It was great to read other blogs this week to see if my classmates found “evidence” to support Matera’s claims on the “new world” in education. Since his book describes how gamification can benefit in learning, I chose to find out more about gaming in general. I was a little disappointed to read 6 blogs and find only 2 people that had some “evidence” to support one or two of his claims. “Evidence” in my opinion equates to research in the form of experiments. That is the only way to prove without doubt factors that affect learning.
Statistics is a double-edged sword for me. You have to be careful about any research study’s claims and conclusions, but at the same time, it is invaluable in making cause and effect conclusions. The fine line is how the research was conducted. There are many factors that can invalidate claims, and that is why it’s important to read conclusions from studies with scrutiny. Our instructor, Dr. Lee Graham, provided us with a great article about a study that involved using a board game that mimics an NBA game where the players, middle school students, learn math concepts. It stated that those students who played the game scored three times better than a control group. That was the kind of evidence I wanted to read about in other people’s blogs.
I suppose I can blame myself for not being diligent in finding other studies that were similiar to what Dr. Graham provided us. I will try to find other studies that claim beneficial results. In the mean time, I want to comment on one of the trends in education that is difficult to accept. That is the concept of “teacher as facilitator.” Larissa discussed this in her blog, and I agree that it is one element of education, as a whole, that will take time to become mainstream. With all the resources available to students, and to be honest anyone, it is amazing that students I have come to know over the years and current students think that the only way to learn content is if I teach them. The idea that they can learn on their own, and should be able to research any topic they choose, seems to be alien to them. Maybe it’s the fact that I teach high school math. Not everyone’s favorite subject when they rememer high school course offerings. 🙂 But there are plenty of resources, both electronic and physical, that can assist students to learn math. I thumb through these “… For Dummies” books, and think to myself that they are not teaching any differently than what I do in the class! My point is that students can learn any topic they choose, and the teacher’s role should not be the main focus of learning content, but as a facilitator to help students find resources, assist in providing another perspective, or just being there to help in any way possible. I hope this can come to pass in the near future. Students can surpass our expectations. Let’s allow them to do so.