How do you think the classroom should change?

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“In an age where information is no longer scarce and no longer needs to be organized into containers, the challenge is to leverage the saturated digital world in which learners now live and to assist them in sense-making.” (Kurtz & Snowden – 2003 “The New Dynamics of Strategy: Sense-making in a Complex and Complicated World.”)

First – do you agree or disagree and why? Second – how do you think this should influence our classrooms?


Accepted to Speak at eLearning Conference

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There is so much to learn about eLearning and I’m excited we get to be a part of the conversation.

I’m doing a Literature Review around the impact of RPGs, Role-Playing Games, on learning. Any favorites?

Learning Through a Game

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It has been interesting to observe the reactions of both children and parents as we made this video. Everyone was asking where they can play this. The parents were excited, but skeptical that such a possibility could exist while the children were confident this was going to be amazing.

Each was not only excited to “be in a commercial video” but were asking for a release date so they could play.

I’m confident this generation will embrace this with open arms.

Help us build it!!

Multiple Intelligence Theory

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Beginning in the early 90’s Howard Gardner, out of Harvard, began to establish that intelligence is more than can be measured by an IQ test. For many this was a relief as they knew intelligence was present in either themselves or their children, but since it didn’t show up on an IQ test the individual was marginalized.  (One explanation of Gardner’s research – )

Gardner’s theory awakened parents and educators to the idea of leveraging one intelligence to learn in another. For example if your picture smart and you need to increase your literacy you could picture what you are reading (close your eyes and imagine the characters doing the action in the story). Or even stop and draw pictures of key parts of the story to help you better understand what is going on.

Here are the 8 postulated intelligences.

Picture – Visual/ Spatial – think in terms of physical space, as do architects and sailors. Very aware of their environments. They like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream. They can be taught through drawings, verbal and physical imagery. Tools include models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, videoconferencing, television, multimedia, texts with pictures/charts/graphs.
BodyBodily/ Kinesthetic – use the body effectively, like a dancer or a surgeon. Keen sense of body awareness. They like movement, making things, touching. They communicate well through body language and be taught through physical activity, hands-on learning, acting out, role playing. Tools include equipment and real objects.
MusicMusical – show sensitivity to rhythm and sound. They love music, but they are also sensitive to sounds in their environments. They may study better with music in the background. They can be taught by turning lessons into lyrics, speaking rhythmically, tapping out time. Tools include musical instruments, music, radio, stereo, CD-ROM, multimedia.
PeopleInterpersonal – understanding, interacting with others. These students learn through interaction. They have many friends, empathy for others, street smarts. They can be taught through group activities, seminars, dialogues. Tools include the telephone, audio conferencing, time and attention from the instructor, video conferencing, writing, computer conferencing, E-mail.
SelfIntrapersonal – understanding one’s own interests, goals. These learners tend to shy away from others. They’re in tune with their inner feelings; they have wisdom, intuition and motivation, as well as a strong will, confidence and opinions. They can be taught through independent study and introspection. Tools include books, creative materials, diaries, privacy and time. They are the most independent of the learners.
WordLinguistic – using words effectively. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words. They like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories. They can be taught by encouraging them to say and see words, read books together. Tools include computers, games, multimedia, books, tape recorders, and lecture.
LogicLogical/ Mathematical – reasoning, calculating. Think conceptually, abstractly and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships. They like to experiment, solve puzzles, ask cosmic questions. They can be taught through logic games, investigations, mysteries. They need to learn and form concepts before they can deal with details.
NatureNaturalistic – sense and appreciation of the natural world. These learners are observant and enjoy identifying and classifying things like plants, animals, or rocks. (If they live in the city, they may classify other things like CDs or what people wear). They love being outdoors and may be interested in gardening, taking care of pets, cooking or getting involved in ecological causes.  They can be taught in and through nature by considering the patterns and cause/effect relationships that occur in the physical world.

Implications for our projects –  Our project will make sure there are learning experiences in every basic game unit (Training Rooms and Mission).  This will give our learners the chance to choose experiences in which they feel more comfortable and more intelligent.

