on the music industry, but mostly for it. Just my bias, I guess, since I’m a music buff but have never owned an Apple product.

      • Allie 12:12 pm on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        It’s interesting that you remark, David, about Apple not developing a great learning machine or platform (the eMac came to mind!). For me, this is interesting because after my ‘founders parade’ profile of Emantras.com last week, I’ve been revising my position on tablets and learning apps (their learning apps are tremendous). So much so that I’m investigating learning a programming language to add to my skillset as an educational technologist – so that I may develop the ability to program apps.

        Where this is going is that while I was initially thinking about learning Objective-C, which is the most widely used language for Apple mobile device apps, I’m now thinking of learning Java, the most widely used language for Android apps (of course, there are now technologies that enable one to program for both at the same time). My hunch is that while Apple is the technology leader that innovated tablets and brought them into the mainstream (and all others seem to be aping the iPhone/iPad) when tablets become increasingly common, it’s most likely – I think – that Android will have the largest market share in education.

        (during this time I also lost my iPod touch for about a week, and was *really* missing my apps).

    • verenanz 11:55 am on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Honestly- I knew his face…but I didn’t know his name until i was researching content for my Entrepreneurship 12 class…

      This is the link to his famous Stanford address:


      Maybe he won’t be remembered for his name….but standing in front of Stanford graduates and telling them you don;t need a college degree to succeed takes a lot of guts.

      In his speech….I heard him, almost plead the idea that education has to be more open to change. It can’t be restricted, there are no bad ideas….and it is definitely not something to “constrain” people…it needs to be open and flexible and student focused….

      His personal story is amazing….and just proves that anyone can do anything is they put their heart and mind to it….


      • Julie S 2:02 pm on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Wow, you didn’t know his name?

        I grew up with Apple and thought that Steve Jobs was synonomous. My first thought in response to David’s post was that his name will never be forgotten. How wrong could I be?

        I agree with the insights you found in Jobs’ Stanford speech. I had watched this a couple of times in the past and found it very inspirational but I didn’t pick up on how clear his message to the schools is for the need for change. He has planted a seed, or rather many seeds of change. He’s also been responsible for creating some fertile ground for that change in learning institutions to take root which is just as important.

        Innovators build on each other. Who knows which new innovators will emerge as a result.

        – Julie

    • Deb Kim 6:31 pm on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I was also shocked by the news that Jobs passed away yesterday. I found it out when I logged on to Facebook. It was a little surprising that all the recent posts were about expressing their condolences. Then, I realized how much Apple (at least iPhone) had affected many people’s lives, including mine. I was also a little concerned and curious at the same time about the future of Apple. Will there ever be a person who is “outside of the box” like Steve Jobs? Will there be new innovative technology tools like iPhone and iPad developed in the future? I hope so. I do believe that, just like us human beings, technologies have evolved for many years and will continue to evolve. Jobs has inspired many of us and his contributions have affected the lives of many people around the world. I hope that there are more contributors to technology like Jobs in the near future.
      RIP to Steve Jobs.


    • Keisha Edwards-Hamilton 6:54 am on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I too am very sorry about Steve’s passing. We have surely lost an innovative stalwart in the technology industry. He has contributed so much. His legacy will definitely live on.


    • Tamara Wong 5:53 pm on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      This discussion about Steve Jobs is interesting and I wanted to mention 2 things. The first one is a testament to how important he is to so many people. I was exploring my biggest time waster – pintrest and I immediately noticed many images and quotes from Steve Jobs popping up which prompted me to look at the news and find out that he had passed. I was surprised that the world of pintresters had reacted so quickly – a testament to his importance.
      My second comment is about the Steve Jobs/ Edison comparison. I don’t think he will be compared to Edison but I have already heard him compared to Henry Ford. Ford created an entire industry around his product and then supplied wages to his workers to buy his product. Steve Jobs created a similar empire surrounding his product. He was certainly a great innovator and a great example for us budding entrepreneurs.

