Leveling Up Students with Blogs


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For the SOLsummit 2009 conference, I presented social experiment which Derek Lackaff and I conducted on while teaching our Internet courses. We essentially let students blog what they learned, and encouraged specific behaviors through the use of Amy Jo Kim's game mechanics.

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Leveling Up Students with Blogs

  1. 1. Leveling up students with blogs Motivating Active Learning Through Game Mechanics kevin lim / cyberculturalist / 26th feb 2009 / /
  2. 2. Why I’m interested...
  3. 3. “Passionate Teacher / Sleeping Students” at Yale Law School entrance frieze http://www.henrytrotter.com/scholarship/yale-law-school-sculpture.html
  4. 4. “Passionate Students / Indifferent Teacher” at Yale Law School entrance frieze http://www.henrytrotter.com/scholarship/yale-law-school-sculpture.html
  5. 5. PUSH How to naturalize learning objectives.
  6. 6. An unofficial Facebook Guide Book
  7. 7. Students everywhere using Facebook Here’s a Russian clone, VKontakte.ru
  8. 8. PULL Discover the hook of social web platforms.
  9. 9. Dynamics of Teaching
  10. 10. Teachable Moments Cartoon by Matthew Henry Hall (Jan 2007) http://www.insidehighered.com/views/teachable_moments/cartoon24
  11. 11. Printed “essays” and “response papers” used in many classrooms traditionally promoted a closed dialogue bet ween the student and teacher.
  12. 12. In contrast, class blogging allowed for a multi-logue among the student, his or her peers, the instructor, and the potential public.
  13. 13. Does blogging promote learning?
  14. 14. You call it copying; today's college students call it collaborating. (WSJ, May 2007) http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110010061 Duffy and Bruns (2006) have explained how blogs can be seen to promote active and engaged learning, since they afford quot;digital literacyquot; towards collaborative and (co)creative purposes, as well as for the critical assessment and evaluation of information
  15. 15. image source: http://www.marriedtothesea.com/092506/2012.gif While the ease of participation could come at the cost of quality and reliability, Boulos, Maramba and Wheeler (2006) suggest that the “Dar winian type 's urvival of the fittest' content” would help ensure competition for the production of quality content.
  16. 16. Befitting of Ray Oldenburg's notion of quot;Third Placesquot; (1991), blogs also situate students in a broad communication environment that reaches far beyond the sociological confines of their classroom and homes.
  17. 17. Our Story When Derek Lackaff and I taught our Internet communication courses back in Spring 2007, we tried to see if blogging could support a truly active and collaborative learning experience.
  18. 18. Pedagogical Aspects of Blogs Students create a discussion sphere that is more controllable and less threatening than the classroom. As students blog, they create an archive of thoughts and discussion Allows theoretical connections bet ween course topics to manifest as hyperlinks.
  19. 19. Problem of Motivation Typically weekly posting or commenting requirement. Affords minimal learning and interaction outcomes. Student need to internalize intellectual interaction.
  20. 20. Motivating Blog Participation Blogging situates students' work in their own public spaces Intrinsic sense of ownership and recognition of their personal production Likely produce higher quality work if they are motivated to engage with their lessons and colleagues in a more social fashion.
  21. 21. All in one classroom management solutions might not be enough.
  22. 22. What makes social platforms so engaging?
  23. 23. Visible Scoreboard To motivate student blogging communities, we tried using Amy Jo Kim's game mechanics (2006)
  24. 24. Using Game Mechanics Five Game Mechanics 1. Collecting 2. Earning Points 3. Feedback Amy Jo Kim 4. Exchanges Creative Director ShuffleBrain 5. Customization
  25. 25. Using Game Mechanics “I see a game mechanics working well on sites like YouTube, Yelp, Twitter, and Flickster. [...] like points, Amy Jo Kim leaderboards, level-ups, Creative Director ShuffleBrain social exchanges, and customization to a strong core experience.”
  26. 26. 1. Earning Points Amy Jo Kim’s idea was in the presence of a scoring mechanism. Established a blogging leaderboard via technorati.com authority ranking algorithm. Provide our students a basic measure of how they were doing against one another. Students also given weekly audits of the class overall performance.
  27. 27. 2. Collecting Things For quality blog posts, students earned weekly awards. Variety of awards promotes diverse behaviors (e.g. Early Birdie) Awards can be traded for extra credits or the ability to gain “immunity” from extra assignments.
  28. 28. 3. Feedback Comments and trackback allow students to understand the quality of the blog and wiki contribution. Students are given the opportunity to improve on posts if they have not reached the assignment deadline. Accessibility of feedback allows students to accelerate mastery in each week’s theme.
  29. 29. 4. Customization Students instinctively personalized their blogs by the first week of use. Low level: Blog templates High level: Sidebar widgets Social Objects personal photos favorite music branding chat box
  30. 30. 5. Exchanges To track the layers of interaction, we visually aggregated RSS feeds of their blogs and wikis using web ser vices such as Net vibes.com
  31. 31. What are students actually doing?
  32. 32. http://www.briansolis.com/2008/08/introducing-conversation-prism.html
  33. 33. Why is blogging, t weeting, youtubing, facebooking, blah-blah-ing, FUN?
  34. 34. co ty mm i Emotion al un n so ic a er te p Individual Others se lf te ca -a w ni a re mu Feedback ne s m co s
  35. 35. Capturing Spontaneity • The Third Place: Being a shared space not owned by neither faculty nor students may mean equal standing in power. • This motivates the user by choice (self-interest), rather than coercion. • Informality: Informal channels allow for more spontaneous interaction. Image Source: http://mchabib.com/2006/10/05/digital-library-as-third-place/ • Distinguishing motivation for using Facebook vs. Blackboard
  36. 36. Potential Challenges
  37. 37. ! The Digital Divide in terms of video media literacy (Stavchansky, 2006)
  38. 38. Dealing with Complexity Digital Divide - Parallel Backchannels - Participatory Literacy - Polarized Performance Open to Subversion - Private vs. Public discourse - Opposing learning objectives - Community self-moderation http://maxpictures.com/weblog/2007/04/11/product-placement/ Swings both ways...
  39. 39. Fun matters Enjoy or Adapt.
  40. 40. Thank you Reach me via twitter at @brainopera