- An Anticipation Guide.
- Formative assessment.
- Using a game, a fun way to measure students’ understanding of course content in preparation for an exam, a reading or further lectures.
There are many aspects to ‘scaffolding’ in education (Stanier, 2015). Generally, it refers to a gradual introduction of material with numerous supports which are removed only when the student has demonstrated mastery of the content. One specific strategy that can be used in scaffolding is linking new learning with prior learning. What the student already has in their head can be used as an anchor to which new ideas and concepts can be attached.
We’ve all eaten, or turned up our noses and refused to eat, the foods in the H5P fill-in-the-blanks exercise ‘Selective Breeding:’[NewTab]
My purpose in including this exercise was twofold: first to introduce the idea of selective breeding which has been practiced since the beginning of the domestication of plants and animals to suit human needs by showing the evolution of familiar fruits and vegetables; and secondly to introduce the idea of genetically modified foods which in essence is a continuation of selective breeding but with a vengeance. How does it differ in method and intention?
Have students grasped the underlying concepts that generated the First Industrial Revolution, and are they now prepared to move on to greater amounts and more specific detail?
Formative assessments test the readiness of students to move on by testing their current knowledge (Thomas, 2019). In this H5P game, I’ve tried to gauge how much of the lectures and readings students have incorporated into their understanding of the 18th century, British Industrial Revolution.
Games in Education
The idea that games can be effectively used in educating young people goes at least as far back as Plato:
The idea of using a game as a pedagogical tool in teaching a History of Technology course presents us with both advantages and challenges. The advantages seem obvious. Stories, plots and characters are provided by historical events themselves. To enhance student curiosity into the development of technology, instead of this multiple-choice quiz on the First Industrial Revolution, I might have chosen Captain Cook’s journeys of exploration using Harrison’s newly invented chronometer, Edward III and the use of early canon during the Hundred Years’ War or the spread of technology along the 14th century Silk Road, to mention but a tiny sample. The possibilities are endless.
However, there is some suspicion among the general public and many educators as well, that video games can have a negative effect on those playing them. The fear is that video games can be addictive, can contribute to a growth in a violent culture or reinforce gender and racial stereotypes. These concerns are not usually supported by statistical or researched evidence but persist nonetheless. Compare these fears with the much-publicized concerns that permeated the media regarding television a generation ago.
Since their introduction in the 1970’s, video games have only grown in popularity as a pastime and as computers. The Internet made its appearance in education in the beginning of the 1980’s. Games then have inserted themselves into the grab-bag of tools that the educator has come to rely on. This, despite the fact that post-secondary education today is still founded on a written culture where the written and read word constitute the basis for the transfer and exchange of ideas and information.
According to an EDUCAUSE’s article 7 Things you Should Know About Game Based Learning, [NewTab] “gaming can create a dynamic that can inspire learners to develop skills and competencies as they focus on the activities of the game. Games, both analog and digital, can immerse players in other worlds and give them experiences that help them see their own worlds in new ways. Play, structured or otherwise, can create opportunities to reflect, grow, and learn.”
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative:
Simulations, Games, and Learning. [NewTab]
Anticipation Guide. (2021). Let’s Talk Science. [NewTab] https://letstalkscience.ca/educational-resources/learning-strategies/anticipation-guide .
Stanier, C. (2015). Scaffolding in a higher education context. [NewTab] ICERI 2015 Proceedings. pp. 7781-7790. https://library.iated.org/view/STANIER2015SCA.
Thomas, L. (2019). 7 Smart, Fast Ways to Do Formative Assessment. edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/article/7-smart-fast-ways-do-formative-assessment.