Books · Emerging Trends · Gamification · Storytelling · Teaching

Gamification in Learning and Education

Gamification in Learning and Education: Enjoy Learning Like Gaming (Advances in Game-Based Learning)

Gamification in Learning and Education: Enjoy Learning Like Gaming (Advances in Game-Based Learning)
Author: Sangkyun Kim
2017 | English | ISBN-10: 3319472828 | 164 Page

This book explores the theoretical foundations of gamification in learning and education. It has become increasingly difficult to engage and motivate students. Gamification not only makes learning interesting, but also allows game players to solve problems and learn lessons through repeated attempts and failures. This “positive failure” can motivate students to attempt a difficult mission. Chapters in this volume cover topics such as the definition and characteristics of gamification, gamification in learning and education, theories, research on gamification, framework, strategy, and cases.
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Books · Emerging Trends · Gamification · Mobile · Teaching

Screen Schooled

Title: Screen Schooled

Authors: Joe Clement and Matt Miles

English | 2018 | ISBN: 1613739516 | 272 pages

Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse Is Making Our Kids Dumber
Over the past decade, educational instruction has become increasingly digitized as districts rush to dole out laptops and iPads to every student. Yet the most important question, “Is this what is best for students?” is glossed over.

Veteran teachers Joe Clement and Matt Miles have seen firsthand how damaging technology overuse and misuse has been to our kids. On a mission to educate and empower parents, they show how screen saturation at home and school has created a wide range of cognitive and social deficits in our young people. They lift the veil on what’s really going on in schools: teachers who are often powerless to curb cell phone distractions; zoned-out kids who act helpless and are unfocused, unprepared, and unsocial; administrators who are influenced by questionable science sponsored by corporate technology purveyors. They provide action steps parents can take to demand change and make a compelling case for simpler, smarter, more effective forms of teaching and learning.

Books · Coding · Gamification · Play · Teaching

Programming for the Puzzled

Title: Programming for the Puzzled

Author: Srini Devadas
English | ISBN: 0262534304 | 2017 | 272 pages
Programming for the Puzzled: Learn to Program While Solving Puzzles

Learning programming with one of “the coolest applications around”: algorithmic puzzles ranging from scheduling selfie time to verifying the six degrees of separation hypothesis.

This book builds a bridge between the recreational world of algorithmic puzzles (puzzles that can be solved by algorithms) and the pragmatic world of computer programming, teaching readers to program while solving puzzles. Few introductory students want to program for programming’s sake. Puzzles are real-world applications that are attention grabbing, intriguing, and easy to describe.

Each lesson starts with the description of a puzzle. After a failed attempt or two at solving the puzzle, the reader arrives at an Aha! moment – a search strategy, data structure, or mathematical fact – and the solution presents itself. The solution to the puzzle becomes the specification of the code to be written. Readers will thus know what the code is supposed to do before seeing the code itself. This represents a pedagogical philosophy that decouples understanding the functionality of the code from understanding programming language syntax and semantics. Python syntax and semantics required to understand the code are explained as needed for each puzzle.

The Puzzle Approach to Coding Mastery

Programming is a skill that’s easy to start learning. You can head over to a site like Codecademy and get up and running instantly. But once you finish a few introductory courses, it’s not as easy to keep making progress. You need another approach.

How to Get Better at Programming

There are two ways to keep learning a programming language once you have the basics down:

Puzzle

Option #1: Work on a project

The project could be your own project. Or if you have the right kind of job, you could convince your boss to let you work in a new language.

When you’re learning a programming language by working on a project, you should actually care what your program does. Don’t just code for the sake of practice. If you decide to learn Python by writing a Twitter client, then read and post to Twitter using your program. If neither you nor anyone else is going to use your project when it’s done, you should pick a different project.

Option #2: Work on puzzles

Programming puzzles are dreamed up solely for the sake of learning or competition. You write small programs to solve them. Once you’re done with a puzzle solution, you don’t use it for anything. It has no practical purpose.

Projects are a great way to learn programming. Since they involve solving a practical problem, you get to learn about requirements and scope trade-offs. You learn a wider variety of language features than you do with puzzles. You often find yourself maintaining your code over time, so you get to see the consequences of your design choices. Projects are great. Ultimately they’re the reason that you learn programming: so you can write programs that do useful things. But in this post, I’m going to focus on the benefits of working on puzzles.

