Gamification & Game-Based Learning – Tools for Teachers​ (Part 2)

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Gamification & Game-Based Learning - Tools for Teachers (Part 2)

Introduction

We are going to continue our exploration of Gamification and Game-Based Learning (GBL) activities that you can use in the classroom. Our first article in this collection discussed 4 SMART Learning Suite GBL Activities (Fill in the Blanks, Game Show, Match Em Up & Monster Quiz) and how they can be used in the classroom. As there are currently a total of 11 activities in the SMART Learning Suite, we will explore the remaining 7 in this article and unpack how they can be used to engage students in assessment tasks but also provide teachers with powerful data that can inform your future directions for the learning in your classroom.

Game-Based Learning activities are highly engaging and entertaining for all ages, getting people actively engaging with each other, negotiating, planning, critically-thinking, analysing, and most of all strategizing, all very powerful learning skills. The added benefit of GBL activities in the classroom is that with the students engaged with the task and the learning, classroom management becomes a non-issue, with even the most challenging students disconnecting themselves from their regular behavioral patterns and focusing on the learning. With that in mind, I encourage all teachers, whether you have used GBL in the classroom before or not, to seriously consider incorporating GBL into the regular planning of your classes, because if done effectively, and with the right tools, you will not only see a huge improvement in the student’s engagement in your class, but you will also see improvement in the students learning outcomes. So, we will continue exploring the GBL tools available in the SMART Learning Suite with the intent to give you enough of an overview so that you can make the informed decision as to whether these tools are the right ones that will help you achieve the learning intentions that you are working towards.

Like the games that we discussed in the last article, these SMART GBL Activities can be accessed either at the SMART Board or on the student devices by connecting to your digital classroom through the hellosmart.com internet portal.

Game 5 - Flip Out

Flip Out is a great game for students to improve their recall, vocabulary, and one-to-one correspondence skills. This game allows students to see cards on the screen that can have words or pictures on them. They then identify associations to those terms/images and then click the card to reveal the answers. A fantastic tool for assessment revision, or for learning associations between symbols/images and names, or words between different languages, the use for the Flip Out game can be endless. As you can see in this example, I have created a game that students use to recognise the different symbols and notes used in music, designed so they can learn their correct names. The other added benefit is that it provides the students with an opportunity to self-reflect and assess their understanding and identify weaknesses that need future improvement.

The game wizard makes building this game quick and easy. Add images or text to each column, choose your theme and then publish the game – it’s that simple. You will have no problems building and delivering this game to the students in your class and you may even find that it becomes a staple resource to use for developing this element of your students’ learning.

Game 6 - Label Reveal

Much like Flip Out, Label Reveal is designed to help students with recall, memory, and deduction by having them name different parts of an image. Whereas Flip Out has images or text on a card that is turned over, Label Reveal has teachers identify different elements of an image that they want students to identify and then click on the areas to reveal those names. The added benefit is that not only does this game allow students to identify names, but teachers can also include short descriptions. Students engage with the task by clicking on the “?” to reveal the label. If a description has been added to the label a “+” will appear which can be revealed as a second stage to the action. Perfect for students who need to learn components of a whole and summarise what those elements do, this interactive recall game can induce student’s self-assessment and reflective actions which can foster positive growth.

If you have access to a digital image/photo you can easily upload it to the game and add labels and descriptions. Using the game building wizard, you can quickly and easily upload an image and then start adding in labels and their descriptions. You have a total of 10 labels that you can add to any image and you control where you place the descriptions by dragging them around the window – a fantastic tool to help with any content area at any year level.

Game 7 - Rank Order

Do you have a lesson where students are required to learn a sequence? Rank Order is a great game that allows students to develop skills in education, comparison, and sequencing. With a variety of different fun themes, students can use Rank Order to explore their learning around sequences in the coursework. The added bonus to this game is that you can trigger Metacognitive Strategies using feedback. The game building wizard gives you the opportunity to choose when in the gameplay students receive feedback. If they receive the feedback instantly, wrong answers will shoot out of the “answer zone” and back into the “option pool”. This action will have students thinking about why their choice was wrong and then using what they learn from that instant feedback to inform how they move forward with the learning task. However, if you choose to have the feedback shown at the end of the task, students can self-reflect upon the actions that they took while playing the game and then use that reflection to inform choices that they make when they make required adjustments to achieve the correct order. Either way, these Metacognitive Strategies can deepen the learning experience and help students evaluate the decision-making process they undertake when completing such a task.

Once again, the activity building wizard is a user-friendly tool that allows you to quickly add text or images in their correct order. Once this information has been input into the wizard, choose the point where students receive feedback (through the check answers section), choose the theme and you are good to go. Some themes, like the basketball theme will have animations that enhance the feedback when “instantly” is selected in the check answers section.

For example, when using the Basketball theme, when an answer is put in the correct location the shooter makes the basket, whereas when an incorrect answer is placed in the wrong location, the shooter misses the goal. This can be an effective way of softening a “blow” when students receive an incorrect answer, especially those who might need a little bit of support and nurturing when they are attempting assessments like this.

Game 8 - Memory Match

This fun game allows students to play solo or in pairs, and they are required to turn over cards to find matching pairs. The key difference is that you can personalise what are on the backs of each card for students to pair up. You can have students’ pair 2 of the same images, or pair an image with its name in text, or as you can see in the example I have provided, have students pair elements with the symbols that represent them on the periodic table.

A familiar activity building wizard for those who have used Match Em Up and Rank Order games, the wizard requires you to add text or images into a table and then match the correct answers up. There is no theme variation on this game, with the traditional animal cards being used, but it is a game that will surely get all students, regardless of their age-fighting to find all the pairs.

Game 9 & 10 - Speed Up, and Team Quiz

These two games are very similar, with just slight variations in the game play separating these two games. Like Game Show and Monster Quiz (that we covered in our last article), these two games are quiz-based tools that can be used as formative or summative assessment tasks in the classroom. The activity building wizard allows you to input true/false or multiple-choice answers with no limit as to how many you use. The major difference between these two games, other than their look is how they are played.

Speed Up has characters zooming around a track in a “car race” style game. Up to 4 people can play at a time and they have pods at the bottom of their screen that allows them to select the correct answer by pressing the A, B, C, D button as well as pressing the “zoom” button to give their character a power boost when driving between questions. The premise is that the person who answers correctly and the fastest gets more power boost for their character and crosses the finish line first.

A great game to play either at the board or on student devices, this game gets students focusing on the learning that has happened in the classroom, reflecting on their understanding, and making quick decisions. The interesting element of this game is the way in which feedback is issued.

If the students answer incorrectly their character ‘spins out’ which slows them down in the overall race. While there is no allocation for students to attempt the question again, like in other quiz-based games, it does provide a chance for reflection at the end of the game where the analysis of responses is provided. This is a great opportunity for teachers to unpack the process that students took when answering the questions.

