Video Games and Education

When I think of video games, a vision appears in my head: walking into my sister’s house and seeing my brother in law and nephew playing some “shoot-’em-up” video game. More recently I’ve noticed that they wear headsets and are usually conversing with another family member who is also playing. The word “educational” does not come to mind.

But what if video games could be used as an educational tool? It has been tested and tried and seems to be a growing industry. Because of the many advances in technology, video games would allow a player, or student, to have live interaction with an educator.

I do think video games could be a beneficial educational tool. It would hold students’ interest and keep them entertained at the same time, all while the student is learning! The physical interaction  would keep students awake and alert. Video games could also teach students about real life – competition and such. As long as these games are designed the proper way, they could absolutely be a beneficial educational tool.   


Reflection – Pecha Kucha

When Dana, Hailey, Katie and I began brainstorming for a specific topic, we decided to do our presentation on how technology in the classroom has affected learning and education. We decided to divide the slides by time periods. For example, I took the first five slides, which were dedicated to the mid to late 1980s. Being an adult learner, I remember this time period vividly. I can remember my seventh grade English teacher writing notes on a transparency on an overhead projector, using a thin black marker. When the page was full, she would have to roll it up with the lever to get to new page. The transparencies rolled up like film, and when they were full, she would remove them and keep them in her desk for future use. This was the extent of technology in the classroom throughout my elementary and high school years.


Dana, Hailey, and Katie R. took the rest of the slides respectively. It worked well because we all have memories of the time periods we individually decided to present, and we knew that experience would enhance the presentation, and I think it did.


While technology can sometimes be a challenge for me, I enjoyed doing this presentation. It gave me more knowledge and experience with different technologies afforded to me that I’ve always been afraid to use. It’s amazing how many websites are out there. Their possibilities are endless.  There is a web site for literally everything you can think of. Even more amazing is that this technology is now available at your fingertips. You can get an education anywhere, any time with the click of a mouse. I can’t help but wonder what technology will be like in the year 2030.


Pecha Kucha

Narrative for Pecha Kucha

Katie S.

1. In the early 1980s, technology and education were two words rarely used together. Classrooms were standard, simply containing desks and a chalkboard. Research for school projects was done at the local library using encyclopedias and the Dewey Decimal System. As Abraham Lincoln said, “The things I want to know are in books”. During this time, the main source of knowledge was books, whether they were paperback or hardback.

2. During this time, the writing process was also fairly basic due to the  minimal existence of technology. Paper and pencil were typically used to write. Typewriters were used by some, though they were expensive to own at that time. Some typewriters were so “advanced” that if a typing error was made, it could be erased with a simple button. This shows that, as Bush said, “There are signs of a change as new and powerful instrumentalities come into use”.

3. In the mid to late 1980s, word processors became popular. Although their functionality was basic at best, word processors were considered a technological advance for that time period, or machine intelligence, but in the most basic form, especially compared to present day. Word processors were used to either type documents so that they were neat and legible, or to play games, such as Pacman, as this was their maximum potential. They didn’t necessarily “think”.

4. In the late 1980s, overhead projectors came into use in classrooms. Overhead projectors are machines that project an image onto a larger platform, such as a white board, or even a wall, so that its image is magnified. This was also considered a big technological advance for that time. This shows that, as Gee said, “there is an alternate way to think about learning”.

5. During the late 1980s, the concept of the internet was born. Instead of using a pen and paper to write, people were beginning to use computers. Instead of going to the local library, people began to use the internet for research. Not only was it more efficient, it was also fairly easy to use; all that was needed was a dial-up modem. Everything you could ever want and need could be found with the click of a mouse. As a result, as Gee says, “the idea of books is changing.” Books began publishing in digital format, instead of print.

Dana –  Image – 1. “All too often, when schools mandate the use of a specific technology, teachers are left without the tools (and often skills) to effectively integrate the new capabilities into their teaching methods,” (David Nagel)

    – and I collaborated this images above to show what type of technologies teachers usually have available to them and they rarely get the training needed to use the new technologies the right way in the classroom.

