Megan Tulia
Video Games As Learning Tools
Instructor Brock Dubbles

Final Presentation of Learning

I found the reading in this class to be challenging because the topic of video gaming was pretty foreign to me, not to mention the radical idea that video games might be a probable learning/teaching tool. I needed time to take Gee’s ideas in- think about them, try and apply them, and of course question them. Blogging and Wiki-ing were really helpful in trying to analyze and apply the material we covered through readings and discussions. Overall the big ideas that I have gained from the information presented through this class are these:
1) Video games and such “new” literacies can and should be considered as possible tools for teaching, and enhancing students’ learning.
2) Technology in general (the Internet, powerpoints, games, blogs, and wikis) can be an engaging and motivating tool to do many of the teaching tasks in a quicker, more fun, and more efficient manner.
3) As a teacher I should be providing students options with structure (such as Dubbles did with his games unit in the classroom) which allows them to work at their own (differentiated) level, achieve greatness at their own pace, gives them control over their “output”, engages them in activities which appeal to them.
I found reading others’ blogs, and doing the wiki-ing to be a great experience of learning from insightful, talented educators. I especially loved hearing other people’s ‘Questions to Extend Learning’ and their ‘Ideas for the Classroom’ because these usually challenged me to dig deeper in my thoughts and experiences. Though I usually read the blogs from my group members I love the idea that the blogs/wiki are up “permanently” and I can view any of them at a later date.
The class discussions were a great time to “think out loud” about some of the ideas that Gee put forth in his book. I love hearing the opinions that contradict Gee because I feel like those people challenge me to question the validity of his argument and test it for myself to see what is real/not.

I am excited about how I can apply the learning from this class into my future teaching. I have several specific ideas, and a general interest in continuing doing many of the “best practices”. Specifically in my math assessments I would like to turn this assessment piece from a teacher directed, record keeping only functional piece into a differentiated learning opportunity in which my students are given the time to understand where they stand and have the power to affect what learning they should seek to better their knowledge. I would also like to use the potential power of the wiki tool to set up a ‘pen-pal’ relationship with a classroom in Papua New Guinea that would allow my students to learn almost first hand about the lives of other children in a vastly different environment then their own.

In applying the use of video games as learning tools, I can see where it would fit under several of the Minnesota Department of Education Literacy Standards for Kindergarten. Specifically, the strand I. Reading and Literature, sub-strand B. Vocabulary Expansion; and sub-strand D. Literature.

Working together in a group has been a rewarding, and energizing part of this class for me. The teamwork required for this class has allowed us to get to know each other as professionals, and I highly value their knowledge, experiences, and insight. My goal was to learn something about integrating this technology of video games into my teaching, and I feel like I have come away with something broader and possibly better. The validity of many of the teaching strategies that I already use has been reaffirmed, and I have been spurred on to better use motivational, available technology to reach my students. Even without additional use of technology I feel like I will be a better teacher because I have been able to take time to evaluate my teaching along these lines- Am I making learning (fun and) engaging? And am I allowing each student to be an authentic co-author of their learning experience in ways that they can appreciate their power and potential? These are challenging questions that I hope will strengthen some of my present practices, and motivate me to change other practices.