    • hall 6:59 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      It is so sad whenever someone die but it is worst when an influential person like Steve Jobs dies. I think he will always be remembered for his innovative contribution made to the technology industry.

  • jarvise 6:41 pm on October 2, 2011
    0 votes


    Are you ready to rumble? Are you game? What’s in the cards for the week? You can get started right away by jumping straight to our wordpress site. All of the materials and instructions are there, but discussions will take place here (on the 522 blog). Our site is also connected from the Wiki Landing […]

    Continue reading Welcome to week 5: Digital Game Based Learning for Adults Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • David William Price 11:55 am on October 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      From a quick skim, very impressive resource! Nice work! I look forward to going through it later this week. Congrats on being the first team and setting the bar high.

    • ifeoma 5:59 pm on October 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Jarvise,
      Congratulations! on a job well done I particularly like the section of the blog captioned “The Experience.” I am always amazed at the information that can come out of group assignments such as this. I have not done much gaming in years, but it is clear to me that the statistics you presented show that the industry stakes it’s own.
      Looking forward to the rumble !

    • jenaca 6:37 am on October 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Team 5- You have done a wonderful job with your presentation. Everything is organized perfectly and easy to navigate and find things!!!
      I love the opening sentence!!!

    • themusicwoman 12:43 pm on October 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks, all. We are all looking forward to your responses over the week!

    • Deb Kim 3:08 pm on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I’m impressed by your WordPress site as well as Wiki. Thank you for the work.


  • jarvise 6:40 pm on October 2, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: discussion 1, personal experience   

    When I started thinking about digital game-based learning, I had a flashback to a learning game I played in Entrepreneurship in Junior High School. It was a game that involved running a basic business (hot dog stand). Although it was lame, I remember it. It was something different from what we were normally doing in […]

    Continue reading Discussion 1: Personal gaming experience Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • schiong 5:34 pm on October 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Interesting topic. Well, my first “digital” game experience was with Atari console and Game & Watch. At that time, I never really considered those games as educational. It was more on entertainment purposes.

    • Karen Jones 6:50 pm on October 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Oh wow! I thought I would be the only gaming non-participant in this crowd, but I see from some comments that not all Gen X’ers are proponents! Being about a million years old, I have played Pong and Tetris once or twice, and have even enjoyed Rock Band once. So when we had to investigate games in ETEC 510 (Design of Learning Environments) I did approach the task of ‘immersing’ myself in the two modern-style educational games of Contagion and Lure of the Labyrinth with some trepidation.

      While I totally appreciated the focus of both designs on the active critical engagement of the player, two hours was definitely not enough to scope out even an overview of the design features. I really don’t know how I would use these type of educational games in a classroom. I do like how they aim to change perspectives on global issues, but structuring a unit to include them leaves me scratching my head! I am hoping to get some ideas and change my bias against gaming, in general 😉

    • andrea 8:41 pm on October 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      The first educational game I played (and probably one of the few I’ve every really spent much time with) was ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego’. At the time I’d barely spent any time on the computer, so using the computer for anything was still a novelty. As a life-long mystery fan the game was perfect for me, despite my (at the time) appalling geography skills. I remember wanting to win, even though I’m not really a game-oriented person.

      My memory was that the graphics were great, but I realize now that was just relative to the other computer programs I used at school! Having just spent a bit of time on Google I was laughing about the look & feel of the game. It’s basic, but the upside of that is that it’s straightforward for all of us who were at that time new to computers.

      • jarvise 2:40 pm on October 5, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        I played that too! I used to know tons of flags, just from that game. That was a pretty cool side effect.


    • Doug Smith 5:26 am on October 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Like Karen, I had never played an educational game until ETEC 510. I must say that I found the two games Contagion and Lure of the Labyrinth to be confusing, unmotivating and I don’t recall learning anything in particular. However, these games were clearly trying to reach a particular type of constructivist pedagogy which required dedicated time. I just don’t have the time to spend on games right now, nor was my goal to reach the learning objectives o the video game. So it should not be surprising that those games did not interest me. They required a certain amount of dedication or persistence that could not be afforded in my circumstance.

