Tag Archives: teachers

videogames

Video Games Go to College for groundbreaking ASU Program

Much is being made over the explosion of video games in the classroom to teach a future generation of K-12 students. But what about the future teachers who will be teaching them?

At Arizona State University, education students are reaching into their virtual future with the click of a mouse to test their teaching skills in typical school scenarios. Playing the video game is part of a first-semester course requirement for undergraduate students in ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Focused on professional success, the video game is being played by 277 teaching students in 396 field experience courses at the university this semester.

“This cutting-edge preparation for future teachers is the first of its kind in the nation,” said Mari Koerner, dean of Teachers College. “Our students may have grown up with technology, but using it to role play as real-life teachers is something new.

“The game is used to enhance their experiences in real classrooms. Our students practice in the virtual world, so they can be more successful in the real world.”

“Teacher Leader: Pursuit of Professionalism” is the first in a series of interactive, three-dimensional video games being designed by the Sanford Inspire Program and ASU’s Center for Games and Impact. Field experience educators and clinical staff recognized the importance of preparing novice teachers with the professional skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Content for the game is rooted in Teach For America’s professional values. A video trailer of the game is available at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nD1b9Ktf9hY&feature=player_embedded.

As this initial version of the game is implemented in ASU classes, educators and staff are evaluating its success. The public is invited to the official launch of the video game at 8 a.m. March 26 at ASU SkySong in Scottsdale. Those interested can register at
http://sanfordinspire.eventbrite.com/#. This fall, a second video game featuring a different topic but also directed toward teacher candidates is expected to be rolled out.

An ASU student playing “Teacher Leader” first creates a student teacher avatar, selecting the color and style of hair, clothing and shoes. Next, the avatar encounters a couple of scenarios at school and the student has to respond. One scenario involves an uncomfortable situation with the student teacher’s mentor, while the other addresses being diplomatic in the teachers’ lounge. That evening, the avatar must choose how to spend time preparing for the next day’s lesson.

The student is scored as he or she plays, with choices having consequences later in the game as the avatar implements the lesson plan. A video of students playing the game is available at https://asunews.asu.edu/node/26765.

“It’s a different application compared to how we normally are taught,” said Marcy Steiner, an ASU student from Peoria, Ariz. “With the video game, you can see how your decisions shape your image as a teaching professional. There are options that are good and options that are better. It really makes you think.”

During the lesson, teaching students receive immediate feedback on their performance in various situations based on four areas or competencies. The professional competencies were adapted from the Teach For America teacher preparation curriculum:

*    Suspending judgment: Identifying moments when they might be unfairly judging someone
*    Asset-based thinking: Consciously seeking out the positive aspects of a person or situation
*    Locus of control: Focusing on what is within their own ability to control
*    Interpersonal awareness: Recognizing the limits of their own perspective and trying to understand the viewpoints of others

At the same time, the course is designed so that instructors of the field experience courses can build on lessons learned through the video game as part of their classroom instruction. Teachers also can access data on student progress and decision-making.

At the end of the game, the students receive their scores and get a chance to re-play the game so they can improve their responses, Koerner explained.

“The game-based technology allows these students to take their teaching for a test drive, even make mistakes, without causing negative consequences they might experience in a real-life situation,” she said.

The partnership that created the video game underpins a broader effort to refine best practices in teacher education. The end goal is to improve America’s public schools. Known as the Sanford Inspire Program, funding comes from entrepreneur and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford who invested $18.85 million in 2010 to launch the Teachers College-Teach for America partnership. The program has garnered national attention for its innovative approaches to preparing teacher candidates. More information is available at http://sanfordinspireprogram.org/.

Despite its effectiveness in readying future teachers for the classroom, the new technology will not take the place of traditional methods anytime soon, Koerner said.

“It’s not replacing, it’s not instead of,” she said. “It’s enhancing how we teach our students to become professionals.”

86533172

Horne proposes arming educators

In the wake of the Connecticut school shootings, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is proposing a plan to allow one educator in each school to carry a gun.

Horne says Arizona schools opting to participate could designate someone to receive free firearms training. That person would be the only one allowed to keep a gun on campus if there wasn’t already a police officer posted there.

He says armed police officers at schools would be ideal but budget constraints make that unrealistic. Horne says his proposal is safer than allowing all educators to carry guns. State law would first have to be amended to push forward with his plan.

Currently, Utah and Kansas are the only states that allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in a school.

internet

Cox Delivers Better Internet To Scottsdale Teachers, Students

Cox Business and the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) have formally agreed to elevate the Internet experience for the District’s 26,000 students and 3,000 employees. Installation is nearly complete on an upgrade that will increase bandwidth and speed to 1G at each of SUSD’s 33 schools through a Cox Metro Ethernet network so that students and teachers can all use their own “smart devices” in the classroom at the same time.

With these Cox Business upgrades, SUSD can complete plans to fully activate its “Bring Your Own Technology” (BYOT) program across all of its schools. The District has embraced the proliferation of mobile technology and wants students to appropriately use their devices at the direction of teachers for research, to engage in class discussions and to stream educational videos. Cox Business is providing a network fast enough and reliable enough to consistently manage this new level of usage.

“Every SUSD school will have wireless access so students and teachers can bring their smartphones, iPods, iPads and Android devices to school and fluidly engage with technology,” explains Tom Clark, chief technology officer for  SUSD.  He adds, “Already, SUSD is offering professional development through a mobile learning lab, eCoach, that travels throughout the District carrying its own portable technology. Now, the eCoach will have seamless wireless access at SUSD campuses to the robust Cox Business network established for the District.”

“Cox Business believes deeply in developing and providing connectivity that allows our partners, like SUSD, to heighten the learning experience,” said Hyman Sukiennik, Cox Business vice president. Cox Business connects 29 school districts in Metro Phoenix with Internet, data networks and telephone networks.