3D GameLab: Engaging by Design – Groups using Trillo

In my quest for badge based experiences, I am working my way through the Engaging by Design quests for teachers offered at 3DGameLab.  I’ve been exploring Trillo which is a basic online project management organizational tool.  Here is what I like about it:

  • It uses Google to sign in
  • I can collaborate with colleagues
  • Its web based so I can access it anytime & anywhere
  • I like the drop and drag of tasks for a project so I can have my to do list, in progress list, and completed lists.
  • I like that you can add files from drive and web addresses for research
  • I am planning on using this with a fellow teacher to organize our summer project for aligning curriculum
  • I can see using this with older students on a collaborative project for research.

Below I have a screen shot of my initial planning for this summer curriculum alignment project.

Image of Trillo board.  To Do: Discuss how to complete project in less time, Revise plan if necessary, and set face to face calendar meetings.  Doing: 4th Grade Scotts Foresman Spelling words in Typing Club lessons.  Done: Submitted project proposal and gained approval.



3DGL: Quest Design: Attraction

What makes attractive quest design?



Given the list  that was outlined in Dr. Chris Haskell’s research on quest design, I have done some of my own reflections.  I have found that if within the quest chain there are embedded flash games that apply to the content students will work harder to work towards getting to that task and will complete more quests within that chain.  I have also found that for most students quest based homework is much more attractive that paper and pen homework.  Having used this platform with students in grades 4-12, I have found that students in younger grades want more embedded media in their quests.  They are less likely to read any text on the screen the younger they are.  Given this fact I have shown  the more reluctant learners how to add the Speak It extention to Google Chrome to aid them in getting the instructions but reducing the amount of reading they actually need to do.


I have also found that using video tutorials within quest assignments that are introducing students to new features in Google Docs works well.  Students like that they can play and pause the video and go at their own rate of speed.  Many students find this less stressful than having to keep up with whole class instruction.  This makes quest based learning an effective way to differentiate instruction for students.

Quest Ranking System using the following titles for each rank: Paleolithic Hunter Gather, Neolithic Villager, Slave, Farmer, Artisan, Scribe, Priest, Pharaoh, Mummy, Demi-God, and Diety

Students will also click on a badge and work hard to unlock quests that will get them a badge or achievement requirement.  I find that students love to level up.  So if you can make a hierarchy of 10 levels as opposed to only 4 or 5 it will keep students motivated to continue progressions.  See rank image for 6th grade Ancient Civilizations course.


I like the idea of reflecting throughout the learning process.  I would like to begin to incorporate this piece into their Google Sites digital portfolio or explore a tool such as blogger to use for a similar purpose. The place I am at at this point with my quest design and content is how do I get parents and students on board with questing outside of school.  This provides a cultural shift in how ICT is seen within the school and community at the elementary level.


Learning Anytime Anywhere

It never ceases to amaze me the role that technology plays in education and the acquisition of new skills.  For example, yesterday was a snow day, despite the fact that my daughter didn’t have school and I wasn’t teaching in a typical classroom setting there was tons of learning occurring in my house.

While I was lesson planning in Google Drive, creating new ASSISTments for a PD session, and attending 3DGameLab camp on video game design, my 8 year old was asking for more practice work in Khan Academy and learning about computers on Discovery Kids Puterbugs.  Even today with a sick day for one of my kiddos I’ll still be working from home and as she feels better I am sure there will be Khan and Puterbugs in her future.  Yet, this independent learning and working from home still hasn’t permeated the walls of most educational institutions.  The change process in education seems as though it plugs along at such a slow pace that it is always behind the needs of society.

Maybe it doesn’t need to be a snow day where it counts as a missed day of school.  These days could be educational opportunities for digital learning.  However, with parts of the country still without internet access, the digital divide impedes this as an option in rural communities.  Certainly, this is an option that could be explored more in the future.  Think of the financial savings of this day not being added to the end of the year.  One less day that the school busses need to run.  One less day the lights need to be on in the classroom.  Just because we are not in the physical four walls of a brick and mortar school doesn’t means that learning can’t occur.  Even at the elementary level this is a possibility with the right supports for teacher professional development and technology resources in place.

3D Game Lab – Unity Introduction Quest

A new month and more exciting options for professional development through 3D Game Lab.  This month the focus is surrounding game design for teachers.  After last months hour of code event in my classes I find myself inspired to expand my horizons and learn more.

This first quest assignments was to explore what is out there for tutorials, curriculum, and media relating to using Unity3d in the classroom.