    • Angela Novoa 11:47 am on October 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi everyone,
      I have not had a personal experience with digital game-based learning, but I have seen a project of a teacher who integrated role video games to reduce bullying at his class (were students were extremely poor). The results were amazing. I saw how that video game promoted problem solving and collaboration.
      When I see my husband playing with his friends a PS3 game (he usually plays role games) I see how they develop creativity having a good time. My husband always had attentional disorders when child. He had bad grades and always was on the edge of failing. But now he is an extraordinary professional that always seeks to launch new ideas. I think that digital game-based learning would help him to succeed on school when he was younger.

    • Deb Kim 2:33 pm on October 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Game-based learning… What an interesting topic!

      I remember playing keyboard typing games when I was in middle school in Korea. Words would fall down from the top of the screen and I had to type them out before they hit the bottom of the screen. This game was for keyboarding class.

      I also like simulation games such as Sim City or games which you build a city/amusement park/village and give your “citizens” jobs and duties. I have games like

      RanchRush (you need to build a farm, grow plant, and sell them)
      Yard Sale (you need to find hidden treasures or items and do some missions on creating furniture using what you find)
      Waldo (exactly the same as Where’s Waldo?)
      SmurfGrabber (you need to grab items to complete missions)
      FamilyFeud (exactly the same as the TV show)

      on my iPhone. I still love to play these simulation/role-playing games or word puzzle games in my spare time. I was interested in these kinds of games even more when I was younger because I used to want to become a 3D game/movie designer. I think these help me develop creativity and patience while enjoying what I do.

    • kstooshnov 8:59 pm on October 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great topic, and trying to think of one personal gaming experience is quiet the challenge, as the only thing I really remember of the PET computer and Atari I spent hours playing on were the clunky cassette/cartridges and those awesome 80’s graphics. More memorable was when I moved up to the Nintendo Entertainment System. My all-time favourite game was the Legend of Zelda, and one of the feature that was so innovative at the time was map of Hyrule which was revealed one block at a time, each time the character Link visited a new area.

      When I was moved to Japan (the centre of the gamer’s world!) I had the eerie flashback experience while getting used to my new home, making a mental map of the city one block at a time. When I told this to another English teacher, a cool new friend from Portland, Oregon, he understood exactly what I was talking about, being a longtime fan of old NES titles. Although neither of us had to battle strange creature or find hidden treasures, we each could build upon our gaming experience and adapt to being in a new country, just like Nintendo had programmed us to do. Thank you, Japanese games!

      • jarvise 2:43 pm on October 5, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        That is an interesting effect of Nintendo-playing. And when you really think about it, that is a major component to gaming. Immersing yourself in a new environment, figuring out the ropes, learning how to get around and avoid catastrophe. Something to that…


    • Jim 3:57 pm on October 5, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Just for fun, I am thinking back to the first computer games I ever played, educational or otherwise. I won’t count “Pong” as it was on a self-contained unit. Perhaps the first game I played was on a terminal connected to a PDP11-34 mini-computer in high school. It was a text based adventure game. I think it was called adventure and it looked something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ADVENT_–_Will_Crowther%27s_original_version.png

      My evaluation of the game is that it was utterly amazing to me at the time! You have to remember that this was 1983. This was a text based game but the best thing was that I was making the decisions. The game progress based on my will. It wasn’t like a book or a movie. I controlled the course of the story. I was even IN the story. Even though it was pure text, it was still interactive. Another cool program I just thought of is ELIZA–it was a kind of text based therapist. You typed in stuff, and the computer would respond with questions and gave the illusion it was really talking to you. It was pretty easy to fool and it would not pass the Turing Test, but it was quite cool.

      • kstooshnov 9:53 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hmm, text-based games, did you ever play Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? I never saw it until a couple days ago, and this youtube clip gives an amusing account of all the work that goes into scoring 10/400 points. Wonder if anyone finished the game?