Image 2. “Because of the tension between print and digital forms, the idea of the book is changing.” (bolter)

    – and around this time when print was a main focus it gave students something to acutally hold and look through and flip, now they have e-texts or just google so students don’t have to really go in and get the knowledge its a quick touch of a button and a quick search and the information is there.

Image 3. “Increasingly literacy educators have recognized that Americans need help as they prepare to face the technological challenges of the next century that the primary battles of the computer revolution are far from over.” (Selfe)

    – this caught my eye because yes it was an older text, but it when we were younger and didn’t have all this technology we wrote correctly for the most part we didn’t abbreviate words or turn phrases into acronyms. We didn’t change words for example this into dis. And we read things that aren’t correct and are okay with it.

Image 4.  “Even a decade ago, the idea of machine intelligence provoked sharp debate. Today, the controversy about computers does not turn on their capacity for intelligence but on their capacity for life.” (Turkle, S.)

    – technology was created to better intelligence and to use it for research, today the students and even teachers now use computers more for social interaction, than intellectual.

Image 5. – The traditional classroom has changed and will continue to change, and we as future educators need to make sure we are ready to train and use the new technologies that will come our way.

Hailey:  Slide one: A composition notebook/computer in classroom image

        -Went from literally writing everything in this little notebook to nice lined paper, to making it really special by typing it on the computer.

        – Presently the act of writing is foreign to people. Now they just type everything. I think the people in my generation were the last to actually write papers.

– Will the act of writing become dated?  The hardest part of the praxis was the cursive part in the beginning where I had to copy a short paragraph, saying I wouldn’t pass on any questions or answers from the test.

1)  Slide 2: Classroom with a computer or mavis beacon typing game image

“The internet links millions of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities.” (Sherry Turkle Who am We) (Slide 2)

    -This goes for education as well.  When we first started  working with computers in school we had actual computer class where we learned to type through fun games and timed races.

    – Computers are more engaging , changing the way teachers approach teaching and students approach learning.

2) Slide 3: Global Brain Image

“An essential part of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence, turning the web into a kind of global brain.”  (What is Web 2.0, O’Reilly) (Slide 3)

    -Students no longer have to rely solely on the teacher to give them information

    -Students are able to get the perspectives of individuals all around the world. For example, students can get the thoughts and feelings the Japanese have on the Pearl Harbor topic, they aren’t just limited to the American view.

    -Way more workshoping/feedback opportunities from writers of all sorts not just those one is surrounded by.

    3) Slide 4: The projector/whiteboard/chalkboard Image

“In the modern world, print literacy is not enough.” “If learning is to be active, it must involve experiencing the world in new ways.” (Gee, Back to Pikmin: Critical Learning) (Slide 4)

    -Literacy is thought to be just reading a book but its SO much more than that. Its about communication. With technology we are learning that we can communicate through more than just writing, but with sound, and images as well. Many times all domains are connected, broadening our idea or definition of literacy/writing.

-More than one type of learner, computers offer a way of engaging learners that aren’t note takers  

    4) Slide 5: Cup with inner tube image

“My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles.” (Is Google Making us Stupid? Nicholas Carr) (Slide 5)

    -The way we receive information is instantaneous. Research isn’t really required. If we want to know something, all we have to do is look it up and bam, we’ve got the answer. There is no reason to further our exploration of a topic if all we have to do is google the answer. Where is the deeper thinking?

Katie R.

