Focus-Pocus… a weekly reflection

[This post is my weekly reflection on my participation and learning in the course EDET 693 – Gaming and Open Education, at the University of Alaska Southeast for the graduate program in Educational Technology.  My class is developing a MinecraftEdu MOOC to run later this fall semester for 6th – 12 grade students.  Our weekly readings are from our course text – “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction : Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education” by Karl M. Kapp (2012).]

This week my challenge was to focus in the moment on specific tasks as I went through the week.  In our class Hangout, I really tried to take in what everyone said about their understandings and expectations for the group project.  It was messy and chaotic (in a good way) but real and telling of what we need to do this coming week – focus on our small group tasks.  I like that in our meetings, everyone has a “problem-solving” mentality, identifying obstacles, sharing areas of confusion, asking important questions, looking ahead, expressing concerns, etc.  It tells me that we are all looking at the project from different perspectives and that will help us work out the “kinks” before our MinecraftEdu MOOC goes online.

Playing in MinecraftEdu this week was also an exercise in focusing; building is hard work – between choosing the right materials, chatting with my fellow builders, and working on “sameness”, I was activating my tunnel vision and before I knew it I had already been in the game for over an hour!  It’s always a great experience to be in the activity or tech tool and work on the same tasks that I will be asking students to complete, it gave me additional insight into what is needed in coming up with the tasks and instructions.

Writing about the elements needed to ensure meaningful learning helped me to reflect on the weekly reading and my MinecraftEdu practice earlier in the week.  I’ve been continually thinking of elements within and outside of the game that we can incorporate to make a convincing case that learning will occur.  Some of my ideas have been shared with my peers on their blogs and in response to comments on my blog.  I am compiling a list of elements that I think we should incorporate which I will share after I meet with my small group tomorrow night.  In my small group, we are tasked with creating tasks for the last couple of chapters in the assigned book (The Giver, by Lois Lowry).  It’s been helpful to read the other blogs to get a sense of how everyone wants to incorporate various elements.  I will be interested to see how each group (we have divided the book into three sections) decides to incorporate the elements we have all discussed on our blogs.

I easily admit to being a “forward thinker” who is obsessed with logistics.  Every time I think about what tasks would be appropriate for my group’s section, I can’t help but also consider HOW it will be managed by the teachers and how building in the game will reflect learning and understanding.  I’m forcing myself to focus on the tasks at hand for my small group – identify standards that will be met and create tasks that will demonstrate meaningful learning of our assigned chapters.  There are certainly no shortage of ideas, so it’s “focus-pocus” time and I can’t wait to work with my group tomorrow!

Any thoughts, feelings, opinions, suggestions?

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