Games and Pedagogy

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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    I’m probably not going to make it out to Indiana for this event, but if they video it or publish the presentation or someone takes really good notes, I’d be very interested in seeing it.

  • jekylldoc

    I totally endorse the idea. Next step: co-creation of “street theater” for the advanced students.

    • John MacDonald

      So you support an essay/final exam didactic model that generally rewards regurgitation of lecture notes/which student has the best memory? lol

      • jekylldoc

        John: Whoops! Lost me there. I thought I was endorsing learning through games.

        Frankly, as a teacher and professor, I have mostly relied on regurgitation of notes through exams. That is the easiest thing to do, and it works reasonably well at doing what it is expected to do. But I have put much of my effort over the years into creating materials and tools to teach the same material experientially, when possible in groups and by games. Lecture, research paper, exam is getting by. Hands on is real learning.

      • jekylldoc

        Did you, by chance, think I was being sarcastic! Ha! That’s funny. I am totally serious about street theater.

        • John MacDonald

          Ha ha. I thought you were being sarcastic. If you are interested, here is a sample Multiple Intelligences product grid that can be assessed with rubrics to accommodate individual student learning styles.

          • John MacDonald
          • jekylldoc

            Thanks. I am off and running at the moment, and no great fan of assessment rubrics, but I will definitely take a look. I believe in differentiated learning.

          • John MacDonald

            Rubrics that are shared with students before they begin constructing their products are good because then the students understand what they need to do in order to get the grade they want, and when we lay out the criteria it prevents arbitrary subjective grading (e.g., this “looks like” a 75%). Rubrics also help facilitate the discussion with the students as to why they got the specific grade they received. It’s all about “accountable” education.

          • John MacDonald

            Going back to my Philosophy teaching days, “Making a Judgement (such as “judging” a student’s essay to be a 75%),” means you have decided something has met, failed to meet, or approximated a criteria. The criteria may be explicit, as in a rubric, or implicit, but it’s there. Making the criteria explicit is always favorable, which is why rubrics are important – for the reasons I outlined above.

          • John MacDonald

            And this model extends to content area taught to students. Consider the example of the ethical question of whether murder is objectively wrong if there is no God:

            When we make “judgements,” such as the judgement that “murder is wrong,” we make those judgements by applying either explicit or implicit criteria.

            For instance, when an elementary school teacher is making a judgement as to what grade a child gets on a narrative piece of writing that the child has submitted, the teacher applies a rubric judging such things as effective use by the child of such things as:

            Ideas—the main message
            Organization—the internal structure of the piece
            Voice—the personal tone and flavor of the author’s message
            Word Choice—the vocabulary a writer chooses to convey meaning
            Sentence Fluency—the rhythm and flow of the language
            Conventions—the mechanical correctness
            Presentation—how the writing actually looks on the page

            Similarly, when a mixed martial arts judge tries to determine which fighter wins the match, they judge the fighters respective performances against such criteria as striking, grappling, and aggression.

            The problem with moral judgements is that it is hard to get non-subjective criteria. In terms of murder, our culture in our time judges murder to be wrong, but other cultures in other times have approved of such things as cannibalism and feeding the Christians to the lions for sport. If we are not to just adapt an arbitrary “holier than thou” attitude from the point of view of our time, individual biases, and culture, the question is what right do we have to judge others that have a different worldview than we do?

            If we are not to have moral relativism, we need to establish what the objective criteria is for judging that murder is wrong. Laying out such criteria can be an enjoyable and informative task for students.

          • jekylldoc

            My experience is that they can be helpful, but often still seem subjective to the students. The most effective use i have seen is when the students get actual training in use of the rubric, so they can self-assess or practice assessing other students. A bit time intensive, but for external exams it is worth the trouble.

  • John MacDonald

    It’s great to see a teacher who is this dedicated to his students. It’s unfortunate when professors only see students as a necessary, inconvenient burden to their publishing career.