Friday, April 27, 2012

Action Research

My action research proposal is going to be based on improved learning through playing games.   I would like to try and incorporate a variety of games, not just computer based in the classroom. I would use board games, file folder games, computer games, and whole class games throughout the research period. This would be conducted after whole group instruction and as centers in the classroom.


Gee, J.P.(n.d.). Why are video games good for learning?. Unpublished manuscript, University of Wisconsin-  Madison, Fairmont State Univeristy, Fairmont, WV. Retrieved from

Halverson, R. (n.d.). What can k-12 school leaders learn from video games and gaming?. Retrieved from

Jackson, L. A., Witt, E. A., Games, A. I., Fitzgerald, H. E., von Eye, A., & Zhao, Y. (2011). Information technology use and creativity: Findings from the children and technology project. Elsevier, Retrieved from

McGonical , J. (2011). Be a gamer, save the world. The Wall Street Journal, Retrieved from

Olson, C. K. (2010). Children’s motivations for video game play in the context of normal development. Review of General Psychology, 14 (3), 180-187. Retrieved from

Thursday, April 19, 2012

DEJ 11

"The rise in the popularity of computer games and developments in information and computer technologies more generally have resulted in a renewed awareness of the potentials of simulations and games among researchers interested in learning and cognition."

I agree with the author because its seems that more and more I am hearing or reading about the benefits or downfalls of video gaming. Now that there is the i-pad and other tablets with games that you can get through an app. I feel that more people who weren't playing games before now find themselves engaged in game play.

"It is the interactive and multimodal features of computer games that have been proposed as being particularly powerful in regard to learning."

My students love going to the computer lab on getting on learning websites like, StarFall, Odyssey, and Everyday Math. They are not only learning, but having fun while doing it. I have actually been doing an action research on students and game play and I feel like everything is positive and that my students are still learning even though they are playing games.

"Their solution to this problem has been to make use of interactive story telling techniques which are built into the design of various course materials."

I love this idea for students to use story telling to solve math problems. I don't know however, if it would be something that younger students would be able to use as much as older students. Younger students often have trouble trying to explain themselves and get a message across.


Why should programming be part of school curriculum?

Programming should be a part of the school curriculum because computers are everywhere with all of the technology advancements, programming is going to be a career that will need to be filled. Programming is also a great way to show an individual's creativity. While many may not be musically or artistically advanced, programming can be a way for them to shine. The article states, " Through our observations at the Computer Clubhouse, we found that youth have an interest in videogames, music videos, cartoon animations, and interactive, designbased art, which are a natural springboard into creating and programming. We also realized that we needed to address support systems, in particular mentoring interactions in the Computer Clubhouse, to make learning and creative expressions the primary purpose of programming activities
and not just the acquisition of technology skills." I liked how the author put learning and creativity before technology skills because honestly I think that kids pick up the technology part pretty fast but just knowing where to harness their creativity is something that they do need to learn.

What are the barriers to implementing programming in schools? I feel that one of the biggest barriers with implementing programming in schools is that there may not be enough qualified teachers to be able to actually teach programming their students. " Our analyses revealed that while the Undergraduate mentors sustained various mentoring interactions ranging from teaching to learning, the prevalence of mentoring interactions that placed the mentor in the role of learner, observer or co-constructor – all roles which imply a more reciprocal and equitable relationship between mentor and mentees." It's great that the mentors can learn as well, but if they are going to teach this then I feel it is necessary to be ahead of what is being taught. Another barrier is funding. Many schools do not have the money to implement something like programming. It would take thousands of dollars to buy equipment and software as well as make sure there is a qualified teacher to teach the class.

How can barriers to implementing programming in schools be overcome?

Barriers can be overcome in school by presenting workshops and offering grants to help fun these projects.

Week 12 Blog Posting

Activity #2
In a blog posing write a reflection about your project design process by answering the following questions.

1. What: What is your project? How does it work? How did you come up with the idea?

My project was a game on homophones. In the game you were to read the sentence and move the sprite to the word that was the correct homophone. I knew I wanted to use homophones for my game because so many of my students have trouble with them (the biggest I think is there, their, and they're). I wasn't exactly sure how I wanted my game to go so I started searching other games and I found one that I really liked, but thought that I could add to it a little so I used it as my template.

2. So What: What was your process for developing the project? What was interesting, surprising, or challenging? Why? What did you learn?

