Good Learning Principles in Canvas

Teaching Effectively in Canvas

I’ve been asked how a course framework (e.g. a course site in a Learning Management System such as Canvas) can encourage better learning. This is an early/simplified attempt at explaining and identifying what those indicators might be, and how they can increase learning. This is work inspired in part by Gee’s identification of 13 principles of good learning in good games. General Principles of Learning We are sensing and social animals. Embodied: we learn most powerfully through direct interaction with our environment, through Continue reading

Active Teaching Lab

This past Spring, with the wonderful support of DoIT Academic Technology and the Teaching Academy, I launched a series of Active Teaching Labs — low-commitment, structured explorations of cool teaching tools and techniques to teach more effectively. The response to them was very positive. GOAL: Capacity Building at faculty level; create deeply-embodied and socially-playful environments & experiences for learners — Lure with low-risk involvement. Inspire with stories. Motivate with hands-on success. SUCCESS: Because it is a safe & playful, low-risk environment where faculty are Continue reading

New Article Published

Our TechTrends article is now online — soon to be in better newsstands and libraries across the globe! Sadly, the title isn’t quite what it should be. What it should be is: Participatory Scaling of Augmented Reality Learning through Local Games Authors: John Martin, Seann Dikkers, Kurt Squire, David Gagnon Abstract: The proliferation of broadband mobile devices, which many students bring to school with them as mobile phones, makes the widespread adoption of AR pedagogies a possibility, but pedagogical, distribution, and training models Continue reading

Disney and Education

Let me just be clear on a few things: I love Disney and its ability to create incredibly immersive experiences. I am a HUGE proponent the power of designed, built environments for learning (Ellworth 2005, etc.). Experiences that situate learners’ experiences in embodied contexts that touch multiple senses are experiences that “last a lifetime”. They’ve created top-notch, heavily-designed multimodal learning (and entertainment) environments that hold consumers’ attention throughout a learning experience. If all (or even 1%) of my public education Continue reading

Popular Science and the Impact of Trolling

THIS:   It’s exceptionally sad to me to see a 141 year old magazine, Popular Science, shutting off commenting on its website because the effect that trolling comments is actually having on shaping people’s opinions about the issues presented.    People still fear trolls. Or, at least, they avoid them. Maybe cross the river at other bridges, or decide not to cross the river at all?   It is precisely this type of story that motivates me to implement activities such as Continue reading

Twitter for First Year Experience Class

How are you using Twitter for teaching and learning? This fall I am teaching a tech-enhanced Wisconsin Experience (#wiexp) seminar, and Twitter sort of embodies “tech-enhanced” (in a disembodied way), so I’m going to require that they open a twitter account, and each week we’ll be using it (with hashtags) to share things. The idea behind this is to get you to explore and share. We learn new stuff every day that helps us get through our days more comfortably, more efficiently, Continue reading

2013 ARIS Summit at Playful Learning

The Games + Learning + Society group is hosting the GLS 9.0 conference on June 12-14. The day before the main conference (Tuesday, June 11), there will be a day-long GLS Playful Learning Summit (formerly known as GLSES) for educators: The Games+Learning+Society 9.0 Conference begins Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Memorial Union with the Playful Learning programming featuring innovation, inquiry, and imagination in games-based learning. This inaugural Playful Learning Summit promotes professional development opportunities to celebrate Continue reading

Critiquing to Learn

Here are a few thoughts to develop my critiquing design for students: 1) Identify Examples; 2) Deconstruct them; 3) Collaborate and iterate towards them. One of the best ways that I learn is by taking apart good examples. It’s a cliche stereotype perhaps, but as a boy, I destroyed the wind up alarm clock that I got for Christmas one year because I wanted to understand what made it tick. For my birthday, a few months later my folks, to their Continue reading

Facebook Widget in D2L

John Thomson recently sent me this article, on Blended Learning environments: Using Social networking sites to enhance the first year experience, by Joshua McCarthy, and asked about my experiences integrating Facebook in the class I’m teaching this Fall. If you don’t want to read the article, here’s an excerpt from the discussion to contextualize: The benefits of the blended learning spaces included face to face discussions: “the assessment allowed us to converse with others in class and form connections that Continue reading

An app to promote good studenting

Just read an article in Slate called Digital Jiminy Crickets about apps that help you be more ethical, do what you  need to do — all those things that we mean  to do, but need a nudge to actually do. Capitalizing on three inter-related movements—nudging, the quantified self, and gamification—the good-behavior layer pinpoints our mental and emotional weaknesses and steers us away from temptations that compromise long-term success. One example, they give is Gym-Pact, which “rewards” you with cash that you and other users Continue reading

Getting Started with Mobile Learning

I’m stealing this directly from my colleague, Jim Mathews, published on the Macarthur Spotlight blog. 4.20.12 | Guest author Jim Mathews is a teacher at Middleton Alternative Senior High School in Middleton, Wisc., and a UW graduate student. Mathews is one of the designers of Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling (ARIS), a new augmented reality platform for the iPhone. The following is excerpted from a chapter he co-authored with Mark Wagler, “Up River: Place, Ethnography, and Design in the St. Continue reading

What is “Mobile Learning”?