After searching Unity in the classroom, what I discovered was that from what I found it was mostly being used at the college level. I did find one link where the University of New Hampshire is running a STEM project using the platform for grades 9-12 ([url=http://manchester.unh.edu/outreach/stem-discovery-lab/upcoming]). On a wiki site I found several [url=http://gamesined.wikispaces.com/Game+Creation+Tools]tutorial sites[/url] (scroll about halfway down the page) that could provide useful to using Unity3d in the classroom as well. In addition, I found an interesting article about how high school students are using Unity3d to create projects. [url=http://www.3dteachers.com/2010/04/unity-3d-gaming-and-education.html]

I would love to see any information pertaining to younger grades using this platform, however, I didn’t find anything specific for that in my search.

3D GL – Are Games Better Than Real Life?


As part of my October Super Camp experience, I am attempting to finish any unfinished Academy quests.  After viewing the following Ted Talk I drawn several thoughts about the implications upon education given the video presentation.  Mostly, viewing the clip brought back thoughts I had during my last grad course with Dr. Chris Haskell.

Are Games Better Than Real Life?

We are instructing students in our classroom for careers that don’t yet exist.  The creativity involved in developing this media can be harnessed and developed in our classrooms.  Games captivate their users with stunning graphics, virtual worlds with unlimited imagination, challenging scaffolded leveled experiences, and continuous feedback.  These factors are what keeps the users working toward the winning condition of a game.  With millions of users invested in games we need to ask ourselves as educators…. how do we get our audience to be just as captive in the classroom.  Today’s students have access to media all around them … how do we harness these skills, excitement, and enthusiasm to create a learning environment where students persevere, feel successful, actively engage, and want to level up in order to meet the winning condition on the classroom.   These concepts are what is behind the gamification movement in education.  Video game platforms allow users to interact with their entertainment.  With this in mind the days of standing in front of a class and lecturing are over.  The masses crave interaction with the content.  As I have attended various conferences during my years as an educator, I have seen the definition of instruction using technology dramatically change.   When someone indicated they were using technology in the classroom ten years ago it meant they were have students type an essay or make a powerpoint.  Those are still considered incorporating technology now however the breadth of tools has expanded exponentially.  Teachers are now using interactive projectors, whiteboard, and tablets.  The days of a teacher showing slide after slide of a PowerPoint while students passively listened are over.  Now students are getting out of their seats and manipulating content using a virtual pen to draw, drop, drag, and answer questions.  Many classrooms across the country are using less paper assessments and going towards digital tools like ASSISTments, Student Response Systems (Clickers), and exam software.  I have even see 3D interactive projectors that come with 3D glasses where you can navigate the cells within the human body.  This is becoming the new face of education.  Games are teaching our students about economics, war, navigation, driving, collaboration, strategy.  Imagine if these games could teach our students about landforms, algebra, number sense, and reading nonfiction text so that we as teachers could create a gaming environment to guide our students through learning the Common Core Standards.  Recently, I was exposed to teachers that were using Second Life as a learning platform for language immersion with native speakers in spaces that resemble the physical environment of Spain, France, and Germany.


What an excellent idea! Using Google Forms to make a quiz that provides instant feedback to students.  I love that if they select the incorrect answer it takes them to the correct answer.  There is such unlimited potential for this in the classroom.  The only thing I found to be a challenge with this assignment was that I wanted to make the answer choices pictures and was unable to.  As a teacher in an elementary school, we have several students that are struggling readers.  I wanted to try to make the quiz as visual as possible having students select the picture of the state flower rather than the word sequence.  However, I was unable to make this option work.  I intent upon expanding the quiz to add more content to it.  Right now, it is just a brief 3 question assessment practice.  As the computer teacher, I actually am thinking of having students create the quiz from the content they are learning in their social studies class.  They can that do each other’s quizzes to see how they all do.

Check out the quiz and give it a try.
Google Forms Quiz

3DGL – Google Apps for EDU Camp Reflection

Despite the fact that I have been using Google Apps for a while now it never ceases to amaze me that there is more to learn.  Last night while on Pinterst I came across a tutorial for Doctopus.  This amazing script makes the circulation of documents for grading purposes super easy.  The user simply sets up a Google Spreadsheet with basic information for the class assignment.  In the fields you enter student name, student email address, and assign groups if it is a collaborative assignment.  If you want to have each student work independently you can do that and even assign a naming convention formula that will rename each individual document for the students in that naming convention.  This eliminates the need for teachers to instruct students to copy the document that has been shared with them then rename it.  As a teacher that has transitioned this school year from teaching middle school to elementary school, I am always looking for ways to simplify the process for the K-5 students I work with.  This tool is going to do the trick.  In fact I have a project I need to send out for next week, I am planning on trying out Doctopus this weekend.


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