I started out trying to do the whole thing by myself, but I could not get my sprites to do what I wanted them and my backgrounds or screens to change the way that I wanted them to. I found a template that I liked and it helped me to be able to add to the game and add more screens. I was able to use the commands to help me develop more to the game. I learned that one sprite might need many simple commands to have it do what you wanted to do.

3. Now What: What are you the most proud of about your project? What would your change? What do you want to create next? Why?
I loved that my daughter was able to "help" me. I used her voice for a few of the recordings. She thought it was fun to have her voice in the game. I wanted to try and put her in as a sprite, but I couldn't get it to work the way I wanted. I would like to create an easier game that includes her and that she could play. I would also love to be able to teach my own students how to make their own games one day. I think that it something that would not only teach them a lot but be something that they would enjoy.
Due Sunday April 15 (20 points)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I have been working like a crazy lady all day to try and get as much finished as possible. I completed my rough draft of my game and then wanted to continue to try and finish everything. I did complete my final of my game and think that it turned out well. I added to more levels to the game as well as some sound effects. I did have a little trouble figuring out how to get my sprites to move around on the 4th and 5th level. They weren't really seeming to cooperate with the cursor arrows.

Week 9/10.

I have only been substitute teaching this year along with working in the proof department at Huntington Bank in the evenings. This, along with school , was a pretty easy balance, but last month I started working out a maternity leave in second grade so that combined with my bank job, home, school, and still trying to adjust to two teenagers in my home has left my time and sanity with little to spare. Thank goodness this week is spring break. I am frantically trying to play catch up with my school work and to spend time with my daughter. Whew. Come on summer!!!

Anyway. I have been working on my scratch project and know what I want to do. It is just trying to get my sprites to cooperate with me and for everything to flow correctly.
My game is going to be played using homophones. I looked up some games that others have created and found a few ideas that I would like to try and incorporate, but I also discovered what I do not want to do when I create my game. I hope that it will be easy enough for students in second grade to play and going to try and have my class play it when it is complete. I'll let you know when it is finished what they think.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Scratch/DEJ 6

What ideas do you have for the game or animation you are going to design with SCRATCH to support content area learning?

I would like to try and create a game that will improve multiplication skills for third and fourth graders.

Double Entry Journal Six

Quote One:
"Researchers interested in computer-supported collaborative learning have paid little attention to the field of arts and design education as the more prominent focus has been on science, mathematics and to a lesser degree, social studies and language arts. Among a number of reasons that can explain this absence of interest is the lack of new technologies in the arts education curriculum."

As a teacher, I never really thought about arts and design as a part of a curriculum. I think that it would be something great that would definitely be beneficial to students entering middle school because by that age I feel that they are beginning to find their niche with what they may want to do in the future. Although, the core classes are important it is often hard to engage students in a subject if it is something that they are not interested in learning. It would be terrific if schools had the funding necessary to buy the new and best technology to accommodate these students.

Quote Two:
By introducing media arts practices, we are trying to broaden our view of literacy practices to describe the ways in which individuals use literacy and learn to be literate within the specific context of new media.

I can see where many schools are trying to integrate more of the media arts into their schools. I think every school that I have subbed in has computers and white boards, although they may not be the newest and best. Many have i-pods and i-pad labs that are passed around to the different classes throughout the week. I think that it is a great opportunity for students and teachers to learn.

Quote Three:

"Despite Brandy’s ability to do sophisticated work on the computer (and was now in many ways technologically fluent), Brandy was still unable to read at grade level and had very much stayed at the same level in both reading and writing.

I felt happy that Brandy found something that she was able to succeed in,but at the same time I was sad because I wondered what was going on that she did not increase her reading and writing levels. A whole year and a half passed and she did not show any improvements in reading and writing. It is great that she found a way to share her ideas, but reading and writing are both very important parts of her future.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


"Instead of making kindergarten like the rest of school, we need to make the rest of school (indeed, the rest of life) more like kindergarten."

I remember kindergarten exactly the way Mitchel Resnick describes in his introduction paragraph about being a time to tell stories, draw pictures, and share. We had our "learning time" where our teacher taught us basic words and the sounds that the letters made, but it was nothing like the kindergarten that kids are going to now. Everything is so structured and students don't have a time to explore and learn on their own. I always think that it is so amazing how excited children will become when they discover something on their own. It might seem like something so basic and ordinary to us, but to them it is a big deal. I think it also gives them confidence and encouragement to try more things on their own.

