[Technology 846] Re: The magic of technology for learning is outside the classroom

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Burkett, Barry Barry.Burkett at Franklin.kyschools.us
Mon Feb 12 10:19:21 EST 2007


I would be interested in discussing the book. But your introduction
reminded me of a game I was playing last night. In the game I was a
figure in the middle of a board, around me aggressors came into view and
tried to shoot me, in order to shoot back I had to properly spell the
attacker's name (e.g.. jet, bent, class, opinion, etc.) and hit enter.
There were other elements to the game like full health and detonator
packs that made the game fun and engaging, a great way to work on my
taking skills.

I found out about the game using StumbleUpon. Stumbleupon is shareware
that you can find at www.stumbleupon.com. The program uses ratings
(thumbs up, thumbs down) to judge what you might be interested in and
then guides you towards like pages. As the user you decide areas and
themes of things you are looking for. For instance last night I
searched under the technology/games field and I got the game I mentioned
earlier. I am able to find obscure zines, and interesting sites that I
would not know of otherwise.

Check out the page and see if the download is something you would like.
I find it enjoyable and easy to use. More information about the product
can be found on their page, www.stumbleupon.com.

-----Original Message-----
From: technology-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:technology-bounces at nifl.gov]
On Behalf Of David Rosen
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2007 9:48 AM
To: The Technology and Literacy Discussion List
Subject: [Technology 843] The magic of technology for learning is
outsidethe classroom

Marianne, Steve, and others

There is a magical, compelling learning technology which is almost never
used in the classroom, neither in K-12 or adult education. It is widely
used at home, however, and in "computer cafes" around the world , mostly
by male "digital natives" under 30. It is not usually designed to teach
anything that instructors would recognize as basic skills or academic
content, yet it incorporates some principles of learning that at least
one author has argued at length, are far superior to what is found in
most classrooms. It is capable of teaching content -- any content -- in
ways that are more engaging than most classrooms.

I am referring to well-designed video games, and to the book, _What
Video Games Have to teach Us About Learning and Literacy_ by James Paul
Gee. According to Gee, good video game designers carefully create games
so that players learn (and improve) strategies in context, as they go,
so that (using Lev Vygotsky's concept) each new scenario presents the
first-person, active learner-players with challenges that are just
outside their "zone of proximal development" providing difficult
challenges, but within reach, and hence highly motivating. Gee also
argues that many of these games focus on problem solving strategies and
attitudes, sometimes those that are useful in the workplace such as
getting information from context, getting and sharing information with
co-workers, taking calculated risks, and working as a team.

There is at least one (free) computer simulation that incorporates some
of these good game design principles and that also has basic skills
(reading,writing and numeracy) content, The Office, by Mike Hillinger.
See the simulation at:


and a description of it at:


I have three questions for those on this list:

1. Would you (anyone on this list) be interested in having a discussion
of James Paul Gee's book, _What Video Games Have to teach Us About
Learning and Literacy_ , on the Technology discussion list?
2. Do you know of any other engaging, well-designed video games for
adults or older youth that have adult literacy education skills and
knowledge (including adult secondary education and ESOL) as content?
3. Do you use computer simulations or video games for learning purposes
in your classroom or learning lab? If so, which ones, and how do you
use them?

David J. Rosen
djrosen at comcast.net

On Feb 7, 2007, at 1:29 PM, Mariann Fedele wrote:

> Hello Steve and all,


> Steve, you wrote, "staff and students now we seem to ask too much of

> technology, expect it to be like magic."


> I think this comment is important to consider when thinking about how

> technology relates to the teaching and learning process and

> integrating it in a purposeful way. To begin grappling with that

> question a useful reference source is the report by the National

> Research Council titled "How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience,

> and School" (1999). Of course, there have been many advances in the

> technology we use since the time it was published, but many of the

> core findings I believe still hold true.

> What do others on the list think? How can these recommendations

> inform our practice? Following is an excerpt from the concluding

> chapter.




> Tools of Technology


> Technology has become an important instrument in education.

> Computer-based technologies hold great promise both for increasing

> access to knowledge and as a means of promoting learning. The public

> imagination has been captured by the capacity of information

> technologies to centralize and organize large bodies of knowledge;

> people are excited by the prospect of information networks, such as

> the Internet, for linking students around the globe into communities

> of learners.


