Category Archives: Diffimooc class

Week 6 Journal

Week 6 Journal 679

Our blog prompt for this week was, “What is the implication of player type on game design?” Different players will work their way through games using different playing styles, so it is helpful for a teacher to be able to identify which students use which approaches. Fortunately, there are programs to help figure this out. You can use your results from these sites to better understand how your students work and also to create groups of similar players in your classroom.

My gamer type that I got was Explorer. I took two quizzes just to make sure it was accurate, and both said the same thing. I believe the tests to be fairly accurate, even though I am not a gamer type of person. I like what Holland said about the gamer types and how they function in the classroom. I think this would be helpful as a teacher because we need to understand our individual students in order to reach them.

In responding to others’ blogs, I found myself thinking the same way as Mariah. Some of the questions I don’t think I would do if I were playing a game, so I answered them the best that I can. I did take two quizzes and both said I am an Explorer, which I think is a pretty accurate predictor of what I would be like if I played more games. I like what she said here: “Having the knowledge of which students have what gamer type is key in having successful gamified activities in the classroom because you can use each type of gamer to help the class be a great learning environment.” I think this is true, but wonder if these quizzes we took are the best ways to figure out what type of gamers students are. I am sure there are students like me who don’t play games at all or very little. It would be interesting to find out.

This discover from Sarah was interesting: “Marczewski (2015) adds two additional player types, Disruptor and Player, to the mix. He explains Players as those who are in it just for the rewards and only for themselves. The Disruptors want to disrupt the gameplay of others, either in a positive or negative way.” I wonder if Disruptor is like the Killer?  Sarah also was Explorer when she took the test. She wrote that Kiang (2016) looks at the four player types and how they would behave in a classroom gaming situation, which made me think about what type my students—I thought this student might be an Explorer and so on.  I like the idea of grouping your students by gamer type or dividing them into separate groups so they can appreciate others’ strengths.

Matt also quoted Kiang (2016):“The way we play games mirrors how we act in real life.” I thought this was interesting, but I am not solely convinced this to be true. He talked about Class Craft. I told him I’d never heard of Class Craft and wondered how he is using this in his classroom—i.e., with which grade and subject? I told him my quiz results were both Explorer. Although I do not play games online I think this is fairly accurate.

Kate got two different results from her quizzes. I told her I did the same thing and took the two tests to see if I would get different results, but, to my surprise, I got the same result—Explorer. She made a good point, writing “Unless the rewards systems are modified to be intrinsic and meet the needs of the individual player groups, gamification will lose its appeal for a large percentage of the students in a classroom.” I see that in my classes when I give out Rambucks, which is fake money that students can use at the school store. Some students are so excited to get them; others don’t care and may give their Rambucks away. This illustrates the way different personality styles affect how students relate to various class activities.

This coming Tuesday, Larissa, Heather, Mariah and I will be presenting on Google VR Cardboard. I find this very exciting since I bought some Google Cardboards for my class. We are presenting what Google Cardboard is, how we can get it, and how we can use in the classroom. This is all new to me, so I am very excited to learn more about this. I have been learning a lot by researching about it to get information for our presentation. Just like anything new you get, it will take a while to get use to it and learn the tricks to it. I look forward to when my Google Cardboards come in and I can figure out ways I can integrate this into my classroom. I also look forward to learning about the other platforms that are going to be presented on in this class—how I can use them in my class and how they might benefit my students.

Week 4 Emerging Tech

Week 4: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker space? What are the benefits to students?

What are Makerspaces? The brief video gives a short detail of what is a Makerspace. The pedagogy is about discovering, building, finding your passion, and sharing with others. It is about if, when you try and fail, what happens if you keep trying. It is about working together with others. The article 7 “Things to Know about Makerspaces” describes a Makerspace as a “a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build” (https://youtube/NLEJLOB6fDw).

When we support kids in building, designing, and making, we ask them to think differently. We give them the chance to change the world by putting something new into it (Patterson, 2015). I think Makerspaces do this plus other things for students. They can get students excited about learning and open up their minds. Stager (2015) writes that children are capable of powerful ideas. One student said Makerspace helps them understand what they are capable of. “Students are taking the experiences from this class and using them in their other classes” (Stager, 2015). I think this is a powerful concept that students should be able to apply in any class.

Makerspaces represent powerful teaching pedagogy. I think all schools should include a Maker space for students. In this place, they can tinker and engage in making and working with others. As also stated in “Things to Know about Makerspaces,” “These facilities foster a highly collaborative learning dynamic that is excellent for team efforts and for peer support, advice, and assistance.” This would be a great place for the students who learn best by doing. Hands-on learning is very powerful, and students will never forget what they learned in a hands-on process. As a teacher, this is what I want for my students. I want them to never forget what they learned and be able to use what they learned later in life.


