Finally parked in front of the garage!!

Before watching the “Blog Talk,” (because I didn’t have my act together in time to join it live), I was already sold on the idea of connected courses.  MOOC’s have been gaining recognition and momentum so it’s not like I hadn’t heard of them, I just never bothered to engage.  I’ve never made time to get into blogging yet I love reading other people’s blogs about a whole range of topics.  Right now my favorites topics are on technology, diving, food, education, technology in non-profits, DIY, and travel).  I think they also allow you to give some background to your thought process, relate to others through your experiences, and there’s that cathartic feeling of getting your “brilliant” thoughts and rantings out there for others to read.

I found myself watching the entire video in one sitting, not even touching the pile of cookies I had with me “in case I got hungry or bored” and would need sustenance!


It was funny, relatable, interactive, and a great introduction to the course.  I felt like I had been personally invited by these three brothers,


to join this innovative experiment in learning.  Being immersed in “learning to learn” these days, I couldn’t help but process my experience as it was happening!

It was so engaging, that it affirmed my decision to go back to school after swearing off an academic environment these last too many years since college.  I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time in my life to get the most of my grad school experience.

It was so engaging, I immediately read a few suggestions to help you start Blogging Like a Connected Courses Champion, so I could be worthy of connecting my blog.  I did wait until this week to connect because I wanted to have more than the “About Me” section filled out before connecting.  The suggestions really helped me to be intentional about a blogging style and incorporating multimedia into my blog.  I have this goal that I’m going to use all original videos, drawings or pictures, let’s see how far I get with that (hence, the drawings you see above)!

It was so engaging, I can’t wait until the follow up hangout tomorrow,

Our second call-in show is set for Friday, Sept. 12, at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. This is yet another chance for you to pull into the garage, put your blog up on the tracks, and let us give you a free checkup.”

to learn more about working in the blog garage and getting tuned up for next week’s unit!  So if you’re on the fence about joining, just stumble in, I’ll be there in the garage, touching all the tools and misplacing them for the next couple of weeks until I get the hang of it, so we can tinker and learn together!


In case you missed my first blog last week (no small wonder, since I wasn’t connected yet!), I am enjoying my second week of an online course on Gaming and Open Education through the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) as part of my pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology.

This week the question for reflection is “What factors make a game effective for learning?”  Our text reading gave overviews of theories about gamification and their application to teaching and learning, and summarized research studies that look at the effectiveness of games in learning and which game mechanics have shown to be either effective or irrelevant to learning.

The underlying factor in all the theories presented is motivation; whether intrinsic or extrinsic, motivation is possibly the most important factor in why we play a game whether it is designed for learning or not.  So if you plan to incorporate a game or game elements into your teaching or training, among many things, you will need to understand and decide how the learners will be motivated and what game elements produce meaningful learning experiences.

For our project this semester, we are working in teams to create a K-12 MOOC for students in Alaska schools and possibly other states and countries, using Minecraft as the primary tool or game for learning.  We’ve got a tall order, not just with the logistics of the project, but we also have to incorporate the appropriate game elements within the Minecraft game to accomplish the learning objectives (stay tuned in the coming weeks to find out what those are).  It’s been a while since I’ve played Minecraft so a fun task this week will be to relearn the game controls as we begin to build the game and the concept.

Mark Lepper’s Instructional Design Principles for Intrinsic Motivation suggests four principles that I think will impact our project – control, challenge, curiosity and contextualization.

I think Minecraft the game, lends itself well to control, curiosity, and challenge.  As soon as you enter the game, you are in control.  You begin making decisions – what to do, how to do it, what strategy to use, etc.  There is instantly a sense of wanting even needing to explore the area and testing your “boundaries” in the game.

In a closely related theory, Malone’s theory of Intrinsically Motivating Instruction, curiosity and challenge are described,

“Curiosity can be aroused when learners believe their knowledge structures are incomplete, inconsistent, or unparsimonious.”

“Challenge depends upon activities that involve uncertain outcomes due to variable levels, hidden information or randomness.”

I think the last element, contextualization, will be important since the students come from a wide range of communities and backgrounds, and we want the game to be accessible and relatable.  We are currently exploring the idea of using a popular book to base our themes and challenge tasks, which we hope will allow students to have a frame of reference and context to experience the game.  Even if they are new to Minecraft, being familiar with the book could provide motivation for them to try the game and then the confidence that comes with context can help them continue playing the game.

Whew! That was a lot of information to get out!!  Please be gentle with my “car” in the garage, it’s actually taking me more to incorporate all the details than it did to write this blog!!  Stay tuned for more updates next week!

Culatta, R. (2013).  Learning Concepts – Motivation. Retrieved from

Kapp, K. M. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction : Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

5 thoughts on “Finally parked in front of the garage!!

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog. It was like a story of your week and the visuals for cookies made me think I needed to go make some.

    I agree with you that games need to have extrinsic and intrinsic motivation for the students when playing the game. I think that will be the most difficult piece when building a game. Each student learns differently and motivation keeping a student excited will look differently in the game. I was talking to a few of my co-workers this week and explaining the class to them. I mentioned the mine craft game and the student standing next to us was very excited. The student starting smiling and telling me all different things they were able to do while they play. My co-workers and I were in complete shock, that a first grader new how to play the game!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It will be worth it! There are no right or wrong ways and it’s a great way to stay connected to a global network of educators! I’ve already been communicating with other bloggers about themes related to my work, so it’s been very valuable!


    1. Yes, it feels overwhelming for me because I haven’t played in a million years! And I haven’t even read that book! But working in a team is very helpful so I’m looking forward to working with everyone in our group!


  2. Welcome to grad school! Such a noble goal to use your original media work in your blogs. Learning to tinker together is really what MOOCs are all about. In theory, implementing Minecraftedu as a learning tool is also all about collaborative tinkering! I too am sold on MOOCs, but the jury is still out on me finding success with Minecraftedu. I do hope your prediction comes true: students participating in GiverCraft will be motivated due to their familiarity with the book.


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