Team Quiz is a game that is best played with student devices. Students are divided into groups and they work collaboratively to answer questions that colors in their team’s colored icon. The first team to successfully complete their colored icon, by answering all the questions correctly is awarded the win. The key benefit to this game is that students are working on their own devices to answer questions while being a part of a team.

The gameplay and the layout are pretty much the same as Monster Quiz, with the only difference being you are trying to color in your team icon instead of breaking your monster out of a crate/enclosure. 

Having said that, this is still a fantastic assessment tool that you can use for both formative and summative assessment tasks, and not only will it get students engaged in the assessment process, but it will also provide you with data that can be used for analysis for your future teaching.

Game 11 - Super Sport

The final game in our SMART GBL Activity collection is the Super Sort. A game that develops students’ understanding of classification, grouping, and logical thinking, this game sees students take elements (either text based or images) and sort them into groups. The interactive element of this game provides students with instant feedback that either reinforces their decisions or makes them think about the choice that they made and why it might be wrong. There are a variety of different themes to choose from which are all fun, with special mentions going out to the knight vs dragon and rock concert themes, but if I am honest, my favorite is the pirate theme – 2 ships firing cannons at each other, for correct answers, and cannons backfiring when the answers are incorrect.

Like Rank Order, Match Em Up, and Memory Match, the game builder is the familiar and user-friendly table-based tool where you can add images and/or pictures to the category table. This is then used to populate the answer options and provide feedback on correct and incorrect answers. A fantastic tool that students of all ages will find fun and engaging while providing them with valuable experience in applying their knowledge and feedback on how they are using it.

The 7 games that we have discussed in this article, coupled with the 4 we covered in the previous article can be accessed through the SMART Learning Suite Online platform as well as the SMART Notebook software. Students can engage either at the SMART Board at the front of the classroom or these games can be pushed to the student’s personal devices for personal or small group interaction. To explore these games, you can visit the link below and sign up for a free trial. Once your trial has expired, please reach out to us at the PAVE Academy or to our parent company Pro AV Solutions to explore how you and the teachers at your school can access a license for these games as well as the other amazing tools that are a part of the SMART Learning Suite platform.
In our next article, we will explore some other game-based tools that are not SMART related, that can be really powerful for your classroom. Stay tuned!

Questions that can drive your integration of Gamification and Game-Based Learning into the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What am I doing in my current teaching practice that is the gamification of learning?

Q2

Can I use GBL tasks as formative assessment tools in my classroom?

Q3

How could I use one or all these 7 games in my classroom to increase student engagement and improve student learning outcomes?

Q4

How can I transform a current learning activity or project into a Game-Based Learning Task?

Q5

How can GBL help me plan and execute cross-curricular activities in my classroom?

References

SMART Learning Suite Online
SMART Technologies

Image References

Flip Out – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Label Reveal – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Rank Order – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Memory Match – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Speed Up – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Team Quiz – this image was taken as a screenshot from the display video within SLSO for the game

Super Sort – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Gamification & Game Based Learning – Tools for teachers

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Gamification & Game-Based Learning - Tools for Teachers

Introduction

Having developed an understanding of what Gamification and Game-Based Learning (GBL) means in our previous article, we are going to start to unpack a variety of different tools that teachers can use in their classroom and look at now only how you can use them, but also the pedagogical benefits that can help improve the students learning outcomes. In this article, we are going to start looking at the SMART Learning Suite and the first four tools in the collection of 11 Game-Based Activities that are embedded into that educational software platform. The SMART Learning suite is a fantastic educational software platform that is designed with educational pedagogy as its driving force. There is a huge suite of tools available in both the online (cloud-based) and notebook (downloadable) versions that can be utilised in the classroom to create a powerful, engaging learning environment, but in this article, we are going to focus on the Game-Based Learning and how they can be used by teachers across all ages to enhance the student learning outcomes. 

As a teacher, I worked for most of my career in a secondary school, and regardless of the year level I taught, from year 7 to year 12, all students loved it when we incorporated GBL into the classroom. Especially in the higher years of secondary education, students are quickly excited by the opportunity to step out of the routine, “serious” nature that is the VCE/HSC and experience their learning in what they perceive as a fun, non-academic focused way. Be this using games or even getting them to make a poster or something creative like a podcast or short film, students of all ages love to get involved in activity based, hands-on learning activities and if you are looking to inject a sense of fun, boost student engagement in your classroom while strengthening the learning and understanding of the content being delivered, GBL can be the right tool to help you achieve this. The SMART Learning Suite has created 11 GBL Activities that teachers from all year levels, from prep/foundation to year 12 can easily incorporate into the learning that occurs in their classroom.

Before we start to unpack the SMART Learning Suite GBL Activities, it is important to understand how these can be used in the classroom. While the SMART Learning Suite has been designed to work effectively with the SMART Board front of class interactive displays, there is a fantastic added benefit to this educational software platform. The SMART Learning Suite software has the capability for students to play these GBL Activities (as well as interact with other key elements of the software) directly on their personal devices. Connecting to the teacher’s digital classroom through the unique SMART Class ID, teachers can have students engage with the lessons, and specifically for this article the GBL Activities, through the hellosmart.com or classlab.com internet portals meaning that all the students can engage in these learning activities simultaneously. Now that we understand that we can start exploring the first 3 tools teachers can use in their classroom and how they can impact their pedagogical practice.

Game 1 - Fill in the blanks

Fill in the Blanks is a fantastic learning tool that allows teachers to easily write or paste a 300-character statement into the wizard, highlight or identify 10 words that will be marked as blanks, choose a theme, or look for the game and then publish it for students to engage with, at the SMART Board on their devices through the hellosmart.com classroom web portal. These words appear at the bottom of the screen and students can drag and drop their answers into the locations that they think are the best fit. Fill in the Blanks is a fantastic tool that focuses on the development of student’s deduction (the process of reaching a decision or answer by thinking about the known facts), composition, and memory. Also inbuilt into this tool is the element of feedback allowing you to choose how and when the student receives feedback (when prompted or instantly).

The variety of feedback delivery times can trigger metacognitive strategies at different times throughout the activity, which can impact the way in which the student develops their understanding of the topic being covered. Instant feedback will trigger the student to think about their thinking at the time that they put the answer into the phrase – why was that wrong and what do I need to change in my thinking before I make my next answer choice? This can be a very powerful tool for having students to self-assess their learning and the choices that they make during the process.

Moving the feedback to the end of the activity, students could conduct a self-assessment of the choices that they made and then adjust their choices before resubmission and reassessment. This can be a very powerful learning tool for students to learn from the choices they made and then think about the process that they undertake or implement to reach the correct answer. Overall, this GBL Activity can be a great formative assessment tool that students can access throughout their learning to demonstrate their understanding of the learning being undertaken.

Game 2 - Game Show

If you have been looking for ways to transform that end of unit multiple choice quiz into fun and interactive games, then look no further than SMARTS Game Show. This fantastic tool takes the multiple-choice quiz and embeds it into a fun traditional game show platform where students answer questions for points, spin the wheel to earn powerups, and even steam points from their opponents when questions are answered incorrectly. Played as either an entire class activity or in small group collaborative stations on their devices, students put their understanding of a topic to the test in this competitive and fun game show scenario.