        • Jim 11:13 am on October 9, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          No, I have not played it but it looks very similar to the Adventure game. I think the designers of these games had to strike a balance between fun and challenge. If players find the game to difficult to figure out, or if the way they interact with the game is too arbitrary, it will not be fun. If it is too easy, it isn’t fun either. I remember become quite frustrated with the hoops I had to jump through in these text based games.

    • David Vogt 4:18 pm on October 5, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      As a personal experience related to game-based learning, my first learning technologies company, Brainium, was launched in 1995. We delivered all of middle-school science online as a serial progression of immersive games. I offer the date because there were people (including me) doing web-based learning games long before Mark Prensky (who is a friend and colleague) created a buzz around it. And it wasn’t until about 2003 that the academic community climbed aboard with a scholarly focus on “serious games”. So my first point is that when it comes to sourcing the newest digital ideas, universities aren’t the best place to look.

      When I founded Brainium I was absolutely sure that by now (2011) every curriculum at every learning level would be available in an effective gaming context, yet to be brutally honest we’re not any further ahead than in 1995. The multiple reasons for this are worthy of a deep discussion of its own. For example, Brainium was ultimately killed because textbook publishers managed to exclude it from purchasing lists – they didn’t want their money train challenged. Most elite electronic games companies still see education as a “get rich slow” marketplace and avoid it completely. So my second point is, despite the bravado surrounding learning games expressed so far, there are deep structural issues within education (both formal and informal) that are preventing them from being adopted. Why is that, and which of you will be able to design the breakthrough games (actually, it will be a breakthrough business model) that will change this?

      My third point is that there seems to be an unfortunate gulf between formal and informal learning when it comes to learning games. Meaning that learning games are almost exclusively informal. Why is that? In 1997 we started working on a new product that would teach digital literacy (and 21st century skills) that was entirely cross-curricular, so that accountable competency could be attained, maintained and certified within any, or several, curricula. It never got to market (another set of reasons), but what I was most proud of within that product (remember it was 1997) was that it was fully personalized and adaptive (meaning that the games would automatically go in a different, remedial direction if the learner made it apparent that they didn’t understand the concept being gamed. I’m shocked that we’re not seeing more of these kinds of ideas in today’s learning games. Can anybody guess why not?

      As a final reflection, I’ll say that in 1998 I was approached by a Ministry of Education (unnamed) offering a contract to embed the Grade 12 Physics graduation exam entirely within a gaming context. The idea was to get away from equations as much as possible and test students on their understanding of physical concepts (which can be done beautifully within games). I responded at the time that it was a brilliant idea but not possible then. It is now – perhaps somebody else wants to take this on?

      • Karen Jones 7:00 pm on October 5, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        OK, at the risk of sound like I’m sucking up ;-P, I remember and used Brainium with my grade 8’s on very slow computers (dial-up??). As I recall, it was in conjunction with the Science World website or activities? Anyway, I had a complete set of very cool Brainium posters, constantly commented upon, which were subsequently turfed by an errant janitor. Regarding the website, I was shocked to find the links dead on the start of one school year. Thanks for the background, David. Sorry for rambling on 🙂

      • Doug Smith 5:58 am on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Very interesting David, I’m glad you shared your experience with gaming. It will be very interesting to see if schools eventually get significant quantities of computers into the classroom, and see what effect this will have on the textbook industry. I don’t see this challenging the “get rich slowly” phenomenon, but it should make some serious changes to how certain courses deliver their curriculum.

        The physics gaming exam is intriguing. I have no doubt that this could be done effectively and in an interesting way. I would argue that that it would be more important to conduct the learning in this manner rather than the exam. If the students are learning physics by “plug n chug” or “problem decoding”, then a conceptual based exam would be quite the shock! I can see potential and worth in using a game or set of games during the learning, as a type of formative assessment.


      • verenanz 7:45 pm on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Like every great entrepreneur….I`m glad to hear that you kept going….Never give up when you hear the word NO…

        You brought up lots of great points….The Publishing companies have a huge influence on our teaching….That`s why I love online courses as a blended approach to learning…you can take the `best`of textbooks and online sources…..