> There are five ways that technology can be used to help meet the

> challenges of establishing effective learning environments:


> 1. Bringing real-world problems into classrooms through the use of

> videos, demonstrations, simulations, and Internet connections to

> concrete data and working scientists.

> 2. Providing "scaffolding" support to augment what learners can do and

> reason about on their path to understanding. Scaffolding allows

> learners to participate in complex cognitive performances, such as

> scientific visualization and model-based learning, that is more

> difficult or impossible without technical support.


> 3. Increasing opportunities for learners to receive feedback from

> software tutors, teachers, and peers; to engage in reflection on their

> own learning processes; and to receive guidance toward progressive

> revisions that improve their learning and reasoning.


> 4. Building local and global communities of teachers, administrators,

> students, parents, and other interested learners.


> 5. Expanding opportunities for teachers' learning.


> An important function of some of the new technologies is their

> use as tools of representation. Representational thinking is central

> to in-depth understanding and problem representation is one of the

> skills that distinguish subject experts from novices. Many of the

> tools also have the potential to provide multiple contexts and

> opportunities for learning and transfer, for both student-learners and

> teacher-learners.

> Technologies can be used as learning and problem-solving tools to

> promote both independent learning and collaborative networks of

> learners and practitioners.


> The use of new technologies in classrooms, or the use of any

> learning aid for that matter, is never solely a technical matter. The

> new electronic technologies, like any other educational resource, are

> used in a social environment and are, therefore, mediated by the

> dialogues that students have with each other and the teacher.


> Educational software needs to be developed and implemented with a

> full understanding of the principles of learning and developmental

> psychology. Many new issues arise when one considers how to educate

> teachers to use new technologies effectively: What do they need to

> know about learning processes? What do they need to know about the

> technologies? What kinds of training are most effective for helping

> teachers use high-quality instructional programs? Understanding the

> issues that affect teachers who will be using new technologies is just

> as pressing as questions of the learning potential and developmental

> appropriateness of the technologies for children.


> If you want to read the whole chapter it can found at:

> http://books.nap.edu/html/howpeople1/ch10.html



> Mariann Fedele

> Associate Director,

> NYC Regional Adult Education Network

> Literacy Assistance Center

> Moderator,

> NIFL Technology and Literacy Discussion List

> 32 Broadway 10th Floor

> New York, New York 10004

> 212-803-3325

> mariannf at lacnyc.org

> www.lacnyc.org



> -----Original Message-----

> From: technology-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:technology-bounces at nifl.gov]

> On Behalf Of Steve Quann

> Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 5:41 PM

> To: The Technology and Literacy Discussion List

> Subject: [Technology 833] Re: Changing reading levels of text

> questions


> Hi Patti,

> Haven't used this, but I came upon it last week:

> http://www.usingenglish.com/resources/text-statistics.php


> Sounds like you already know much of this, but here is a site that

> might help with the creating/editing.


> http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/healthliteracy/materials.html


> I am finding that even though there are some things that just amaze me

> staff and students now we seem to ask too much of technology expect it

> to be like magic. Others?


> Good luck,

> Steve



>>>> "Patti White" <prwhite at MadisonCounty.NET> 2/6/2007 4:21 PM >>>

> I received the following request and I'm stumped. Here's the request:

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------

> --

> --------


> Do you know of a computer program that takes text and offers

> suggestions for dropping the reading level.. As in maybe 10th grade to

> 5th grade...Is there software that does that other than just using the

> Flesch-Kincaid Readability stats and doing it by hand???


> Next question..When you are adapting text for folks with literacy

> issues....you know how you drop the reading level down and augment

> with pictures...Is there a term that is used for that ..something like

> .modified text with pictures or something like that...????


> ----------------------------------------------------------------------

> --

> --------


> The only thing I can find that might help is the Auto Summarize

> feature in Microsoft Word, but it's not really appropriate. Does

> anyone know of some software that will drop the reading level of text?

> And is there a term for that process?


> Thanks for whatever help anyone can give, Patti White


> Patti White, M.Ed.

> Disabilities Project Manager

> Arkansas Adult Learning Resource Center prwhite at madisoncounty.net

> http://aalrc.org/resources/ld/index.aspx

> 800.569.3539 ph/fax/tty

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David J. Rosen
djrosen at comcast.net

National Institute for Literacy
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