The user-friendly game building wizard gives teachers the opportunity to choose between multiple-choice and true/false question types, type in questions, or copy/paste text from an existing word document and select the correct answer for instant correction. Adding as many questions as they like, teachers can also randomise the question order so you can use this assessment tool more than once. As either a whole class or small group collaborative activity, where students can discuss and negotiate answer within their teams before inputting them into the game interface. 

The user-friendly game building wizard gives teachers the opportunity to choose between multiple-choice and true/false question types, type in questions, or copy/paste text from an existing word document and select the correct answer for instant correction. Adding as many questions as they like, teachers can also randomise the question order so you can use this assessment tool more than once. As either a whole class or small group collaborative activity, where students can discuss and negotiate answer within their teams before inputting them into the game interface. This collaborative interaction gives students experience in the act of negotiation as well as developing communication skills like explanation and justification. The students also receive instant feedback from the Game Show host, triggering metacognitive strategies. In the event they answer the question correctly, it reinforces the process they implemented to choose the correct answer and in turn solidifies their learning, however when an incorrect answer is entered the opposition team has the chance to steal the points and the students could conduct a self-assessment as to why their answer was incorrect.

The review process also allows teachers to identify deficits in the student’s knowledge and use that data to reapproach ways in which they teach the content in the future. It can also be used as a teaching tool to help students identify errors that were made and to identify ways in which they can adjust their thinking for future learning activities. Used as either a formative or summative assessment tool, teachers can quickly and easily build and delivery this highly engaging and effective GBL Activity in their classroom.

Game 3 - Match Em Up

Have you been looking for ways to understand relationships between different elements of the coursework that you teach? Well, look no further than SMARTs March Em Up game. This is a fun way to get students to understand relationships between elements of their learning, be it periodic symbols and their names, animals and the sounds that they make, food and their dietary categories, anything that requires students to understand relationships can be taught using this game, a great way for students to explore one-on-one correspondence as well as developing their working memory.

The platform also provides you with a variety of different themes, from the knight fighting a fire breathing dragon, rock guitarists rocking out on stage to superheroes fighting a robot who is trying to take over the city, there are a variety of different themes that can create an exciting and engaging experience for your students.

What makes this Game Based Activity even more enticing is the ease at which it can be built. The game wizard provides you with 2 simple steps to building your game – the first is importing images or writing text into the table to identify which pairs go together, and the second is choosing your theme. From there you can easily connect your students to your hellosmart.com digital classroom and have them engage in this activity directly on their own personal devices

Game 4 - Monster Quiz

Much like Game Show, the Monster Quiz game allows teachers to assess students’ understanding as either a formative or summative assessment task in a fun and engaging way. Asking either Multiple Choice or True/False questions, students are broken into teams and they work collaboratively against other teams, trying to answer the questions the fastest to free their monster. This highly engaging game not only encourages their participation but also provides feedback on answers that are both right and wrong as well as triggers metacognitive strategies. When students get questions incorrect, they move on with the rest of the quiz later coming back to the questions they had trouble with later in the game, however, when they revisit the challenging questions, the answer they originally selected have been blocked out, triggering the thought process to analyse why they selected that answer and what was wrong about it.

They then can reassess the options and choose again. This valuable feedback and analysis tool allows students to learn from their mistakes and make choices from those errors that can assist with their future development, creating positive work practices for their future learning. 

As monster quiz is based on the same wizard builder as a game show, users will see a familiar and simple layout that allows you to either write in questions or utilise and existing quiz you may have developed by copying and pasting questions from a document that you may have had already developed – just remember to mark which answer is the correct one so that the program can mark the questions for you!

At the end of the session there is an opportunity for teachers to review the students’ answers and as a class, unpack not only the correct answers but also explore the processes that students employed to discount the incorrect answers. This valuable assessment analysis can help students with future assessment tasks and develop their analytical and critical thinking skills.

The 4 games that we have discussed in this article can be accessed through the SMART Learning Suite Online platform as well as the SMART Notebook software. Students can engage either at the SMART Board at the front of the classroom or these games can be pushed to the student’s personal devices for personal or small group interaction. To explore these games, you can sign up for a free trial via the link below. Once your trial has expired, please reach out to us at the PAVE Academy or to our parent company Pro AV Solutions to explore how you and the teachers at your school can access a license for these games as well as the other amazing tools that are a part of the SMART Learning Suite platform.

Questions that can drive your integration of Gamification and Game-Based Learning into the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What am I doing in my current teaching practice that is the gamification of learning?

Q2

Can I use GBL tasks as formative assessment tools in my classroom?

Q3

How could I use one or all these 4 games in my classroom to increase student engagement and improve student learning outcomes?

Q4

How can I transform a current learning activity or project into a Game-Based Learning Task?

Q5

How can GBL help me plan and execute cross-curricular activities in my classroom?

References

Deduction
Published: Cambridge Dictionary

SMART Learning Suite Online
SMART Technologies

Image References

Fill in the Blanks – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Game Show – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Match Em Up – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Monster Quiz 1

Monster Quiz 2

Term Dates for 2021

GETTING READY FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR

Term Dates for 2021

Introduction

With the start of the school year not far away and with teachers starting to think about planning out the year that lies ahead, we thought it would be helpful if we shared all the 2021 school term dates with you so to assist with planning your schedules.
Below is a list of all the term dates for each state in Australia, listed in alphabetical order (along with the state/territory flags and some background information for a bit of fun and learning thrown in as well).

We hope that all of you have a very productive and happy new school year and please remember that Pro AV Solutions and the PAVE Academy are here to help you in any way we can. Please keep checking back to read our blog (new posts weekly), engage in our free webinar series or if you are a partner school and have purchased Education Technology through Pro AV Solutions, engage with our On-Demand Micro PD Courses or our free Professional Learning and Coaching sessions. And remember, if you are looking for any Education Technology solutions please do not hesitate to contact us and see if we can be of assistance.

ACT

  • T1: 1st February to 1st April
  • T2: 19th April to 25th June
  • T3: 12th July to 17th September
  • T4: 5th October to 17th December

 

Source here 

Designed by local artist Ivo Ostyn, the ACT Flag was adopted on the 25th of March in 1993 and feature the heraldic colours of the Commonwealth of Australia. The shield displays a triple-towered castle with a sword of justice crossed with the parliamentary mace just above. The rose beneath the castle reflects the 1927 opening of the old parliament building by the then Duke of York

NSW

  • T1 (Eastern Division): 27th January to 1st April
  • T1 Western Division): 3rd February to 9th April
  • T2: 19th April to 25th June
  • T3: 12th July to 17th September
  • T4: 5th October to 17th December

Source here 

The NSW badge, a golden lion (passant guardant) surrounded by 4 8-pointed stars on the St George Cross, was adopted on 18th February 1876 and is like the unofficial coat of arms that was displayed from 1821. It is suggested that the lion signifies the vice-regal authority of the governor

NT

  • T1: 1st February to 9th April
  • T1 (Remote Schools): 2nd February to 9th April
  • T2: 19th April to 25th June
  • T3: 20th July to 24th September
  • T4: 11th October to 16th December
  • T4 (Remote Schools): 11th October to 17th December

Source here 

The NT flag was adopted on the 1st of July 1978 when the NT was granted self-governing status. The flag features a stylised version of the Sturt Desert Rose and is said that the white petals around the black centre reflects the commonwealth star. The southern cross uses the Victorian configuration of the constellation to reflect the Victorian artist Robert Ingpen’s design.