"In traditional kindergartens, children are constantly designing, creating, experimenting, and exploring."

Recently schools are being encouraged to incorporate more higher order thinking skills into the classroom. Although there is so much that students need to learn it is incredibly hard to teach a higher order thinking skill when they are being lectured to from a book. I believe they need that type of learning, but what is being read to them can be expanded on so much if they are given the opportunity to "learn on their own". They need a chance to try and brainstorm and try new things to see what works. If you are teaching a lesson on simple machines, give them a variety of materials and let them design and create their own simple machines.

"How can we use new technologies to integrate play, design, and learning? One way is to provide children with the opportunity to design their own games."

As a teacher, how could you not LOVE this idea. Not only are you incorporating higher order thinking skills with your students, but as the teacher you are also learning. Kids have such great imaginations and can think of so many great things that may have not even crossed my mind. I am amazed at some of the ideas that kids can come up with for something that seems so simple.

Additional Resource:

Crisis in the Kindergarten- I thought this article went along great with what we read for this week. It discusses "play time" being taken out of kindergarten and early education to be replaced with a more structured curriculum. Here is just one point from the piece that I thought was a little disheartening. "All young children, not just those living in poverty, need the support of teachers who understand the value of play. For the fact is that most children today don’t have enough playtime even at home. Many affluent children now need help entering into creative play because of the surfeit of media and organized activities in their lives. They struggle to bring their own ideas to the fore. As one kindergarten teacher put it, “If I give the children time to play, they don’t know what to do. They have no ideas of their own.”

Friday, February 17, 2012

DEJ 4/Week Five

Scratch- The game that I chose to add was Muffin vs. Cupcake. Students have to avoid the verbs in this game to gain points and not lose. I think that this game or something similar to it would be a good game in the elementary classroom. Students in grades from first to sixth grade always seem to have trouble remembering what a noun is and what a verb is.

Level one from our reading was learning how and I think that this game promotes this level because I only had a few minutes to explore the game and it is something that you have to "learn how" to do in order to play.

The second level or "learning what" to do is promoted in this level because I quickly learned that if I swallowed a verb with my cupcake that I lost the game.

The third level is learning why. In this level student will develop the best strategy to play the game. Although Muffins Vs. Cupcakes is a rather simple game, the player would have to have a strategy to avoid falling verbs.

I think that students would learn where in this game by associating this type of game that would be played in a classroom versus a game that they may at home.

I don't really feel that this game met level five of learning where the student has to choose a moral right or wrong.


Quote One
"Kids learn about yet another aspect of rules at the What level: “What if we break them?” Players can be heard shouting “That’s not fair!” or “You can’t do that!” at a very early game-playing age, and this is precisely what they are learning about."

I thought that this quote was so funny because I know that many times while I've been playing certain games I've screamed and yelled as if the game could hear me or tell me why I did something wrong. Rules are something that students don't always seem to grasp. While substitute teaching this week, I had the same group of 5th graders and they were reading aloud and playing "Popcorn". A girl was called and didn't want to read, everyone started bickering and saying that she had to read because their teacher said that everyone had to if they were called on during the game or they had to up. I don't believe in making students read if they are uncomfortable, so I had her show me where she should be in her text so that I knew that she was following along while we read. She knew where we were so I didn't make her stand and asked if there was anyone else who preferred to read. A few students started with "THAT'S NOT FAIR!", but I let them know that those were my rules and if they didn't like them we could silent read.

Quote Two
"I would argue that – unless already severely disturbed – kids don’t leave violent games with the message “I’ve got to run out and do this."

I agree with the author on this quote because it seems that so many parents are quick to blame everybody and everything for the way their kids are and not themselves. It seems to be happening everyday and I think that the saddest thing is now teachers are the "bulls-eyes" for parents to push blame on and it is NEVER their child or their fault.

Quote Three
"It is interesting in light of all the criticisms we hear about computer and video games, that the most popular computer game of all time – The Sims – is one that directly and explicitly helps you learn “about life.” The Sims has extended the normal fantasy play of children and adults to a new level of explicitness and participation, and has created a “real-life” community of millions for sharing."

I love The Sims. It is one of my favorite games to play, but I haven't had the time that it takes to play. I never thought about this game as a learning tool for students to learn about real life and the consequences of their decisions. I think that this would be a great learning tool for middle school and high school.