        If the publishing companies …aren`t ready…that shouldn`t prevent teachers from trying new ideas…unfortunately I`ve learned that it costs a lot of money to `try new ideas…and that`s why the publishers maintain their influence…They have the ability to wait and see…..new companies might not have that time…

        Gaming for a physics exam…good point Doug….It would be a great teaching tool, but maybe a bit of a scare in a final exam. If the whole course was taught that way, then the final exam would have to follow ?

        I guess in a human sciences (social studies) class you could also take this approach especially with some of Adaptive Reality Games like “World Without Oil”. In high School we spent an entire term “becoming” a country then defending their position at the League of Nations- why couldn’t something like that be done online? Maybe it is?

        All great points!

    • mcquaid 9:21 am on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I have been gaming for a long time… since, maybe… ’83 or thereabouts. We had a Coleco-vision at home. Since then, I made the trek from there to Sega Genesis, desktop computer gaming, an XBox, and now a PS3. For the most part, these home consoles haven’t delivered much in the way of scholarly learning. I have encountered some game-based learning in my time, though.

      In elementary school, we used to have a couple of programs that could be played (as a reward for finishing other work, I think) in the classroom. They essentially reinforced math facts or geographical information. One was Math Blaster – running a green stick man to the answer of a math problem on the screen. Simple, but I liked it back then. Another was Cross-Country Canada. You played as a trucker delivering commodities to places in Canada. You would learn about locations and commodities, and the odd problem a trucker may face (including dangerous hitchhikers!). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCVQFzBAu14
      Another I vaguely remember playing was “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”

      After that, I hit a dry spell. There was no gaming or computers in high school. Well, there were some “computers”, but they were only used for tests in typing class.

      In university, computers were much more available, but not for gaming – just typing, Internet, and email. Only one of my courses (Ecology) offered a gaming experience, called EcoBeaker. It exists in a more robust form now, but even its low-graphics-quality version back then was pretty cool. You could run habitat simulations on it… say… put a population of white rabbits and black rabbits on an island and see how they reproduced and survived. Until you introduced, say… wolves. Or a tornado. Much like current sim games, causing imaginary chaos and playing a deity-ish role was a little fun… and educational, too!

      Now, I’m on the other side of the desk, and only sometimes get chances to offer gaming experiences to my students. Things like freerice.com and freepoverty.com are both fun and charitable.

      In my home life, some of my “adult games” do offer stealth learning. Historical fiction games like the Assassin’s Creed series or Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution offer up a mix of facts and action or simulations.

      As a side note, gaming machines can have interesting, real-world, side benefits. Have a look at the Folding@home project that PS3’s all over the world are a part of:

  • jarvise 9:45 am on September 28, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: bluedrop, coursepark, rizkalla   

    Creating a thriving business on the East coast is no small accomplishment; Emad Rizkalla accomplished this by founding an e-learning business that strives to meet corporate needs while being learner centered and driven. The business that he co-founded in 1992 and continues to serve as CEO is Bluedrop Enterprises, whose current project Coursepark aims to […]

    Continue reading Bluedrop Enterprises Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
    • Deb Giesbrecht 5:23 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I agree ……..financial risks are too much for me too! I like to know the money coming in is steady and reliable. I have been told I will never make it rich working for someone else, but then again, I will never die from a heart attack due to too much stress!

      • jarvise 7:37 am on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        This type of work would definitely require some serious stress management skills. Completely anecdotal evidence here, but when my Dad had a major heart attack a couple of years ago and was at the regional heart center in New Brunswick waiting for his multiple bypass, the one common thread that seemed most prevalent across the floor was high stress work. Its something that I definitely keep in mind when considering jobs. (My dad is fine now by the way, but is trying to manage his stress better; he was already an active, 62 year old vegetarian!)


        • Deb Giesbrecht 4:35 pm on October 2, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          It is pretty hard now a days to find a job with low stress – although I would like one myself! But there are certain things we can do to help – although being an active vegetarian one would think would certainly help. Glad he is doing well.