QLD

  • T1: 27th January to 1st April

  • T2: 19th April to 25th June

  • T3: 12th July to 17 September

  • T4: 5th October to 10th December

Source here 

Selected by Governor William Cairns and adopted on the 29th of November 1876, the flag features a crown in the centre of a blue Maltese Cross with the crown changing to reflect the regent who is sitting on the throne. It is suggested that the design either reflects the vice-regal authority of the Governor or to represent Queen Victoria whom the colony had been named for

SA

  • T1: 27th January to 9th April
  • T2: 27th April to 2nd July
  • T3: 19th July to 24 September
  • T4: 11th October to 10th December

Source here 

South Australia was the only state that decided to obtain and adopt a new flag badge at the time of federation and officially adopted this flag on the 14th of January 1904. The white backed magpie in a heraldic pose has been attributed to the arms of Prussia, sitting on a yellow disc it is said to signify the golden rising sun of the federation

TAS

  • T1 (Schools): 3rd February to 31st March
  • T1 (Colleges): 3rd February to 1st April
  • T2: 21st April to 2nd July
  • T3 (Schools): 20th July to 24th September
  • T3 (Colleges): 19th July to 24th September
  • T4: 11th October to 16th December

Source here 

The Tasmanian flag displays a red lion (passant) which was originally designed as the symbol of the Governor and not as the symbol that represented the colony. However, after some alternatives were rejected due to the fact, they did not comply with the British Admiralty pattern for colonial flags, this flag was adopted on the 29th of November 1875

VIC

  • T1: 27th January to 1st April
  • T2: 19th April to 25th June
  • T3: 12th July to 17th September
  • T4: 4th October to 17th December

Source here 

Dating from 1877, the Victorian flag has undergone two changes over its lifespan, with the crown changing to reflect the regent who sits upon the throne. The stars in the Southern Cross uses different numbers of points to reflect their relative brightness in the night sky (8, 7, 7, 6 & 5).

WA

  • T1: 1st February to 1st April
  • T2: 19th April to 2nd July
  • T3: 19th July to 24th September
  • T4: 11th October to 16th December

Source here 

Originally the Swan River Settlement, the Western Australian flag features a black swan on a golden disc, designed to reflect the states origin. The oldest state flag in Australia was officially adopted on the 3rd of January 1870, and originally had the swan facing away from the union hack but was changed on the 10th of November 1953

Gamification & Game Based Learning – What is it and how it impacts student learning

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Gamification & Game-Based Learning - What is it and how it impacts student learning.

Introduction

Video games have come a long way since the introduction of the Commodore 64 and Atari systems in the ’80s and they are having a huge impact on the ways in which we spend our leisure time. According to the 2018 Digital Australia Report, video gaming has become a key element of the typical Australian home with 97% of Australian homes that have children have computer games as a part of their landscape and 80% of those households have more than one gaming device.

Australians play video games for an average of 89 minutes a day (all gameplay) citing “passing time and having fun” as the key reasons why we engage in this form of past time, and with this knowledge, the question needs to be asked, why are we, as teachers, not regularly embedding games and game-based learning activities into our classrooms? If Australians are spending as much time play games as this report suggests, we must find stimulation and engagement in this kind of activity, and with an ever-increasing challenge of capturing and keeping students engagement and attention in the classroom, should we actively embed games and game-based education into our classrooms to combat this issue and should this be happening as a regular element of our pedagogical approach to student learning? Even Albert Einstein understood the importance of games, indicating that “they are the most elevated form of investigation…are avenues for something deeper and more meaningful than a childish waste of time” In the following series of articles, we are going to dig deeper on this topic and unpack tools and strategies that we can implement in our classrooms to engage students through this style of the pedagogical approach. But before we start, there are 2 key terms that you may come across with regards to games in education – they are gamification and game-based learning – and we need to unpack these so that you have a strong understanding of what they are.

‘Gamification’

‘Gamification’ is the application of typical elements or mechanics of game playing into an activity and this is something that teachers have been doing for eons. So, what are ‘game elements’ that can be added to gamify a lesson? Game elements or game mechanics can include:

  • Storytelling
  • Problem-Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Aesthetics
  •  Trial & Error
  •  Rules
  • Collaboration
  • Competition
  • Reward Systems
  • Feedback


If you have a look at that list I am sure that you have a little voice in your head saying “I do that, and I do that…” and it is completely true because teachers do all of these elements in their daily teaching, but the question is not whether do them or not but are we drawing the students attention to them as gamification and will this drive an increase in their engagement? While I type this, I think back to my Grade 3 teacher, Mrs. Manners who, on each Friday afternoon would have us line up between our desks in 2 lines and we would compete in our time’s table races. She would call out a times table and the two students at the front of the lines would take turns in running through the time’s tables as fast as they can while she timed them. The winner would stay, and the next student would come to the front and try to dethrone the reigning champion. This sense of competition – a race with a winner and loser, is an example of Gamification in learning and as I mentioned before, is something that teachers have been embedding in their teaching practice for eons. Another example is the ways in which teachers use a points system to reward good and penalise bad behavior. Like the gold star chart at the front of the room where when a student reaches 10 gold stars can have a kind of reward or the adverse where strikes are placed against students for bad behavior resulting in punishment if they get to 3 strikes. A more popular example is the house points system referred to regularly in the Harry Potter saga (which funnily enough always seemed to be a race between Slytherin and Gryffindor for the house cup) where students were awarded house points for completing achievements or for good behavior, or points were taken if a student broke a rule. These examples show how schools and teachers have been using Gamification in the classroom, but it has never been something that was necessarily promoted, more used as a learning activity or a behavior management tool – which makes me beg the question, what could happen to student engagement if we changed our thinking on this and maybe promoted this pedagogical approach as a game, how could something simple as changing this approaches label change the ways in which students viewed these experiences in the classroom and would it drive their intrinsic motivation to be engaged and immersed in the learning that is happening?