1.  “by requiring them to post thick tweets and by encouraging them to pack multiple layers of information within 140 characters or less, i’m trying to teach my students how to craft creative, meaty, and to-the-point messages that attract other people’s attention.” (difference in thick and thin tweets, Silver)

****slide one- social media sites have made it so easy for students today to keep in touch with the news, with just one touch of a button students can see news from all over the world that is currently trending and gets straight to the point****

2.A new distribution-and-display technology is nudging the book aside and catapulting images, and especially moving images, to the center of the culture. (idea lab, kevin kelly)

****slide two- seen here are two of our fellow students using their macs to do research for our group projects. Just 15 years ago we wouldve had to crack open a book and find information that way.****

3. Virtual tools and open-source software create borderless learning territories for students of all ages, anytime and anywhere. (education week professional development, Barnett Berry)

****slide three- youtube is a great source for learning. Many use it just to search funny videos, like “what does the fox say?”, but it can also used for educational videos posted by users like kahn academy****

4.With the steady advance of new ways to share, the Web has embedded itself into every class, occupation, and region. (we are the web, kevin kelly)

****slide four- google docs allows for multiple users in different locations to work on one document. this is a great way of collaboration and example why most teachers push for the use of ipads in every classroom.****

5.****slide five-with the grow of technology, most book publishers are no longer making hard copies of their text books. For now on it will be cheaper to be a copy of your text book as an ebook, than it would be as a physical hard copy. ****

katie r’s work citied

Berry, Teaching 2030: What We Must Do for Our Students and Our Public Schools—Now and in the Future, New York: Teachers College Press, ©2011 by Teachers College, Columbia University

Kelly, Kevin. (2008, November 21). Becoming screen literate. The New York Times.

Kelly, K. (Aug 2005). We Are the Web. Wired.

Silver, D. (2009, February 25). The difference between thin and think tweets. Silver in SF.

Twitter Reflection

When I learned that we’d have to create a twitter account and actually use it in class I wasn’t too excited about it. I didn’t really see how it was necessary or beneficial to class. I however, after getting the hang of it found that it was a very helpful tool if used professionally. Twitter has the ability to connect you with people clear across the globe. It broadens your perspective because you are able to gather other people’s perspectives from around the world. I also found the “live tweeting,” aspect of class to be interesting. I found that a lot of my classmates had similar thoughts when it came to the readings which made me feel like I was getting it. I also saw the opportunity to ask for help or clarity on readings or even if I had a question about class. Twitter is a quick and easy way to communicate, which in school is very helpful.

I also realized that tweeting helped me shave down my writing, forcing me to throw out the irrelevant and just keep the important. I was able to get to my point and leave out all the rest. I’m quite wordy whenever I write anything so this was somewhat difficult but it has taught me a valuable lesson. Sometimes less is more.

My dual major is in Early Childhood Education so I chose @urban_teacher as my professional I’d follow. He is an ICT teacher who motivates other teachers. He’s also from the UK.  He has 802 followers and follows 2,394. A lot of the people and organizations he follows are either other teachers or teacher organizations. He also follows politics which I wasn’t surprised about because through his tweets it is obvious he keeps up with the times and advocates for teachers and students whenever he feels it’s needed.

What I found really neat was that he supports technology in the classroom and sees the benefits and necessity it will come to be in the future of education. He talks about the web eliminating the four walls of his classroom and the internet becoming his worldly classroom.  He also embraces the new teacher evaluations. He feels there is always room for improvement and that we as teachers should know more than anyone we never stop learning. He also offers words of encouragement when it comes to staying positive and truly caring about the students.  I’ll be honest he fueled my desire to be a teacher even more and put new excitement into teaching for me. I will continue to follow him and other teachers. Through Twitter we are a learning community. We can share, grow, and communicate here, as teachers we must utilize every tool available to us. 

Pecha Kucha/Class Reflection

The Pecha Kucha was slightly intimidating when we were first assigned it. I had never heard of a pecha kucha and honesty was against it. I never had a project where I wasn’t able to project or exhibit words in the presentation. I suppose I was just worried because it was sort of a security blanket to have the opportunity to stare up at the words if need be. After meeting with my group and looking up a few examples I was able to breathe. I mean how hard could it be to speak a grand total of a minute and twenty seconds? This however produced a new thought, how was I supposed to say everything I wanted to say in such a short amount of time? I do have to admit that I’m a bit wordy during presentations so the time limit forced me to tighten up and get to the core of what my points were. This was a little difficult but it allowed me to clarify what I wanted to say and what I wanted my audience to know and take away from our presentation.