    • David William Price 4:59 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for following the outline for the assignment. As for risks, there are many ways of starting businesses. The safest way is to deliver a product or service to people who want it now and who will pay for it now. You can start the business while you have a day job. You grow through your profits, not through high risk lending and venture capital. That is not the kind of venture story you typically hear about, but it is the kind of story that creates a solid foundation to start from and to build on going forward. One of the videos the prof linked to last week about pitches described how that very simple concept was the way to tap the “Fortune 5 million” companies out there and have a comfortable lifestyle business.

  • jarvise 7:01 am on September 19, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: ,   

    In a classic Simpson’s episode, the town is convinced to buy a monorail by a slick salesman. What distinguishes a good salesperson from a good pitch is a message that is not only persuasive, but is competitive and marketable. This company – Evernote – smartly offers a free basic service (that can be upgraded), employing […]

    Continue reading evernote in under 200 words… Posted in: Week 03: Analyst Bootcamp
    • bcourey 4:41 pm on September 19, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I have been using Evernote for some time now, and I am a huge fan of the tool, but if I had watched this pitch first, I may never have tried it. For a quick pitch, there should have been a greater effort to catch my attention – having the CEO standing still in front of the camera, speaking a bit too quickly in my view (at times it was not easy to distinguish his words). I would expect this type of pitch to come from a high-school student who has just created his first free-ware assignment in class. Maybe I am being too harsh, but I would not buy his product, let alone invest in it….and like I said, I love his product after all!! How did I learn about it? Word-of-mouth by trusted friends who are also big fans of the product. The idea is great…but I find the pitch far too amateur-ish.

    • Karen Jones 6:03 pm on September 19, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I also find that both the appearance of the presenter and the lack of “visuals” leave me unclear and uninterested about most of the products promoted by these elevator pitches, including this one. I guess the CEO’s Everclear logo t-shirt and clean, non-distracting background are improvements over some of the pitches on Youtube, but I guess I need the motivation of an assignment to listen to any of them twice! Maybe I have “caught” ADHD from my students. Perhaps, if my money was on the line …?

      • jarvise 6:51 am on September 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Karen,
        I have been noticing the lack of visuals in these pitches as well. It doesn’t seem as though the presenters are taking advantage of what new media has to offer. I keep wondering if this is something that is a key characteristic of elevator pitches (that we are supposed to be focusing on the person face to face). I did a little digging and found the following article that debates the current status of the elevator pitch: http://www.theworkbuzz.com/career-advice/is-the-elevator-pitch-outdated/

        • Karen Jones 5:52 pm on September 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          Hey! Great link, Emily. It did make me reflect about this whole process, and how sometimes when I’m being a talking head up at the front of the class, the best approach would be an elevator pitch, especially given the short attention spans of my victims, I mean, students.

    • David William Price 12:37 pm on September 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I’m not a fan of feature lists as pitches. I prefer to hear a story about a problem and how their venture will solve that problem and take advantage of a huge market and competitive barriers to entry to build on their solution. I realize EverNote is a successful app, but I nearly fell asleep during this pitch. No passion about how EverNote can change my life…

      • Karen Jones 5:54 pm on September 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        I like the clarity that your summary brings, David. I think those key points are at the heart of assignment 3, as well.

    • mcquaid 3:52 pm on September 21, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      You had me at Simpsons. Classic pitch in that episode by Lanley – not sent by the devil (since he was on the level), as he reassured us.

      I also thought that the foot-in-the-door marketing strategy was smart. Giving something good away for free that can only get better with a small amount of money is a great form of, well, manipulation. I would have mentioned it as you did, but you did so first and actually knew what to call it (well, I assume that’s what it’s called).

      I think, to encourage a bit more interest (if the pitch were a longer venture pitch, perhaps), I would either further develop or promote the compatibility and tagging/organization/searching. I’d like to see some more in the lines of automatic tagging, labeling, and organization. Not everyone is ready for the semantic web yet. If or when we’re all on that train, something like Evernote won’t be as useful. Their time to strike is now!