You can find a couple of MI (Multiple Intelligence) assessments on our website

A great parent resource

Book Review #2 – What does the word “Work” really mean?

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Situated Meaning

James Gee builds on the concept of situated meaning; therefore I want to explore this a bit for our parents and educators who may be unfamiliar with this idea.

Literacy is more than just decoding words. It’s about making meaning of words and groups of words. However, words have different meaning depending on their situation.  For example the word “WORK.”  Let’s use this sentence, “Her work has been very influential.” How does one make sense of this word?

First we consider the domain or world it is being used in.

Domain 1 – Warehouse laborer
Work means the 8 hours of labor I give in order to survive and get home to lead my “real” life.

Domain 2 – Academic
Work means the efforts toward deeper understanding of ideas and could be thinking, reading, writing, teaching, etc.

Domain 3 – Physics Theorist
Work means the calculated value of a force over a distance and implies that no work is done if something isn’t moved.

Domain 4 – Relationships
Work means the emotional, physical, and psychological efforts to benefit a relationship with another person.

Thus to make meaning of the word “WORK,” I must first know the domain in which it is being used.

Second we must consider the specific context in that domain in which it is being used.
Let’s take the Academic domain.

Context 1 – Her Research  
Work means the ideas she has developed through her research efforts.

Context 2 – A Specific Committee
Work means the leadership, time, and/or other efforts with the committee toward some end.

Context 3 – An Office Hours Tutor Session
Work means the individual discussion, questions, and explanations exchanged with a student in order to help them make sense of ideas.

Making meaning of a word is more than decoding it.  One must situate it within a domain, a context, and the statement in which it is used.  This is more complex that just learning words.  Gee goes on to say that this kind of situated meaning experience is necessary to develop deeper literacy skills and can be found in games.

Book Review #1 – Passive vs. Active vs. Critical Learning

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James Paul Gee, in his book What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, explores many interesting ideas about learning in a game space. Here is the first one I want to review… Passive vs. Active vs. Critical Learning.  I’ve compared them in a chart, as I sometimes can organize my comparative thoughts better in charts.



*NOTE 1 – We have started a Trailhead Glossary on our Community page to better help you with the terms we are using.

Video Games and The Future of Learning – Review

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The following article is a powerful challenge to education to consider how games are the future of learning., Squire, Halverson, and Gee explain the benefits of games in learning through the lens of “epistemographies of practice.”  Professionals / Experts in a specific field have a way of unique way of thinking about facts, ideas, theories and applications in their specific field.  This way of thinking is called an epistemic frame.

  • Educators have a unique way of thinking about instruction,  learning, and how to measure understanding.
  • Engineers have a unique way of thinking about designing solutions.
  • FBI agents have a unique way of thinking about evidence and strategic pursuit.
  • Doctors have  a unique way of thinking about the human body.
  • Artists have a unique way of thinking about color and space.

At the end of the day, a novice can not teach another novice an epistemic frame, or way of thinking in a field.  A novice can teach facts and ideas about a field, but separate from the way experts in that field think about those facts and ideas.

For example, a novice chess player can teach another novice chess player the rules for how each piece can be moved. But as a novice they can’t explain or teach the strategic thinking behind combinations of moves or game strategy.  This is true because they themselves don’t possess the epistemic frame of the chess domain.

Although educators may have extensive knowledge of different topics, they are not experts in the fields that use that knowledge and thus don’t possess the epistemic frame of that field.   If we truly want to train our children in how to “think” then we need to put them situations where the epistemic frame is embedded in the experience such that the learner learns the facts and ideas in the context of the thinking that uses those facts and ideas.

Games can do that.  Designers can set up the world using an expert’s epistemic frame to create the tasks, the rules, the player’s choices etc. This is a more authentic way to “learn” the facts and ideas, as well as the thinking of a particular field.

It also is more fun.  (See Jill’s blog elaborating on this idea of epistemic frames.