What is a Programming Puzzle?

The programming puzzles I’m talking about consist of a problem statement, some sample input data, and the corresponding output data. The goal is to come up with an algorithm that takes any input data that meets the requirements explained in the problem statement, and outputs the correct results. A wide variety of puzzles can be expressed using this input text/process/output text format. For example, each input line could be a word, and the output could be all of the anagrams that can be formed by the letters in the word. Or each input line could contain numbers representing temperature and water flow limits, and the output could be the settings required to fill a bathtub as quickly as possible to a particular temperature.

Programming puzzles are often associated with competitive programming, since programming contests are all about solving them. For the purpose of this discussion, I’m talking about using puzzles to learn programming, not necessarily competitive programming. When someone says they’re practicing competitive programming, they usually mean that they’re preparing to compete in events, like Google Code Jam or a TopCoder Single Round Match. Although there are reasons to use that type of preparation, you can also use puzzles for their inherent learning benefits, without worrying about contests and ratings.

Advantages of the Puzzle Learning Approach

Learning a language using programming puzzles has some benefits that are more difficult to achieve using the project approach:

What you learn stays useful longer

Solving programming puzzles requires problem-solving techniques more than knowledge of technical infrastructure, like databases or network routing. The program runtime environment is as simple as it could possibly be: you read from standard input, process the data, and write your answers to standard output. The same approach was used 45 years ago in the first programming competitions. Since you don’t have to deal with environment details, all of your effort can go into problem solving and implementation using core language features.

When you’re learning a language by working on a project, you have a wider variety of topics to cover, and they tend to become obsolete faster. For example, consider a project in which you’re building a mobile app. In addition to the programming language that you’re using, you have to take into account how your app will run on different devices and whether you need to update it when new operating system versions appear. There are plenty of benefits to developing app development skills, but there is also a trade-off that leaves you with less time to develop expertise in a programming language.

You can compare your solution with someone else’s

You can learn a lot from reading someone else’s code. Even better is solving a problem and then comparing it with someone else’s solution to the same problem. While this arrangement is rare in real-world programming, you can do exactly that at puzzle sites that allow you to view others’ solutions. Even for those sites that don’t, you can often find solutions posted online. If you Google a UVa problem number, you’ll generally find numerous solutions. For CodeForces problems, you can find submitted solutions along with the problem. Solutions are helpful for getting you unstuck, and also for picking up new ideas. And since you have spent some time with the problem, it’s easier to understand the code that you’re looking at.

It’s useful preparation for technical interviews

Many companies prefer to use programming puzzles rather than technology-specific questions when interviewing candidates. This is a controversial topic that generates a lot of debate among programmers. Nevertheless, preparing for or at least tolerating these types of interviews gives you a wider range of jobs to choose from. For a summary of why these types of coding interviews are used, see Proving That You Can Juggle Code.

You can take advantage of gamification

Gamification is only slightly less controversial than coding interviews, but once again it can be useful if you can put aside any aversion you may have towards it. When you’re working on a project, you have to supply your own motivation. Programming puzzle sites, on the other hand, often come with badges and leaderboards. If you treat these as games, you can find yourself practicing regularly and making progress on your learning.

Where to Find Programming Puzzles

Even if you’re not interested in participating in competitions, contest sites are a good source of puzzles. UVa Online Judge and SPOJ have a large collection from many years of competitions. TopCoder, Codeforces, and CodeChef hold regular contests, so they are continually adding to their problem archives. Project Euler is a popular site with hundreds of problems. One thing to keep in mind though: they have more of a math emphasis than other sites. Unless you have a strong math background, you’ll probably end up studying more math than programming if you choose that one. My current preference is UVa Online Judge, as I’ll explain below.

How to Use Programming Puzzles

You’ll get some learning benefit from solving puzzles even with no particular study system. But the process known as deliberate practice is the most efficient way to get better at a complex skill like programming. One of the principles that distinguishes deliberate practice from regular practice is metacognition, or thinking about thinking. Rather than just solving puzzles, take the time to evaluate yourself as you work through each step of the solution. The best way to do this is to make notes as you work through the problems. When you encounter a difficulty, make a note of it so you remember to think about it later and look for ways to improve.