Gamification can also be the awarding of badges for the achievement of particular elements of programs. Take a look at the bottom of emails that you receive from people – can you see any badges there? I know my email signature has badges from Apple, SMART Technologies, and Sphero and they were awarded to me for completing or being a part of different education programs. These badges are examples of where companies, like Apple, Google, SMART, Microsoft, the Kahn Academy, and millions of others, have ‘gamified’ elements of their program, creating levels of connection and participation achieved by meeting requirements/conditions and demonstrated though displaying the badges. This symbol of “leveling up”, as you would do in a video game, is a key component of Gamification which has been adopted across a wide variety of companies and industries around the world. I think about my time in scouts when I was a kid, where I earned badges for completing various tasks that my mum would sew onto the sleeves of my uniform – this is an example of gamification. Recently I attended a SMART Technologies Global Summit, and due to the 2020 COVID-19 restrictions, the conference was held digitally in the SMART 360 Platform. Each interaction in the space earned the attendees points, so if you went to an auditorium session you earned X amount of points, if you went into the exhibition hall and watched some videos or downloaded some resources that were X amount of points, and there was a leader board that displayed attendees and their accumulated points for the day with the top achievers winning prizes

There were even scavenger hunt style games throughout the day, my favorite being the hunt for the SMART Monsters who were scattered throughout the 360 platform – with each find earning you X amount of points. You could sit there and say that this insensitive based approach to engagement can be seen as “tricking” the attendee into getting involved, but I honestly believe that this approach made the day more exciting. Yes, there will be some people who get caught up in the “winning” element, and for full disclosure, I did get a little caught up in finding all the 9 monsters and was getting a little frustrated when I couldn’t find that last one, but this form of engagement can also be seen as rewarding, a way of giving back to those who were going to engage anyway and using positive reinforcement to support their engagement.

This makes me think about the ways in which we reinforce behavior in the classroom. I have had many a conversation with teachers, and graduates especially, around ways in which they manage the student behavior in their classrooms and how I was able to have minimal classroom management issues in my own class. While I didn’t necessarily gamify all the learning in my classroom like we are speaking of here, I did positively reinforce good behavior and achievement, which drove students towards practicing good behavior and achieving personal successes. Does gamification in the classroom achieve the same outcome?

Another example is how Kahn Academy are gamifying their courses. On their Kahn for Educators webpage, the Kahn Academy is helping teachers engage with their learning programs through the use of gamification elements like a scavenger hunt and downloadable certificate templates that can be presented to students for achievement. This celebration of achievement allows students to drive their involvement and work towards small goals. Yes, this element is embedded into the platform to encourage students to engage with the Kahn Academy regularly, but if you step back and think about the bigger picture, it is teaching students to break down large tasks into smaller “bite-size” pieces and then is rewarding them for achieving each small goal along the journey to overall success. 

This practice is a very important lifelong learning strategy to ensure that students are able to undertake and complete larger tasks once they are out of school and actively engaged in the workforce. So, at this point in the article, you may be thinking “ok so now I get Gamification, but what is Game-Based Learning?” To be completely honest, these 2 terms are very similar if not the same in their meaning. Game-Based Learning (GBL) is where the characteristics of games and their principles are embedded into learning activities with the key focus of driving student engagement and motivation, so I guess the key difference between the two terms is the use of the word “learning” – Gamification being for activities and Game-Based Learning being for learning activities…. The use of GBL in the classroom creates a highly engaging, and motivating learning environment for students, promoting authentic collaboration, problem-solving, and communication skills as well as fostering teamwork and peer leadership. It can also extend out to Game-making where students can develop their own educational based games to display their own learning and understanding.

One key element that needs to be considered if you are going to adopt a GBL or gamification element into your classroom is the WHY! While they can be effective engagement tools, it is important to ask yourself if the gamification is actually improving the learning, or is it something that you are doing just for the sake of it? Too many times have I seen teachers and schools adopting what could be categorized as “the latest trend” to ensure that they stay up to date with educational developments without thinking about the effect it has directly on the learning. Yes, gamification is a fantastic tool and should be used in the classroom, but it needs to be used at the right time and in the right way. It should only be used if it helps the teacher and students achieve the learning intentions or the WHY. This is the most important element and if we get distracted by activities that are “on trend” then we will have a highly engaging learning environment that has a group of highly driven and motivated students who go nowhere because the learning is not pushing them to develop and improve. Like I have said before, a hammer is a fantastic tool for pushing a nail into a piece of wood but is a terrible tool for dusting fine china on the shelf – as teachers we need to ensure we are choosing the right tool that helps us get the job done, and done well.
In all forms of education, gamification has been included but most of the time we don’t acknowledge it as a “game”. Is this a mistake? Does the idea of games have a negative connotation when related to something as serious as “education and learning”? I encourage all of you to think about ways in which you can include gamification and GBL in your future planning and lesson delivery and explore ways in which you can use it to create powerful, engaging, and inspirational classes that have students not only achieving their learning intentions but also pushing the boundaries of their potential.

Questions that can drive your integration of the Substation into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What am I doing in my current teaching practice that is the gamification of learning?

Q2

Would the use of GBL help motivate my students to learn? What element of the curriculum could this have the biggest impact on?

Q3

What are my colleagues doing in their lessons that I might like to adopt into mine?

Q4

How can I transform a current learning activity or project into a Game-Based Learning Task?

Q5

How can GBL help me plan and execute cross-curricular activities in my classroom?

References

DA:18 Digital Australia Report
By: J. Brand, S Todhunter & J. Jervis
Published by: Interactive Games & Entertainment

12 Examples of Gamification in the Classroom
By: Ryan Schaaf & Jack Quinn
Published by: Teachthought.com

Encouraging student motivation with Kahn Academy
By: Meaghan Pattani
Published by Kahn Academy

Game-Based Learning
By: Top Hat
Published by: Tophat.com

Game-Based Learning – What Is It?
By: Digital Technologies Hub
Published by: Digital Technologies Hub

Game-Based Learning
By: Annie Pho & Amanda Dinscore
Published by: Association of College & Research Libraries & American Library Association

Image References
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Unpacking the SAMR Model – Redefinition

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking the SAMR Model: Redefinition

Introduction

As this is the final article in our SAMR Model series, this entry will look at the ways in which we can redefine the learning that is occurring in our classrooms with digital technology solutions.

Redefinition, the action or process of defining something again or differently, can easily be achieved in the learning landscape by the embedding of digital technology into the students learning experience. Once again take my new favourite SAMR infographic which has been a staple addition to all these articles. With the intention of exploring the different sides of a lake, we can clearly explore the depth of learning (pun intended) through the ways in which we design and present the task to the students. If the overall intention of the lesson is to have students identify the differences between two sides of a lake, we can start “improving the learning experience” through incorporating digital tools to instead of just looking at the other side of the lake, actually getting the student from across the lake through a variety of different means. We can substitute a digital solution for a traditional learning approach which is the row-boat option, moving the student from one side to the other across the surface of the water. If we take the digital solution and look at ways in which we can extend and augment the learning outcomes, then we are swimming across the water while using a snorkel to see what lies below the surface. Further development and design of our learning tasks with digital solutions can allow us to extend the level at which we explore the underwater environment. Modification, as we have discussed in our last article, allows the teacher to extend the learning outcomes for the task, while still traveling from one side of the lake to the other but extending a student’s understanding and dept of knowledge through exploring the underwater environment through scuba diving.

