EDU 800 Annotated Bib

MMORPGS & Higher Education – Could it be a ‘thing’?

Anagnostopoulou, E. (2017). Educational Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games as a future technology enhanced learning for adult mathematics. Numeracy: A Critical Skill in Adult Education, 34.

Summary. This article is a literature review on the possible ability of MMORPGS to increase motivation in adult learners within higher education, more specifically when it comes to mathematics. The MMORPG market has already been fairly popular since their creation in the 1990’s but have been steadily growing in popularity more and more with games like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV (Anagnostopoulou, 2017). The author of the article argues, that in addition to being fun, these types of games can also be used in educational settings because “players are constantly and willingly expanding their knowledge and skills in many sectors in order to advance, be competent and therefore contribute to more fun” (Anagnostopoulou, 2017, pg. 37). The author then goes on to describe how different aspects of these types of games can be used in education in areas such as history, languages, geography, fashion, management, team-work, leadership skills, problem solving skills, social skills, and mathematics. The mathematics portion, based on the literature review done by the author, is very prevalent as each character has sets of attributes and stats that effect their abilities to be successful within the game, players must have an understanding of calculations to know hot to improve their stats.

Evaluation. This article was written in such a way that not only would academics be able to glean some useful information, but non-academics as well. It was refreshing to see an academic article related to this style of gaming and not lean so heavily on outdated games such as Second Life, which makes it more credible in the eyes of current gamers. The article was brief and did not go in-depth on any particular concept and calling it a literature review may be too kind of a classification as it was so broad. However, despite being more of a magazine article in terms of tone and style, it does provide an interesting jumping off point for someone who may be interested in this area of research.

Application. While I may not use this particular article directly, it did get me thinking about how games such as an MMORPG could be utilized in higher education to enhance culturally responsive pedagogy. The Native American community prefers to teach through oral communication and storytelling, which are major components of these games. I also, believe this area needs to be researched more, in general, how MMORPGS are related to student motivations to learn as well as build communities in an online environment. Is creating an educational MMORPG just an example of “edu-tainment” or just a current niche, or is it something that will continue to grow in the future and become a very real means of education?

EDU 800 Annotated Bib

What Can Videos Offer in Modern Higher Education?

Laaser, W., & Toloza, E. (2017). The changing role of the educational video in higher distance education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning18(2).

Summary. This article takes in the consideration of previous works concerning the usefulness and effectiveness of video usage in the classroom, but moves its focus to how videos are used in environments such as a MOOC and how they can create collaborative learning. The authors argue that video has “become the dominant media” in the online classroom environment (Laaser & Toloza, 2017, pg. 264). The authors then go into discussing the history of video use in classrooms followed by an explanation for different types of videos to be used, such as ‘explainer’ videos to show or explain a process/concept (Laaser & Toloza, 2017). By the end of the article the authors argue that in order for videos to be effective in an education setting they must be engaging, short, and often student produced rather than simply mimicking an in-classroom lecture.

Evaluation. The overall organization of the article provides easy skimming for readers and keeps focus.  While this article is very accessible to someone interested in current research on video in online classroom settings, it does not posses any solid research outside of brief literature reviews and historical analysis. This would indicate that this article is a good jumping-off point for more in-depth research but does not provide much else from a research standpoint.

Application. This article could be utilized as a foundation from which to find similar articles that contain quantitative and qualitative research regarding video use in online classrooms. I can also use this article as a means to brainstorm best practices for utilizing video in my own classroom or creating instructions for faculty on best practices for creating videos. There also seems to be a good bit of information on what not to do with videos in online classrooms, and this could be explored further in my own research.

EDU 800 Annotated Bib

Designed Videos as a Means for Storytelling?

Schwartz, D. L., & Hartman, K. (2007). It is not television anymore: Designing digital video for learning and assessment. In Goldman, R., Pea, R., Barron, B., & Derry, S.J. (Eds.), Video research in learning science (pp. 349-366). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrance Erlbaum Associates.