With programming practice, one of the most common challenges you’ll encounter early on is remembering syntax. An effective way to tackle this problem is to maintain a source file that you update whenever you need to look something up in the language documentation. This file helps solidify your language knowledge, and provides snippets of code that you can use as you solve other puzzles. You can find my version of this file on GitHub. As noted above, programming puzzles don’t draw on all of the features of a language. By maintaining a code reference, you can focus on the subset of the language that is most useful for puzzle solving.

Project 462

I’m trying out all of the ideas in this post as part of an experiment I’m calling Project 462. The number refers to the 462 starred problems on uHunt, a companion site to UVa Online Judge. If you want to try out the puzzle approach to coding mastery, uHunt is a reasonable place to get started. It provides a friendly interface to the UVa OJ problems, and a way to keep track of your progress.

One caveat: UVa OJ only supports C, C++, Java, and Pascal. If you want to use a different programming language, then another popular option is SPOJ, which supports over 45 languages.

Following Along

I post here every week on topics related to programming, learning techniques, and the programming puzzle approach. If you’re interested, you can follow along. I’m @RedGreenCode on Twitter, and you can find other ways to follow me on the RedGreenCode home page.

Books · Educational Philosophy · Experiential · Gamification · Play · Research · Springer · Teaching

Creativity, Technology & Education

Title: Creativity, Technology & Education

Authors: The Deep-Play Research Group
English |  2018 | 124 Pages | ISBN : 3319702742

Creativity, Technology & Education: Exploring their Convergence
In this collection of beautifully written essays, Mishra, Henriksen, and the Deep-play Research Group challenge myths about technology and creativity, debate time-honored instructional practices, and play with new ideas for schools to care for and nurture, rather than constrain, creativity. These essays are provocative … refreshing, [and] insightful —Dr. Yong Zhao, Foundation Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas and Fellow, Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy, Victoria University, Australia.
What is creativity? Why is it important? What does it look like across different disciplines and contexts? What role does technology play, if any, in the creative process? And finally, what do creativity and technology have to do with education? These are the questions that underlie the collection of articles in this book.

These essays provide a broad analytic frame for thinking about creativity, technology and education and describe classroom examples as well as strategies for evaluating creative artifacts and creative environments. All of these are grounded in specific examples from across a wide range of disciplines and contexts—art, mathematics, engineering, computer science, graphic design, architecture, science to name just a few. The final essays take a broader perspective on creativity and technology focusing both on our highly inter-connected YouTube world but also possibilities for the future.

Creativity, Technology & Education: Exploring their Convergence is a vital resource for educators and practitioners as they seek to incorporate creative work and thoughtful pedagogy in their personal and professional lives.

Blended · Books · Gamification · Teaching

Gamify Literacy

Title: Gamify Literacy

English | May 30th, 2017 | ASIN: B0713Z3KHR, ISBN: 1564843866 | 156 Pages

 

Gamify Literacy: Boost Comprehension, Collaboration and Learning

Literacy is at the heart of education, and what better way to teach this important subject than through the motivational techniques built into gamification?

With Gamify Literacy, teacher Michele Haiken brings together top educators and gaming professionals to share gamification strategies, demonstrating how teachers can use gaming tools and activities to improve literacy and content learning.

This friendly, accessible guide provides classroom educators and tech coaches with tips and inspiration on how to apply gaming techniques to improve literacy and deepen student collaboration and critical thinking.

This book includes: tips for implementing gaming techniques to engage and motivate students; a fun and engaging design to complement a game-based approach to learning; and examples that can easily be modified for different grade levels.

Educational Philosophy · Gamification · Routledge · Teaching

Serious Play

 

Title: Serious Play

Authors: Catherine Beavis and Michael Dezuanni
English | 2017 | ISBN: 1138689416 | 251 Pages
Serious Play : Literacy, Learning and Digital Games

Serious Play is a comprehensive account of the possibilities and challenges of teaching and learning with digital games in primary and secondary schools. Based on an original research project, the book explores digital games’ capacity to engage and challenge, present complex representations and experiences, foster collaborative and deep learning and enable curricula that connect with young people today. These exciting approaches illuminate the role of context in gameplay as well as the links between digital culture, gameplay and identity in learners’ lives, and are applicable to research and practice at the leading edge of curriculum and literacy development.