The final stage, Redefinition is the most advanced implementation of digital technology outlined in the SAMR model, as it not only addresses the key elements outlined in the original learning task, but it also takes the enhancements of the other stages and expands upon them, allowing students to not only travel across the lake to explore the other side but use a submarine to extensively explore the world that lies beneath the surface of the lake while the journey from one side to the other. This article is going to unpack this final stage to help you gain a stronger understanding of what this may look like in the classroom.

Before we launch into unpacking this final stage of the SAMR model, it is worth noting that for redefinition to be a successful element of a teacher’s pedagogical practice, it is important to acknowledge that to successfully adopt redefinition in their classroom, teachers need to open themselves up to the concept of completely rethinking concepts that may be “tried and true” which can make us feel a little vulnerable, especially when the ‘existing’ approaches have worked in the past. While this can be true, shifting our thinking to a continual improvement model can ensure that we not only create new and exciting learning experiences for our students, but we also create a new world of learning approaches that can help us on our own continual professional improvement.

Like Modification, Redefinition requires that teachers change the design of their learning activities and learning outcomes in a manner that can only be achieved through student use of technology. An example would be the manner in which students took notes when working in your class. Traditionally the passive handwritten notes did suffice, however moving that into the digital realm and incorporating programs like Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, Google Docs, Apple Pages, or even Microsoft Word can allow students to share their documents with a teacher and their peers, for collaboration on a single document to occur and for real-time feedback to be given to improve the students’ progression. In addition to this, a student can take a video or photograph of something that happened in the class and embed that directly into their notes. They can also drop in hyperlinks to webpages and utilise tools like dictionaries, thesaurus, and other grammatical tools that can enhance their workflow. Without redefining “how” students take notes in your classroom, as well as the concept of “what notes look like” students would never be able to create a stronger and more effective reference system for their learning in the classroom.

Another example could be based around a lesson for grade 6 students on how native Australian animals adapt to their environments to survive. Where the original lesson may have been students reading articles or watching a video about Australian Animals, we could redefine the lesson to explore a student’s inquisitorial approach to research gathering by using video conferencing to connect students to a variety of zoologists from around Australia to discuss in real-time how the different Australian animals in their region adapt to their environments to survive. In addition to this, teachers could have the students take a virtual tour of the Melbourne Museum where they can visit the “Amazing animals in a changing world” exhibit and move through the animals at their own pace. Finally, using applications like Google Earth, the students can take the information gathered from their meetings with zoologists to explore the different habitats and see the types of vegetation in those areas. This example takes a simple research-based task and transforms it into a highly engaging and interactive experience that draws on so many elements of the students learning outside just passively learning information. The inclusion of digital technology in this learning approach has meant that students connect with true experts, engaging in a dialogue around the topic, allowing them to form a deeper understanding of what is being discussed. Coupled with the virtual learning tours and exploration, the learning task has been redesigned and redefined into a multi-layered educational experience.

Another example could be a year 9 maths class where students are exploring geometry, specifically parallel and perpendicular lines. Traditionally, the lesson was based on a textbook where students used formulas to work out relationships between angles formed by two lines. The teacher substitutes the lesson moving the student’s work onto Google While this activity teaches and applies the knowledge, it can be transformed into a real-life context where they apply their knowledge to solve real issues and geometrical problems. Using applications like GeoGebra and Explain Everything or Screen-Casting O-Matic, students can create their own problems with a video tour of real-world examples of parallel and perpendicular lines that can be shared or presented to the class. This lesson example shows how teachers can take what traditionally is a passive learning experience and turn it into an immersive and engaging activity that gets students looking for problems in real-world contexts and then applying their knowledge to produce solutions which are then shared with their peers for feedback. Such a learning experience not only increases student engagement but also agency and voice by giving them control over the direction their learning takes while incorporating a practical approach to the use and application of this knowledge.

Another example of redefinition in the classroom is a grade 5 history lesson on Ancient Egypt. The teacher has been working with students to explore the Pharaohs and especially the ways in which they were honored after their death. The lesson traditionally had students looking at images in a book of the various trinkets and articles that were placed in the tombs with the pharaohs. Using digital tools like Online Quizzes, Internet searches, YouTube Videos, and the like, the teacher was able to substitute, augment and modify the lesson to make it more engaging, however by completely redesigning the lesson the teacher can have the students link to different international museums to obtain 3D scans of some artifacts which they then print out using a 3D printer. Once they have printed it out, they can study its design, and using the features inscribed on the surface of the artifact, they can use it as a model to design their own artifacts and use that to explain a design approach and story behind their product. This redefined lesson has not only utilised key digital tools but has brought the world of Ancient Egypt directly into the classroom in a way that could never have been achieved before – a truly powerful deep learning event for the students.

In all the examples discussed in this and the previous 3 articles around unpacking and understanding the SAMR Model, the teachers have looked at ways in which the original lesson ideas can be redesigned or modified to create new and exciting learning opportunities for students in the classroom. Digital technology and its effective use in the classroom is truly a revolutionary element that has taken the lessons that we deliver to our students into new realms. While this is fantastic and can create some amazing lessons for our students, it is important that we think about what stage of the SAMR is appropriate for the lesson that we are delivering. Remember not all lessons need to be pitched at the redefinition stage. It is about choosing the level that best achieves the learning outcomes that you want the activity to meet. Yes, there may be some opportunities where you can stretch the learning out to include more areas than you initially designed but that is going to relate to the overall unit of work and your learning schedule. Remember that the SAMR model is not a ladder that you need to try and climb to reach the top, it’s a spectrum that you need to place your activity along to ensure the best learning outcome for the student.

We also need to take some time to acknowledge that there will be some teachers who read these articles and feel a little overwhelmed with their knowledge and skills around the use of technology in the classroom which may allow them to achieve some of these outcomes. If you feel like this is you, then it is important that you don’t just dismiss this idea and stick to what you know. Instead, ask your peers for assistance, or get in touch with the Education Specialist at Pro AV Solutions for some free coaching because expanding your pedagogy to include digital technology can not only open up the SAMR model to your classroom but can provide you with a new frontier of possibilities that can not only enhance the learning for your students but can also open your eyes to new approaches to ways in which you deliver that learning in your classroom.

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Augmentation in the Classroom examples

  • Creating video guides and instructional models to demonstrate the application of learning
  • Students create webpages to share their knowledge on a topic with the world
  • Students can collaborate with students from around the world on topics that allow them to now only share their knowledge but also work collaboratively to learn from students outside their direct classroom
  • Design and product physical products with 3D scanning and printing
  • Use software and vacuum forming to produce a prototype of a product they have designed and then reproduce the prototype and sell that product in a controlled environment

Questions that can drive your integration of the Modification into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues

Q1

What is the learning outcome that you are trying to achieve from this task? Can you rethink and redesign this activity to allow students to explore areas of their learning that sparks inquiry and exploration?

Q2

What output do you expect to see from a student at the end of this learning task? Can redefine the task so that you extend their output by creating opportunities that explore their creativity with digital tools?