  • jarvise 7:10 am on September 13, 2011
    0 votes


    There must have been something appealing about this article, because it seems to be popular so far with the reviewers. At the risk of being redundant… The 7 things you should know about… This is an awesome resource for teachers. It would also work for someone who is working in the education technology role within […]

    Continue reading lucky number 7? Posted in: Week 02: The Edtech Marketplace
    • kstooshnov 9:21 am on September 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Emily,

      While seven is a lucky number, I had the feeling that the list of qualifications could be whittled down to five, and your mention of Web 2.0 reminds me of how 1.0 the information is presented. As Deb pointed out in there “To be totally honest…” post, most of the articles are committee-written, and not exactly ground-breaking results. There is neither a clear understanding of who is evaluating the technological resources, nor how others can add to or contest points being made. I agree with your GI Joe logic for “the other half of the battle” and Educause could include more more feedback posts, links or even peer-review “I like” responses for each article.


      • jarvise 10:20 am on September 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Kyle,

        While I agree with you that none of the info is groundbreaking or presented in a very critical light, it does give the reader a quick idea of whether they want to engage with it further. For a lot of busy teachers, a quick 2 minute skim of an overview is all they want to commit to ‘yet another’ new technology. I definitely think this type of ‘quickie’ has a market.


    • Karen Jones 4:31 pm on September 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Kyle and Emily,

      Your discussion makes me think that the more in-depth NMC Horizons report could be a good follow up to the quick intro that the 7 Things… report introduces. However, as a counter to your valid Web 1.0 format criticism, I would suggest a peek at the http://navigator.nmc.org/ website, which is a more visual, interactive, and up-to-date resource for emerging technologies.

      Interesting points!

    • bcourey 5:31 pm on September 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      good point Karen – the Horizon navigator does give much more information…but I also appreciate the “coles notes” provided by the Top 7 article.

    • jenaca 8:12 am on September 14, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hey Everyone,

      I agree with Karen, this should definitely be used as an intro to the Horizon navigator. I find that by using the 7 things you should know about…. you can pick and choose which topic you would like to learn more specifically about and which topics you’d rather leave alone!

  • jarvise 11:44 am on September 6, 2011
    0 votes

    Hi everyone! I’m very excited to get started in this course (my 8th) and in this term. I’ll be finishing up the program (hopefully) in May of 2012, so I’m in the home stretch. I have worked as a high school teacher of math and science in the Aboriginal community of Behchoko, NT for my […]

    Continue reading Hello from NWT Posted in: Week 01: Introductions
    • Angela Novoa 1:41 pm on September 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Emily!

      thanks for sharing photos so we can see you!
      Your experience at work looks very interesting and challenging.
      Looking forward to get to know you and learn with you :),

    • Karen Jones 4:30 pm on September 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Emily,

      I would be interested in hearing your experiences with technology and students who have not been successful in mainstream settings. While the students I teach are from a relatively large urban environment, I am sure their learning styles share many similarities with the students you have taught, especially in the areas of math & science!

      Love your photos 🙂

    • David William Price 6:00 pm on September 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I’m particularly interested in your work with “at-risk” students and strategies you use or are researching on dealing with those issues. I have some theories but that’s all they are at this point and I would really value hearing your experiences.

    • ashleyross 2:37 pm on September 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Emily,

      Congratulations on being in the home stretch! I think it’s wonderful that you are interested in different learning opportunities for students unable to succeed in the traditional school environments. I am also interested in this topic, I mainly work with students with ADHD and learning disabilities to figure out strategies to help them become successful in their educational endeavours but I am interested in the atypical learner in general and trying to figure out ways to help them become successful.

      I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on this topic.


    • mcquaid 4:07 pm on September 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi, Emily.
      Although I teach at the intermediate level, I’ll be interested in seeing your thoughts this term regarding the “students who are unable to succeed in traditional school environments”. We have a local reserve that feeds into our school, and some of the kids (some from the reserve and some not) would definitely fit this category of sorts.
      See you ’round the blog,

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