7 Things You Should Know About Makerspaces. (2013). Retrieved June 5, 2015, from

Patterson, S. (2015). Learning with Arduino and Microcontrollers. Retrieved June 5, 2015, from

Stager, G. (2015). What’s the Maker Movement and Why Should I Care? Retrieved June 4, 2015, from browse/article.jsp?id=3758336.

What is a MakerSpace? (2015). Retrieved June 4, 2015, from

Week 13 Reflection

Week 13 Reflection

This week included some interesting reading about testing. Reading about it and seeing what some have posted about testing, I think it’s safe to say we don’t like it. It is not only a stressful time for students but teachers as well. I see teaching getting changed because of high stakes testing. It is sad because I think it affects the students the most.

This past week in our team meeting, we were talking about testing and how our district is moving toward have students’ test scores related to our evaluations. I also heard that they would start at having like 20% of your evaluation be based on your students’ end of the year score; after that, the percentage will keep going up. I don’t agree with this at all. I don’t think teachers should be evaluated based on students’ scores. When some of your students underperform on standardized tests, it does not mean you are not a good teacher.

There are many reasons students might not score well on tests. They might get anxiety when they test, read the question wrong, push the wrong button to answer, or have other issues going on in their lives that get in the way of their motivation to perform well on the test, or to miss classes. Some people just don’t test well. In these cases, poor test performance doesn’t mean the student didn’t learn the material or that their teacher didn’t teach it to them.

I think if this goes into effect, we will start to lose some good teachers. Or we won’t attract good new ones. I am not sure how the evaluation system works in other states, but if prospective teachers think that the quality of their work is going be judged in such an unfair and way in Alaska, they might not want to apply.

Soon, the only way to get a good evaluation will be to put aside all you know about what works well for your students and begin to teach to the standardized test. The teachers that are here will be teaching to the test. They are going to be worried about their students’ scores and how these will affect their evaluations.

I think this will also lead to fewer field trips, projects, or fun activities. Teachers are going to feel pressured to get through all the material they need to cover and make sure that students retain it. Some of us teachers, like social studies teachers, don’t know yet what we will be tested on. There is so much to cover in social studies that we are not sure what to cover. We can only go through so much in a school year. A co-worker said she wished she knew what the students were going to be tested on so she would know what to go over. Again, then, she will be teaching to the test.

I myself love to do projects with my students. I think they retain the information more and they have fun doing it. I try to appeal to my students’ likes. Projects do take more time to go through. I’d say sometimes I spend at least two weeks on a project. I try to go through at least one project a quarter. I think if I were to feel pressured, then I might not want to do projects because I would have so much standardized curriculum to cover. I could if I knew what students were going to be tested on incorporate that into their project. Once I see what is going to be on the social studies test, I hope to be able to make projects that will lead students to learn what they need to know to pass. Until I know for sure what students are going to be tested on, I am going to keep teaching the way that I am. I feel students are learning what I want them to know and they are enjoying my class. That is what I want as a teacher.

Week 13

Essential question: How can I use both formative and summative assessments to enhance (or at least not interfere with) intrinsic motivation?

Looking at this question I want to clearly define what formative and summative assessments are and, also, what intrinsic motivation is.   According to the Formative and Summative article that I read from, summative assessment takes place at the end of a course, usually in the form of a test or project that translates to the student’s finally grade. Formative assessment is ongoing and may involve tests, projects, or other assignments. With formative assessments, students can use self-check to improve on problem areas. At the same time, teachers are able to see where students are having trouble with material and make appropriate adjustments. According to Cherry (2015), intrinsic motivation “refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from within the individual because it is intrinsically rewarding”. The student wants to do it because they enjoy doing it not because they have too.

When I think of my own teaching, I do both. I perform summative assessments at an end of a unit, like when I give a quiz on what was covered. I also administer formative assessments, like for projects where I check in with students as they are progressing through the project. This also gives them a chance to improve on any suggestions that I have for them. I also try to incorporate opportunities for intrinsic motivation into my projects. I do this by appealing to students’ likes and interests so they engage with the project. I find that when students are interested they become more motivated and want to do learn more about the topic. They also remember what they learned.

Thinking about tests, I heard that, at my school, teachers are going to be evaluated on our students’ standardized test scores. They are thinking of starting this next year with math and language arts, since they have tests for those. Social studies and science will most likely be the next year. I don’t think we should be evaluated on how our students score on these tests. Some students don’t test well; some don’t care and some just don’t read the directions right. Should teachers be penalized for these mistakes? Does a student’s inability to perform well on a test mean the teacher isn’t providing an effective learning experience?