Kudos to Connie Malamed for one of the most broad-but-concise article I’ve read on the unique opportunities that learning with the current crop of mobile devices offers. Without connecting to any specific programs or lists, it deftly covers many of the points I’ve been trying to make in a much longer piece that I’m working on. Connie answers “What’s different about Mobile Learning” with the following eight short sub-headings and brief explanations. Mobile is: Supportive Collaborative Gestural Learner-centric Informal Contextual User-Generated Fun Continue reading

Ed Innovations: talent tree

SYNTHESIS/BACKPACK IDEA: A few themes jumped out at me in today’s Educational Innovation session: Partnerships that build on strengths, where one unit’s strengths and energy can complement another’s (Tom in Folklore and Mary in Comp Lit) Institutes that can house specialized, interdisciplinary paths (Greg in Nelson Institute) Modularizations and certifications, where departments can host smaller, more specialized sessions (Gale in Nursing, and Judith in Slavic Languages) What is the other side of that coin? Can we do this with students as well? In a specialized Continue reading

Game Design group

Not just video games, game design encompasses all aspects of learning — cognition, reward systems, agency, active role-play, experiential engagement with content, low stakes risk-taking — all in a playful environment. What better way to learn? Mission In the ComETS GAME DESIGN group, we will try to model what we investigate. So, we’ll be doing playful hands-on research/investigation, and application/testing of what we find. Objectives host a 90-minute meeting twice a month deconstruct compelling games that require a lot of Continue reading

Mobile Learning Strategy (thoughts)

First, a redirect — let’s take “mobile” out of it and look at the ideals of a Learning Strategy. Then, let’s consider how “mobile” could support that learning strategy. Learning Strategy (Ideal) Comprehensive: Rather than develop a bunch of different systems, one framework that incorporates all aspects of the university would be ideal. Student-centered: If we approach that strategy from the perspective of student learning, we’ll need to recognize and address the fact that “classroom learning” (and much of what Continue reading

Game Frame for Learning (ARIS)

I’ve been researching different aspects of GPS-enhanced place-based learning since 2004, and creating mobile, place-based learning games and experiences since 2005. Since meeting with the initial ARIS developers in 2008, and  joining the project full-time (2009), I’ve been pushing for easier access and general-use capabilities — to make the entry point as broadly accessible as possible. In 2009, I got a copy of Victoria Rydberg’s Hands On Earth Math and immediately saw that as a worked example of content that could be ported Continue reading

ARIS Design Jam, Oct 17-19

Come join us in the Town Center of WID for 3 days of ARIS design!* No experience needed (but we encourage you to play with it ahead of time!) — we will have “how-to” components for those who are new to ARIS or need help designing their first ARIS game. We will also run a series of design challenges that will allow you to experiment with the basic features of the ARIS-platform.   We’ll set up a fun, low-pressure atmosphere for you Continue reading

ARIS Global Game Jam 2011

If you’ve not already read about in the Daily Page or on MacArthur’s Digital Media Spotlight, on April 18-20, we held our first “Global” ARIS jam. There were over a hundred participants from Columbia, the Netherlands, and Spain, and the U.S. including folks from the Minnesota Historical Society, 3M, Oregon Middle School, Whitewater Middle School, Oconomowoc School District, Middleton Alternative Senior High, University of New Mexico Albuquerque, University of Northern Colorado, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Parsons The New School of Design, University Continue reading

Mass Customization in Learning

An interesting article, Why Large-Scale Product Customization Is Finally Viable for Business, coming out of Forrester discusses how Mass Customization is the Next Big Thing in industry. But the points made are pervading all aspects of society. Consider this excerpt: Psychologists have determined that an “I Designed It Myself Effect” exists in mass customization, where buyers feel a sense of accomplishment from their co-design efforts. Buyers gain additional value from the certainty that features will be exactly what they want. And they can Continue reading