Additional Resource:

I chose this picture from The Sims because I always thought it was funny that many times in the game it wanted you to have an enemy. Although it is not something that I would really want to teach my own child to do I guess it does have a learning aspect about it. After you make the enemy then sometimes you have to win back their affections. I think that this game would be a good tool to use to show kids ways that they could try to apologize or make up for wrong doings or that sometimes you have to watch what you do and say because people aren't so easy to forgive. I couldn't get the picture to post here so it is at the top of the page.

Friday, February 10, 2012

DEJ #3

“New technologies, especially the Internet, offer much potential as vehicles for intercultural collaborative inquiry, allowing us to develop global perspectives on local issues and to find complex approaches to complex problems. However, technology is only a tool-and one that is only as powerful as we choose to make it. Better understanding the value of this tool to support learning is a central concern and priority in our work.”

I chose this quote from the article because I absolutely agree with it. The Internet offers so much potential for educators and students. We are able to sign on and watch our favorite show, listen to music, play games, video chat with family in other states, and search for answers when we have questions. The quote also discusses that technology as a tool is only as powerful as we choose to make it and I think that it is at a very powerful point right now and can only get more powerful if we are able to get the technology that we need in our classroom. I have been substitute teaching for three years now and know that some schools have more advanced technology than others. I know that financially not every school can afford to fund the advanced technology that other schools have, but ideally it would be beneficial to at least have one room equipped with it.

Learning Today

This is a link to a blog post with some really informative postings that give tips from who and how to friend people on facebook to cyber bullying. There are some really great articles that I think many of you may enjoy.

There is an article from the Chicago Tribune that discusses the opening of a charter school which is taught through video games.

Video Game Schools: the schools of the Future? – Quest to Learn (Q2L) is a school in New York where students are learning in a very original way, by becoming the subject and playing and programming video games. The staff of educators includes video game designers and computer experts. Integrating digital media and education at this school, has shown great results and they are now expanding to Chicago. This articles describes the success of the school and how they are keeping the integrity of their vision for the new Chicago location.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week Four

1. Which one do you like the best? The game that I liked best was Sally’s Energy Ride.

2. What content is being learned? Energy conservation and Math (order of operations)

3. Do you think it effectively teaches the content? Yes.

4. Does it involve higher order thinking? Yes. There are situations where you must compute math problems and creating the game in itself would be higher order thinking.

5. Does the game possess and principles of good games and learning:

  • 1.They can create an embodied empathy for a complex system – Yes the game was short, but I think it could be extended to be something great.
  • 2. They are action-and-goal-directed preparations for, and simulations of, embodied experience”

There was a small amount of action involved, but not much to give the embodied experience.

  • 3. They involve distributed intelligence via the creation of smart tools


  • 4. They create opportunities for cross-functional affiliation

Yes. I think this would have been a great game to integrate science questions into as well.

  • 5. They allow meaning to be situated

I think a little, but there could have been more in depth questions.

  • 6. They can be open-ended, allowing for goals and projects that meld the personal and the social

This was a simple game with a lot of possibilities. I hope that I will be able to create something that is just as good.

6. In your opinion do you think letting kids design games is productive activity for school based learning?

Yes, I think it is because not only are they being engaged with higher order thinking skills, but they are using content from whatever subject the game being created is based upon.

Friday, February 3, 2012

DEJ #2- Good Games and Good Learning

There were sixteen principles that Jim Gee's article discussed that were involved in good games and learning. While playing through Gardens of Time the ones that I felt connected most to his article were the following: customization, pleasantly frustrating, and challenge/consolidation.

In Gardens of Time, you earn money and experience points to buy artifacts and decorations for your garden. You earn money and experience points by playing completing adventures which are hidden picture games. The money can be used to purchase items to decorate your garden. The points are used towards leveling up and will unlock new items for your garden as well as new adventures to complete.

Gardens of Time is pleasantly frustrating because you are basically looking for a list of items that are hidden in a picture scene. The list changes for each game, but the items are usually in the same area. It is frustrating because you will see an items that you found just the game before, but can't remember where it is and it seems to take even longer to find it than before.

The challenge for this game for me comes from wanting to always beat my own time. It is not so much as earning points and passing other players for me to feel challenged, but to beat my old time and keep getting faster. Many other games make you feel that other people playing are your competition, but in this game it is myself.