“This important study makes a major contribution to research and debate about the use of digital games in schools. Addressing a wide range of questions, from game-based literacies to coding narrative in Scratch and creativity with Minecraft, it nevertheless integrates a landscape which has long been fragmented and incoherent in educational debates. A welcome feature of the book is that its authoritative argument about games and learning rests on rich empirical research, respectful collaboration with teachers and students, and an enviable track record in this field of study.” – Andrew Burn, Professor of English, Media and Drama, University College London, UK

Blended · Emerging Trends · Gamification · Mobile · Smart Education · Teaching

Deploying iPads in the Classroom

Title: Deploying iPads in the Classroom

Author: Guy Hart-Davis

English |  2017 | 569 Pages | ISBN : 1484229274

 Deploying iPads in the Classroom: Planning, Installing, and Managing iPads in Schools and Colleges


Master the skills and knowledge to plan and execute a deployment of iPads that will suit your school and your classroom. This book helps you evaluate your various options for deploying iPads—from configuring the tablets manually, through using Apple Configurator for imaging tablets, to subscribing to the heavy-duty Apple School Manager web service—and then shows you how to put your chosen approach into practice. Step-by-step instructions and practical examples walk you through the key questions you need to answer to get the most from your IT investment and then show you how to turn your decisions into deeds.
The iPad is a wonderful device for helping students to study more comfortably and learn more quickly. Apple’s popular tablet enables you to put in each student’s hands a full-power computer that enables her to access resources both on the school’s network and on the Internet; communicate via email, instant messaging, and video chat; and create digital content that she can submit effortlessly to your online marking system. Students love using the iPad—perhaps even more than teachers do!
What You’ll Learn
Plan your iPad deployment and choose the right iPad models, accessories, and apps
Image, configure, and deploy iPads in your classroom
Review tips, tricks, and techniques for managing iPads and keeping your digital classroom running smoothly

Who This Book Is For
Teachers and IT administrators at schools or colleges, and administrators and organizers in other bodies that need to deploy iPads en masse to conference attendees or hotel visitors

Books · Emerging Trends · Gamification · Teaching

Gaming Trends in P-12 Education

Title: Gaming Trends in P-12 Education

Author: Donna Russell

English | 2016 | ISBN: 146669629X | 699 Pages
Handbook of Research on Gaming Trends in P-12 Education

Gaming applications are rapidly expanding into the realm of education. Game-based education creates an active and enjoyable learning environment, especially for children and young adults who regularly use gaming for recreational purposes. Due to the evolving nature of education, gaming provides a transformative learning experience for diverse students.

The Handbook of Research on Gaming Trends in P-12 Education provides current research intended to aid educators, school administrators, and game developers in teaching today’s youth in a technology-immersive society. This publication melds together gaming for entertainment purposes as well as gaming applied within educational settings with an emphasis on P-12 classrooms. Featuring exhaustive coverage on topics relating to virtual reality, game design, immersive learning, distance learning through 3D environments as well as best practices for gaming implementation in real-world settings, this handbook of research is an essential addition to the reference collection of international academic libraries.

Books · Emerging Trends · Gamification · Math · Play · Teaching

Mathematics Education for a New Era

Title: Mathematics Education for a New Era: Video Games as a Medium for Learning

Author: Keith Devlin

Mathematics Education for a New Era: Video Games as a Medium for Learning

English | 2011 | ISBN-10: 1568814313 | 218 pages

Stanford mathematician and NPR Math Guy Keith Devlin explains why, fun aside, video games are the ideal medium to teach middle-school math.
Aimed primarily at teachers and education researchers, but also of interest to game developers who want to produce videogames for mathematics education, Mathematics Education for a New Era: Video Games as a Medium for Learning describes exactly what is involved in designing and producing successful math educational videogames that foster the innovative mathematical thinking skills necessary for success in a global economy.
Books · Gamification · Research · Smart Education

Game-based Learning Across the Lifespan

Title: Game-based Learning Across the Lifespan

Editor: Margarita Romero
English | 2017 | ISBN: 3319417959 | 154 Pages
Game-Based Learning Across the Lifespan

The book provides a systemic view of the state-of-the- art of Digital Game Based Learning (DGBL) across the lifespan, from age-specific game design requirements to technological devices that could overcome child and older adult difficulties in the use of DGBL technologies.
In addition to the state-of-the-art methodologies provided for age-specific gamedesign, development, implementation and assessment, a significant portion of the book focuses on case studies where DGBL have been designed and implemented in every age groups and in cross-generational situations.