Q3

How can the redefinition of a lesson in your classroom change the way students engage with their learning?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson that could stretch and extend the students learning? By using a digital learning solution can you redesign the task to take the learning in a brand-new direction that extends the learning experience.

Q5

How can I change my thinking around my approach to lessons? Am I able to redesign my lessons so that I can create learning activities that don’t just focus on one learning outcome? How can I use redefinition to my students’ benefit?

Unpacking the SAMR Model – Modification

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking the SAMR Model: Modification

Introduction

In the first two articles in this series we discussed an overview of the SAMR Model and then started to unpack it by taking a deeper look at the first two stages – Substitution and Augmentation. In this article, we are going to continue our journey of understanding the SAMR model by looking at the third stage – Modification,

To maintain continuity in the ways in which we are presenting these articles, if you look up “modify” in the dictionary you will find that it is a transitive verb that means to “make basic or fundamental changes to give a new orientation or serve to a new end” moving into the realm of design change of the learning task, creating a situation which changes the learning intentions for the lesson and the learning outcomes for the students. Taking an existing learning task or activity, one that may or may not have already been Substituted or Augmented through the application of the first 2 stages of the SAMR model, and redesigning its application in the classroom, using technology at its core, the modification stage of the SAMR model looks to create an opportunity for students to deepen their learning and understanding that was previously unavailable through traditional (non-technology) based activities.

Another example could be the use of Online Quizzes in place of the traditional pen and paper style paper. A grade 5 teacher has just finished a unit of work on different capital cities around the world. Traditionally at the end of the unit of work, the students would complete a short quiz to assess what they have learned during the geography unit. By using a digital tool like a Google Form, the teacher has created not only a digital substitution but has created a situation where the students’ engagement has been enhanced with the use of spell check, language and grammar checkers as well as access to a thesaurus. This augmentation has meant that the students can focus on sharing their knowledge without worrying about the spelling of different cities’ names. This augmentation can also assist in ensuring that students can get their ideas across, those that are being assessed, without having the stress of focusing on elements that are not necessarily the main focus of the unit assessment task. The augmentation of this task does not just stop here, it has improved the ways in which the teachers interact with the responses. At the end of the assessment, when students press the submit button, and if it has been set up correctly, the assessments can be corrected and students can receive instant feedback on how they went. In addition to this, the data is uploaded and analysed by the Google platform, providing teachers with infographics outlining the strengths and weaknesses in the student’s responses which can be used to inform the direction for future lessons. The data can also be exported into a spreadsheet for further analysis and reporting.

A fun way to continue to develop our understanding of the SAMR Model and how it sits in the overall spectrum of lesson development and improvement is this model presented by Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch blog. Thinking of the SAMR Model as a coffee menu and thinking of the original form being a glass of water, substitution adds coffee beans to the mix to create a cup of coffee and augmenting this flavour by adding warm milk gives us a cafe latte. By adding vanilla favoured syrup to the steamed milk to a shot of espresso, and finishing it off with a drizzle of caramel we now have a new entity, the caramel macchiato – and while this is still theoretically linked to the original cup of water, we have a brand new direction and flavour that would not have been possible without firstly adding the coffee beans to create that original cup of coffee.

In our first two articles we discussed a drama teacher who has their class writing a performance journal, traditionally using a pen and paper solution by writing in their class workbooks, substituted with a word document that was emailed to the teacher for assessment and then augmented to a blog where the student could receive feedback on their writing from peers in the class. If we were going to continue workshopping this idea, if the teacher wanted to move this learning activity into the Modification stage, they could look at the learning outcomes that they were trying to achieve from the activity and redesign it into a collaborative joint performance journal. This could be moving a review into a Google Doc or a SMART Learning Suite Workspace activity where the students work simultaneously on the same document, sharing their ideas and creating a collaborative workspace that collates the student groups’ collective thoughts and learning. Alternatively, the teacher could create a digital “newspaper” style assessment where students uploaded their journal entries as either articles, podcasts, or short video review to a collaborative paper which was then published to the school community. This redesign of the learning task allows the students to explore their creativity in the ways in which they present their journal entries while creating situations where they can publish and share their work with their peers while also working collaboratively in either small or whole class groups. By adopting technology in this instance, the learning task has moved from a handwritten “dear diary” style journal entry to a highly creative, collaborative, interactive, and engaging learning activity which not only demonstrates the modification stage of the SAMR model but also explores ways in which students can start to take control of the ways in which they “experience” and demonstrate their learning.

By modifying a task using technology, you are allowing students the opportunity to “generate inspired and innovative work that isn’t confined to paper” which can create a highly engaging learning experience that has students pushing the boundaries of their learning and losing themselves in their learning. Modification can also expose the student’s creativity, allowing them to use their learning to express themselves through the ways in which they display their knowledge. An example is an English teacher who wants to teach persuasive writing composition. Where traditionally a teacher may have explored this topic as a written essay style activity, by adopting technology and the modification stage students can do a podcast where they share their opinions about a variety of topics, which could then be shared in a local school community for feedback. Another student could create a television new report style submission where they state their ideas or opinions on a topic and then find others that support and contrast their ideas to present a balanced new report this could be then presented to the class for collaborative discussion and analysis. In both examples, without technology, these were just essays or at best a newspaper article but by introducing technology and modifying the ways in which the students could demonstrate their understanding of persuasive writing composition the task has not only encompassed the students’ creativity and has opened up learning engagement to a whole new level, it has also started to incorporate student voice into the learning process, giving them control over the way in which they show what they have learned.

Let’s take the online quizzes that we spoke about in our last article where a grade 5 teacher just finished a unit of work on different capital cities around the world. Traditionally the assessment would be a short paper-based quiz, substituted to a Google Form allowed augmentation through access to spell check, thesaurus, and other text-based digital tools, however of the teacher redesigned the assessment by incorporating gamification elements, and created a game show activity like the SMART Learning Suite Team Quiz or a Kahootz! then this once the stock standard quiz has been redesigned into a highly interactive and engaging activity that embraces the fun in the classroom while also providing students with instant feedback and opportunities to incorporate metacognitive strategies into the way in which they interact with the game and answer the questions – a situation that was not conceivable before incorporating technology into the equation.
Another example could be for a Year 11 Visual Communications lesson where students are required to design and develop a new design for a low-income housing project to support refugees. Traditionally this may have been completed as a drawing on a piece of graph paper, however by introducing technology into the equation students are able to create 3-dimensional models of their building designs that can be run through digital simulations to see if they are able to withstand various different weather situations. This modification allows students to expand on the initial lesson idea, and not just look at the overall look of the building but also start to explore its functionality which reflects more of a real-world situation for architects.

In all these examples, the teachers have looked at ways in which the original lesson ideas can be redesigned or modified to create new and exciting learning opportunities for students in the classroom and as displayed by my favorite infographic about the SAMR Model, the use of technology has allowed us to drastically redesign the way in which the student travels across the lake, encompassing not only the movement from one side to the other but incorporating the ability to explore the sea life at new depths through our ability to “scuba dive”. 

