Sunday, August 29, 2010


     As I continue my journey into the topic of my research, "Using Game-Based Learning to Teach Positive Behavior", I have found so many more articles, that I am tempted to ask if I can change or update my list of resources. The first article I read was from Newsweek magazine and was titled Gaming the System. (Tyre, P, 2007). The article discussed how a student had no time to do his reading and writing assignment, but had plenty of time to work on his video game assignment for his technology class.
     In teaching Instructional TV in an elementary school, I see this all the time with my students. One of my 3rd graders did not pass the state assessment and was retained and has to repeat 3rd grade. When I saw his family at Orientation, his father pulled me aside and said the only reason he wanted to go back to school was to be on the news team. Now this student had anxiety issues in 2nd grade and was frequently sent out of the room to the Media center or sent home. He cried a lot, and now that he has to repeat 3rd grade, his parents are trying to be as positive as possible.
     So I had a conversation with his classroom teacher, an excited, young teacher who wants to use all the technology at her disposal in her teaching. The selection of this teacher for my student is a perfect match. I asked her to try to give him a leadership role using the interactive white board, or any other idea she has. After 1 week of school, he has not exhibited any negative behaviors, however, we are all watching him closely.
     There have been many organizations that use games to teach, such as the armed forces and businesses. These are mostly simulation games, but they are easier for the student to use because of the motivation factor. Why it has taken schools to embrace this idea is beyond me. We need to be using tools that we know will motivate our students to want to learn. (Tyre, P. 2007).  Tyre continues that teachers in the more progressive states of California, New York, & Maryland have already designed lessons around videogames in several different subjects.
    The sooner our teachers understand that we first need to motivate the students to want to learn, the sooner they will (hopefully) accept using game-based learning in their instruction.
     The second article I reviewed was called Handheld Gaming in Education, by Lim & Wang. This article looked at a project developed called "EcoRangers". The project was designed to help students work cooperatively while solving problems by questioning and discussion. (Lim & Wang, 2009). Students used handheld devices that were capable to text, and responded via text to the problem proposed by the instructor. It was interesting that, as my research will hopefully prove, students not only benefited from the highly motivational activity, they also shared opinions and views they would not have ordinarily contributed.  The reason for the change in student contributions was that it was a no-risk activity. The texts were not identified by user to the group, although the instructor could see who was responding and who was not. This is an important piece for use in assessment of the activity.
     Likewise, my theory that students will be more honest to share their feelings and opinions when using game-based learning, is evidently supported by this article. With face to face confrontation, there is such a high risk of embarrassment and ridicule that people chose not to share the important issues they need to discuss.

      The third article I reviewed this week  was called Rapid Communication; Relationships between Electronic Game play, Obesity, and Psychosocial Functioning, by E.Wack and S. Tantleff-Dunn in 2008. The researchers pointed out early on that there has been conflicting findings when examining electronic game play, and that was the basis for their study. (Wack. E. & Tantleff-Dunn. S. , 2008).
     While I was less interested in the findings about obesity, it was interesting to note that their research proved that electronic game play has been given a "bum rap". Their study found that many gamers spent time playing only when there was a friend to play with. Games then began to take on a social relevance all their own, as many 18 - 19 year old young men would rather socialize online rather than going out.  (Wack. E. & Tantleff-Dunn. S. , 2008).
     In my own observations of my 16 and 19 year old sons, it seems that game play is almost always a social event. In fact, no one wants to play with the Wii console unless there are at least 3 other players. We have turned video games into a social event by inviting friends over to play Wii games or to play some of the interactive DVD games.
     I am glad to see that this week's readings have for the most part supported my theory for my Action Research project.

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