For my first picture I chose to incorporate a composition book and computer because for my time frame, computers were just being introduced into the classroom. So we went from writing everything down to making it special by typing it up. It makes me question if the act of writing will one day be eliminated all together, it’s important to think about, it’s not too far-fetched and would be something that effected education, writing, and our society.


 For my second image I chose a classroom of students and computers. It represents the different ways we approach teaching and learning. Technology is altering the way we form communities, classrooms, place of employment etc. For education it provides a way to engage the students, what I question is how engaged are the students with the computers vs. the real world? This too will alter the future of writing and technology.

ImageFor my third slide I chose a brain with a number of topics surrounding it to show all of the topics the internet offered students. I also wanted to show that students no longer had to rely on one teacher to give them the information they needed. They are able to open up their classroom and get more perspectives. Also writers are able to have bigger workshops with more feedback from a variety of people.


For my fourth slide I chose to put a whiteboard on the screen of a projector with a chalkboard in the whiteboard. This shows the progression of visually putting notes or information on the board in a classroom. It makes you question the different ways a child learns and how technology is helping meet the needs of all of the different types of learners not just the visual. It also shows that writing is communication and communication can be done through more ways than just writing, there can be pictures, sound, and even video!


For my last slide I took a picture of a cup filled with water. Then I added the thirteen colonies at the bottom to demonstrate a topic of study. On top I put a cartoon of a man in an inner tube skimming the service. This picture represents students skimming the surface when it comes to deeper thinking. Sure you can look up a topic and get the answer you want instantaneous but sometimes the journey is truly more valuable than the destination.

The way me and my group came up with a way to connect all of our slides was to do the progression of technology in education and how it effects writing/learning. My years were from 1996-2000. We all found this helpful because for the most part we all lived through the years we were researching and were able to not only have factual information but personal experience we could offer to our presentation. We all worked on the prezi and met up twice. I found our group worked well together and each individual held their own when it came to the work load. We may all have been a bit intimidated and confused by the project, but we pulled together and found clarity in the end.

In the end I think the Pecha Kucha project is a good representation of the Future of Writing class. Through Twitter and all the blogs it taught me to get straight to my point and to eliminate the unnecessary or irrelevant. It also enlightened me on the possible dangers technology may cause. Technology is altering the way we view writing, communicating and even teaching among other things. I just hope it doesn’t alter the act of writing right out of existence. I found this class to be slightly difficult, for the simple fact that I try to resist all of the changes technology is causing. This class forced me to blog and tweet, two things prior to this class I didn’t really partake in. This class has taught me to not resist it but to embrace it, to explore what it has to offer and to learn from it and use it to benefit me and my future students. The world is changing, I don’t want to be left behind.


Does the Computer know Us?

Eli Pariser said that, “the computer is showing us what it thinks we want to see, but not necessarily what we need to see.” This is one scary sentence! It hints towards the computer being able to make decisions and almost being able to think/know us. I found it unsettling that the computer can take away things it feels we will consider irrelevant. In a way it seems to be creating an identity for us based on Facebook statuses, information different websites are able to access, and even things we search for on the numerous search engines we search on. I while back I noticed my Facebook having ads on the side that were of products I searched for and found on other sites. At first I thought it was a coincidence but then I realized that when I was on my friend’s computer they had different ads.

It’s one thing to have specialized ads, which is still creepy but not as threatening as your computer taking away things it doesn’t think you’ll necessarily care about. It makes you think what companies or even the government is able to do with the information we essentially have provided. Are they able to keep things from us, show us things that aren’t true, causing us to believe in things we wouldn’t normally believe in? This may sound a bit paranoid but these “filter bubbles,” is a tool that can be used to manipulate us. It can also take information from us and do with it what they please. If put into the wrong hands, a lot of dangerous or unwelcomed events could occur because of the information we knowingly and unknowingly put out there. Who would know the difference between the real us and the identity the computer has come up for us? I think there will be a lot of questioning in the future to what is real and what isn’t? Where will draw the line? I suppose the better question is are we still able to draw a line, or is it too late? Image