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3 Ways Pokemon Go Can Create Learning Opportunities

Pokemon is taking over college campuses all over the country. If you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go, it’s a modern Pokemon game available for free via Android or IOS app. Users are trainers in a virtual reality attempting to catch all the Pokemon within the user’s reach. How can schools use Pokemon Go as an education experience?

Pokemon Go uses the location and camera to create a virtual reality. Students can screenshot the Pokemon they are about to catch and save the pictures to their camera roll. Later, students can use the pictures for classroom projects to create digital stories.

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PokeStops are popular locations that provide users with educational information before collecting Pokemon Balls or Potions. A journal in the app collects all the Pokemon users catch, including date and time. Students can use the date to figure out the average number of events per day or graph the items collected from a PokeStop.

Washington State University is now incorporating Pokemon Go in their campus tours. WSU Tri-Cities will incorporate a portion of their 15 Pokestops. The tour will also includes stops at 2 different Pokemon gyms and extra time to hunt for a Charmander or other characters in the game. Seanna Coleman, lead WSU Tri-Cities student ambassador, shared “We thought this would be a fun way to incorporate an additional digital element in the tour, while allowing prospective students and their families to view our beautiful university campus along the Columbia River”.

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more about WSU’s Poke Tours.

The Majority of Institutions Offer Other Forms of Credentials

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According to a new study done by University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), Pennsylvania State University and Pearson, millennial students tend to lean towards badging and certificate programs as opposed to the traditional bachelor’s degree.

The study, titled “Demographic Shifts in Educational Demand and the Rise of Alternative Credentials” includes research conducted from 190 institutions, including community colleges (11 percent), baccalaureate colleges (12 percent), master’s colleges or universities (27 percent), and doctorate-granting universities (50 percent). Of those surveyed, 61 percent of them were public institutions. Overall, the research revealed that offering alternative credentials, such as digital badges, certificates, and micro credentials, have become popular, with 94 percent of institutions reporting that they offer this.

Digital badges are online representations of skills learned by students, typically with visual iconography; certificates are usually issued by educational institutions to students who have completed significant programs of study that do not culminate in a specific degree; while micro credentials are digitally presented certifications providing evidence that an individual has mastered a specific skill or area of knowledge that demonstrates their learning.

Director of UPCEA’s Center for Research Marketing Strategy, Jim Fong; director of the Center for Online Innovation in Learning and a professor at Penn State, Kyle Peck; and senior director of business development at Pearson’s Acclaim, Peter Janzow all conducted the study. They have also found that:

* One in five institutions offers digital badges

* Digital badges are most commonly offered in business-related domains

* Institutions with corporate engagement value alternative credentialing more than institutions that did not

* Sixty-four percent of those surveyed agree that their institution sees alternative credentialing as an important strategy for its future

According to Fong, “The degree will always be an important credential, but it won’t always be the gold standard. As millennials enter the prime years of their career and move into positions of greater power, we’ll see more alternative credentials for specific industries and possibly across the board. Higher education institutions, especially those in our survey, are showing that they are being progressive with workforce needs.” For more information, please visit UPCEA’s website for more information.

For Students Taking Online Courses, a Completion Paradox

Although community-college students are much more likely to fail a class taken online then in a traditional face-to-face course, and grades in online courses are often lower, online courses are actually contributing to better completion rates in degree programs.

There’s a national study that was published 2014, that found that students who took at least one online course, are 25 percent more likely to earn a degree than those who study in a traditional lecture. This could be because the convenience of online course could be the difference between staying in a degree program and dropping out.

They call this “online paradox”. This is due to the contrasting statistics that are for and against online courses. One student has earned mostly A’s but the one B he has so far is in an online course. This is due to it being difficult to juggle and keep track of an online course. This also might be due to the lower pass rates that are a longstanding problem in online course. A study done in California’s Community-college system found that students are 10 to 14 percent less likely to pass an online course than face-to-face course.

Online courses are a long way from being perfected. Educators need to identify successful practices in online learning so more students are successful in the course themselves. There seems to be an inconsistent quality that is contributing to the problem. Many colleges are already taking steps to warn students about the level of self-discipline and access to technology needed to succeed in an online course. That being said, online courses are a two-way street, it needs to be created and simple enough for students to understand what they’re getting from it and what their expected to do, and also students need to make sure that although it’s online the amount of coursework and time for the class still matches up a traditional face-to-face course. What that means is, if you’re taking a 5 credit course you should be spending 10 hours outside of class a week for that class, that is the same for online course.

Does Reading on Computer Screens Affect Student Learning

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Naomi S. Baron is a woman who walked past her campus bookstore and noticed a sign advertising digital-textbook rentals, and started to worry. She is a professor of linguistics at American University and author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World. She studies the relationship between technology and language. She believes that students will have a mentality of “I’m studying for a test, and this piece of text is not going to become a part of who I am” when they are reading on a computer or tablet screen. It’s only a matter of convenience and students won’t absorb every word comparatively to a traditional physical text book.

She is not the only professor that is worried about the effects of reading on screens. Other professors such as Michelle Blake, whom is a professor of English at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, noticed her students’ eyes seemed to glide over obvious errors in their papers while reading aloud. She wonders how much of this is an effect of the web and its hindrance of s students’ ability to engage with texts.

A few studies have found that there is little difference between the retention when a student reads on a screen versus in print. However, from the Norway’s University of Stavanger, they did a study that did suggest that high-school students remember less when they read a text digitally. Some evidence exists that when students multitask, their comprehension dips.

What’s even more astonishing is the fact that Ms. Baron had done research that shows that students prefer reading from print (ninety-two percent answered print). From this sample of 429 college students, she believes that her hunch that students have trouble switching into academic-reading mode when the text is on the screen.

For more information on this topic, click here.

Colleges to Drop Traditional Textbooks for Open Educational Resources

The national reform network for community colleges, Achieving the Dream (ATD), has announced that they will be taking the initiative to develop degree programs that will use open educational resources (OER). The OER Degree Initiative makes it so that programs will use openly licensed learning materials as opposed to purchasing expensive textbooks, saving their students thousands of dollars.

Currently, the cost of textbooks averages to about $1,300 for a full-time community college student. For the millions of students, the cost of textbooks alone prevents students from completing their education. The OER Degree Initiative will be implemented to save students money and improve the rate of college completion. According to a press release, “…there are enough open educational materials to replace textbooks in required courses in four two-year programs: business administration, general education, natural or general science, and social science. But only a few colleges are using those resources.”

“Through the OER Degree Initiative, these community colleges are simultaneously addressing two important challenges faced by educators and students: Not only will they provide their faculty the flexibility and academic freedom to align their open educational resources to curriculum objectives, but also, by lowering textbook costs, they will make it far more likely that their students will achieve the goal of attaining a degree,” said Barbara Chow, education program director at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

For this initiative, ATD will be in charge of assisting colleges in making the OER degree an important factor in their student’s efforts for success. Upon the initial implementation, the OER courses will be available on an online platform.

The OER Degree Initiative is backed by grants from foundations totaling $9.8 million. Participating colleges and systems were selected through a competitive grant process “based on their ability and capacity to implement OER degree programs, offer the full complement of degree courses quickly, or quickly scale the number of selections offered,” according to a news release.

For more information, please visit the article here or the Achieving the Dream site