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Augmentation in the Classroom examples

  • Collecting student data, and then analysing that with graphs and automated formulas through digital forms instead of traditional written surveys
  • Students recording audio of their text instead of just writing it on a piece of paper
  • Uploading learning resources as a PDF for student access, as opposed to photocopying
  • Using a SMART Board with the associated SMART Learning Suite to delivery a class instead of writing on a traditional whiteboard.
  • Creation of a slide show instead of a poster with embedded videos, audio files and hyperlinks

Questions that can drive your integration of the Substation into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What is the learning outcome that you are trying to achieve from this task? Can we substitute the task with a digital tool that can augment the students learning experience?

Q2

What output do you expect to see from a student at the end of this learning task? Can the students exceed this output expectation with a different digital solution?

Q3

What positive learning outcome extensions can come from creating a digital learning solution for your lesson?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson lacks in efficiency and economy? Can this be solved with a digital solution and how do they stretch the learning in new directions?

Q5

How can I change my thinking when I’m designing my lessons so that I can create lessons and learning activities that don’t just focus on one learning outcome? How can I use augmentation to my students benefit?

Unpacking the SAMR Model – Augmentation

CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Unpacking the SAMR Model: Augmentation

Introduction

In the first article in this series, we discussed an overview of the SAMR Model and then started to unpack it by taking a deeper look at the first stage – Substitution. In this article, we are going to continue our journey of understanding the SAMR model by looking at the second stage – Augmentation.
If you look up “augment” in the dictionary you will find that it means “to make greater, more numerous, larger or more intense” and as this is the second stage of the SAMR model, we can deduce that Augmentation is taking a substitution task and improving its functionality, with a greater impact than it has on the learning outcomes of the students in the classroom. Taking a variety of examples, some of the same that we spoke about in the previous article, we can explore how teachers can introduce digital technology solutions that not only substitute the learning activity but also augment it.

In our first article, we discussed a drama teacher who has their class writing a performance journal. Traditionally they used a pen and paper solution by writing in their class workbooks, but the teacher substituted that with a word document that was emailed to the teacher for assessment. This was a perfect example of substitution in the classroom, however, if the teacher wanted to Augment the learning activity, instead of having the students write their practice journal on a word document, they had them create a blog where they would post their entries each week. While this seems like a substitute for the word document, the augmentation comes from the fact that there can be peer review and feedback given on each blog post through comments. Moving the journal into the blog space allows for the teacher to open the activity up to peer learning, an augmentation of the original learning task which only allowed for a student-teacher-student conversation flow. This augmentation allows students to gain access to a wider amount of feedback that can help them to develop a greater understanding of what they are working on and how they are reporting that in their blog.

Another example could be the use of Online Quizzes in place of the traditional pen and paper style paper. A grade 5 teacher has just finished a unit of work on different capital cities around the world. Traditionally at the end of the unit of work, the students would complete a short quiz to assess what they have learned during the geography unit. By using a digital tool like a Google Form, the teacher has created not only a digital substitution but has created a situation where the students’ engagement has been enhanced with the use of spell check, language and grammar checkers as well as access to a thesaurus. This augmentation has meant that the students can focus on sharing their knowledge without worrying about the spelling of different cities’ names. This augmentation can also assist in ensuring that students can get their ideas across, those that are being assessed, without having the stress of focusing on elements that are not necessarily the main focus of the unit assessment task. The augmentation of this task does not just stop here, it has improved the ways in which the teachers interact with the responses. At the end of the assessment, when students press the submit button, and if it has been set up correctly, the assessments can be corrected and students can receive instant feedback on how they went. In addition to this, the data is uploaded and analysed by the Google platform, providing teachers with infographics outlining the strengths and weaknesses in the student’s responses which can be used to inform the direction for future lessons. The data can also be exported into a spreadsheet for further analysis and reporting.

In our previous article, we also discussed a grade 3 teacher who has completed a unit of work on the Gold Rush. Traditionally the students would create a poster outlining the key points they learned during the unit but the teacher substituted this with a digital flyer. To augment this learning task, students could create hyperlinks on their flyers that could direct the viewer towards different videos or audio files that support the information they are trying to share. The interactivity of adding hyperlinks has turned what was originally a passive assessment experience into a highly engaging and interactive assessment event.

Another example of how augmentation can be applied to student learning activities is through narrative and fictional writing and composition. A year 8 student in their English class is exploring narrative composition with a focus on emotive language. The teacher had traditionally the students write their story on a piece of paper that was submitted to the teacher for assessment. It would have red pen marks written on it and then returned to the student for future improvement. The teacher however decided to substitute the task for an audio recording and had the student submit their story in an audiobook style submission. At the fundamental elements, this is a substitution, but if the teacher asked the students to place inference on the way in which they read the story, using inflections in their voice to demonstrate their understanding of the emotional language being used, the task has been augmented. In addition to this, students could add an audio backing track or sound effects to enhance the emotional connection being portrayed in the language of the story. In all of these instances, the activity has been transformed from just a passive submission of a student’s understanding of the ideas being taught to one that demonstrates the students’ levels on a wide variety of levels.

In all of these examples, the teachers have substituted the traditional learning activities and have added functional improvement that has either allowed the students to demonstrate deeper learning of the content or has allowed them to factor in different elements that were not covered in either the traditional or substituted method. If we look back at the SAMR model infographic shown in figure 1 below, if we want the students to get from one side of the lake to the other, then substitution (the rowboat) options are more than adequate. However if by creating a digital substitution there is the option for us to enhance the learning outcome by augmenting it (Snorkelling their way across the lake, looking what is under the water while they are swimming) and this links directly to the learning outcomes that we want to achieve in our lesson, then why don’t we take it? Either way, by using digital technologies as a substitution or augmentation for the learning, students are able to experience a wider breadth of learning outcomes faster and more economically when compared to their traditional method counterparts.

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Augmentation in the Classroom examples

  • Creating digital flyers and brochures that include multimedia as well as student created videos for a geography assessment task.
  • Students create multimedia presentations including audio, video, images, and interactivity for a business management proposal of facility improvements to the school.
  • Students can use screencasting software to annotate and narrate their work to demonstrate their learning as well as creating instructional videos for their peers.

Questions that can drive your integration of the Modification into the learning in the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What is the learning outcome that you are trying to achieve from this task? Can it be achieved AND extended through modification with a digital tool? Will this create a more engaging & powerful experience?

Q2

What output do you expect to see from a student at the end of this learning task? Can the students exceed this output expectation through redesigning and modifying this task with a different digital solution?

Q3

How can a redesign and modification of your original learning task to include strong digital learning solutions create positive learning outcome extensions for your lesson?

Q4

What are some areas where the traditional method of teaching this lesson that could stretch and extend the students learning? By using a digital learning solution can you redesign the task to take the learning in a brand-new direction that extends the learning experience.

Q5

How can I change my thinking around lessons that I have run in the past? Am I able to redesign my lessons so that I can create learning activities that don’t just focus on one learning outcome? How can I use modification to my students’ benefit?