Week Three- Video Thoughts

"If you're not happy with how schools teach today, they teach that way because of the tests we have...the tests drive the system."

I agree with what Jim Gee said in his video because it seems that all parents gripe about is the way their children are taught. Actually, they are complaining about the teachers more than what is taught. As teachers, we are only teaching and testing the content and way that we are told to teach. We have to try and squeeze in content standards and objectives for every subject while also preparing the students for the WESTEST, which for some reason does not contain some of the WV CSO's that we are told to teach. I think it would make more sense for the CSO's and the WESTEST to go hand in hand, but they do not.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gardens of Time

I really like how this game is a game in a game of sorts. While you are accomplishing missions, you are earning money and reputation to unlock and buy items for your property. A game like this is good for your memory and to try and keep your thoughts moving fast. I try to remember where things are so that the next time I go back to a board I can find them quickly and make better time. I do tend to get a little stressed always trying to speed up my time from my previous visit. I think I will get better as I continue to play the game.

DEJ #1 for Game Design and Learning

"What makes video games good for learning has little or nothing to do directly
with the fact that they are games."

I can see where the author is coming from in this quote. It may not really have anything to do with the fact that they are games, but that it is a way for the students to learn to work more independently, it is another method of teaching, and many times it is considered a treat or prize. Kids do not come to school and sit in front of a television or computer all day, if that were the case then trying to "teach" through video games would not be a real treat or would be routine. The treat in that case would be if the teacher were to actually teach.

"So the video games in which I am interested, the ones that I think are most
interesting for learning, are digital simulations of worlds that are “played” in the sense
that a player has a surrogate or surrogates through which the player can act within and on
the simulation and that have “win states” (reachable goals that the player has discovered
or formed through his or her surrogate)."

I had to use that quote because once upon a time when I didn't have a child, school, work, house, and all of the other things that life has to offer, I loved to play The Sims. It was nice to be able to make the avatar be whoever you wanted, build the house that you wanted, and have the relationships that you wanted. It was a fun way to pretend and have some control over things. I liked the goals of the game and trying to make my little avatar succeed and meet those goals. I think a game based on the same situation would maybe interest some kids if there were some type of learning basis in the game as well.

"The view of the mind I have sketched argues, as far as I am concerned, that the
mind works rather like a video game. For humans, effective thinking is more like
running a simulation in our heads within which we have a surrogate actor than it is about
forming abstract generalizations cut off from experiential realities."

He seemed to hit the nail on the head. I never would have thought of our mind as a video game but after reading this I could see how how this is true. I often try to think of outcomes for every possible scenario if I am trying to make a big decision. I think that it is something that many of us do.

Gee, J. P., & Morgridge, T. (n.d.). Why Are Video Games Good For Learning?. In Retrieved January 27, 2012, from


This is a simulation game that we used for one of our classes at Fairmont State. It is a teacher simulation game and gives you a classroom of students along with a variety of different scenarios. Your job is to keep your students learning in a safe, healthy environment. I thought it was fun, but you have to be on your "A" game just like in a real classroom.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week One- Introduction Post- Educ 6814

Step 3. An introductory post that tells us:
a.Where you are from and what do you do.
Hello. My name is Jessica and I am currently a substitute teacher in Harrison and Taylor County. I also work the night shift in the processing department at Huntington Bank.
I hope that this class will teach me inventive and fun ways to integrate games into my classroom. I do like playing games when I get a chance. I used to be hooked on facebook games like Farm Ville, but then I got easily bored and frustrated with the way the games started running. Right now I am into playing Words with Friends on my phone. It's a scrabble type game and very addicting. I think games are a fun way to relax and have down time. I think that video games are fine for kids, but that they shouldn't consume the child's life. There should be time limits placed on the amount of time that they are played. We have an Xbox 360 Kinect which my daughter and I frequently play, we play a game with baby tigers where you control the cat and and Dance Central. They are fun and it keeps up moving in the winter time when it is too cold to be outside.

Children and Video Games
The link that I chose discussed some of the effects that video games could have on children. It discussed the benefits of games that were educational for children, but also the negative effects games with violence could have on children. I chose this link because as parents we are the ones buying the games and we need to select and monitor games for our children that will help them in a positive way and not produce negative actions.

I was born in 1981. Three major world events that happened during that year were: Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married, MTV was introduced, and the space shuttle Columbia was launched.