Summary.  The authors of this chapter look to explore the effectiveness of designed videos for assessment in classroom learning. The authors define a designed video as a video “where the author of the video decides on its components and features beforehand,” and then the video is used as means of assessment (Schwartz & Hartman, 2007, pg. 2). They then provide a framework that can be used to map various uses of designed video in the classroom. The authors also point out their frustrations of the limited amount of research that has been conducted on video for learning or designed videos. The authors urge educators to put careful consideration on learning outcomes when decided what type of video to design for assessment and learning.

Evaluation. A strong and obvious disadvantage for this chapter is a lack of research in the area of designed videos being used for assessment and learning, and this is a weakness even the authors acknowledge. Another weakness of this paper is that is was more or less a literature review, and the authors never performed a study. The authors mention that the chapter “would have been much more effective if [they] had used video in an interactive multimedia context” during their research (Schwartz & Hartman, 2007, pg. 23). A major benefit of this chapter are the high quality figures that were created by the researcher, particularly, Figure 1, which is a map of sorts to help readers see different types of videos that can be used and the skills or purposes desired when using those types of videos. This figure serves as the framework from which the rest of the chapter is focused on.

Application. This article is applicable to my research, particularly in creating media for online courses with Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in mind. More specifically, the Native American Culture is a culture that puts a high amount of value in oral communication and storytelling – a designed video may be a means of recreating traditional storytelling methods in an online environment. Perhaps I can design videos or create instructions for faculty on designing videos using the framework set-forth by Schwartz and Hartman (2007) while still utilizing Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.

EDU 800 Annotated Bib

Exploring Ecology in Educational Technology: The Role of Instructional Desingers

Hokanson, B. (2017). A New Ecology for Education: Refocusing Educational Technology Beyond Content. In New Ecology for Education—Communication X Learning (pp. 1-6). Springer, Singapore.

Summary. Bran Hokanson’s (2017) paper makes the argument that current education and educational research focuses on students retaining content/information, and while this is useful information, researchers should begin to widen their scope and review more cognitive traits. Hokanson likens this new approach to research and learning to instructional design, in that designers focus on “finding” and “redefining” problems: “curiosity applied and formalized” (pg. 2). A designer, similar to students, in solving problems, doesn’t simply need to know content, but needs to also know how to use the content (Hokanson, 2017).  However, Hokanson then points out that even instructional designers have a bit of disconnect from really looking at content in a meaningful way, because they are forced to separate the learning experience from the content but a subject matter expert (Hokanson, 2017). Hokanson proposes that instructional designers should instead begin to focus on developing “instructional methods for persistence and grit, fairness, and curiosity,” rather than just focusing on content retention (Hokanson 2017, pg. 6). In order to ensure continued innovation of education, Hokanson ends by calling out to all instructional designers to develop “an ecology of learning” rather than concepts, practices, and pedagogies that are only focused on content.

Evaluation. This paper is very short, concise, and accessible to any level of academic reader which makes it ideal for an introduction for further research on new ecologies of learning and the role of instructional designers. The paper was published for the HKAECT-AECT Summer International Research Symposium and so it is meant to be reasonably short, but it does read similarly to a literature review with a shorter list of references. With literature reviews there is not any research or raw data included to further show gaps or needs presented by the author, and so the reader has to take the calls-to-action at face value.

Application. This paper is very different from the previous two that I have read and reviewed, in that it does not focus on culture, diversity, or inclusion. However, I believe, as an aspiring instructional designer in a doctoral program, this provides me with the opportunity to brainstorm how instructional designers can utilize the concept of learning ecology and apply it to research on the various cultural contexts that can impact student learning. Learning ecology can be defined as “the set of contexts found in physical or virtual spaces that provide opportunities for learning” (Barron, 2006, 195). What types or sets of contexts do students of color have that are different from their Caucasian peers and how does the effect their educational experience? And in turn, how can instruction designers address these differences in a meaningful way, using educational technology, to innovate and improve the learner’s experience?

Barron, B. (2006). Interest and self-sustained learning as catalysts of development: A learning ecologies perspectiveHuman Development, 49, 193-224.