This also brings up cheating. When students feel pressured and teachers feel pressured, this will lead to cheating. According to Kohn, in “Who’s Cheating Whom?” (2008), more cheating took place when teachers emphasized good grades, high test scores, and being smart. If teachers are going to be evaluated based on students’ scores then teachers are going to be teaching to the test. If they know what is going to be on the test, then this will happen. I think things like field trips or fun activities will be taken out, because teachers will be feeling pressure to make sure students get this information. One of my co-workers who teaches social studies also told us how and what are they going to evaluate us on. With social studies, we will have to try to go over the world and that is a lot of information as it is. She said that she would like to know what they are going to test the kids on because then we will know what to teach the kids. This is an example of how evaluating teachers on their students’ test scores results in teaching to the test.

I found the information on competition in “Who’s Cheating Whom?” to be very interesting. Kohn writes that “competition is perhaps the single most toxic ingredient to be found in a classroom, and it is also a reliable predictor of cheating.” I am not sure if I agree with this. I have a few boys in my class who are very competitive with each other. They compare their grades, how they did on papers, and try to do better than the others. I think this helps them to try harder. It might not be good for all students, but some thrive on competition.

This all comes down to our students. We as teachers want what is best for them. I think tests are necessary. More to the point, they are a fact of life. But to be evaluated on how students score? I feel that is going to change how teachers teach, and that is going to have a negative effect on our efforts to differentiate our instruction. I think it will also result in surface learning. If you have so much to cover then you are not going to spend much time on anything. This makes it hard to take a project-based approach. As we’ve discussed all semester, many students learn best through projects. They take more time, but I think students are more likely to take more information from a project and be more likely to remember what was learned. I just hope that the ones that are making the decisions are thinking of the students and how this will impact them.


Cherry, K. (2015). What Is Intrinsic Motivation? Retrieved April 17, 2015, from

Coon, D. & Mitterer, J. O. (2010). Introduction to psychology: Gateways to mind and behavior with concept maps.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Formative and Summative Assessment (When you assess) | University Teaching & Learning Center | The George Washington University. (2015). Retrieved April 17, 2015, from

Kohn, A. (2008). Who’s Cheating Whom? Phi Delta Kappan. Retrieved from: 13 April 2015.

Tomlinson, Carol Ann, and Moon, Tonya R. (2013) Chapter 6: Assessment, Grading and Differentiation. Assessment and Student Success in a Differentiated Classroom. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). ProQuest ebrary. Web. Retrieved from: 13 April 2015.

Week 12 reflection

Week 12 Reflection

This has been an interesting week of learning. The chapters that we had to read this week on brain based learning and teaching with poverty in mind gave me much to think about in terms of my teaching and my students.

What I found most interesting was how much direct instruction we can take at a time. For example middle school students should have no more 15 minutes of direct instruction before you start to loose them. Adults should have no more than 18 minutes.   That made me really think about a few time when I went to classes that were over two hours long and really didn’t remember much of what I just learned. I remember in college in my history classes that I tried to follow along but at times I would be almost sleeping in class. My brain was getting overloaded and I couldn’t take all the information that I was learning.

What I learned is I need to plan for rest breaks in my classes. This gives the students a time to rest their brain. I also am looking into which is brain breaks for your students. I see now that I need to give the students time to rest their brains. There brains are going all day long. I now know that new learning requires rest. I can play soothing music and let the students just rest for a few minutes before getting started. I can do breathing exercises to have them calm down.   I don’t know what went on from their last class to when they are coming to you. Maybe they got in trouble the last class and is upset right now.   Maybe someone pushed them in the hall or they got into an argument with a friend. When they first come into class their brain is not on learning. They are still thinking about what happened. If I gave them time to breath and clam down I think it would be beneficial to their learning.

I know that I still have much to learn about activities to do with my students on brain base learning. I would like to give it a try because I know that it will help the students out and I think I will see them calming, more relaxed and ready for learning.  I also would like to include more movement in my classroom and brain breaks. If I did this I think this would give the students time to refocus what they are working on plus get some blood moving and their brains a little break. I think I will see more focused and productive students in my classroom when I start this.

Week 12

Essential question: What is brain-based learning and how can it inform problem-based learning and differentiation?


         One might asked what is brain-based learning? According to, brain-based learning refers to the latest research on how the brain learns, including factors such as how students learn differently as they grow, age, and mature socially, emotionally, and cognitively. To me, brain-based learning is knowing how our brain works in relationship to learning. Each student is unique and learns in a different way. As a teacher, I think it is up to me to try to find out how best that student learns. I want to know students’ learning styles, their interests, about what is going on in their lives. I think this all relates to how a student will perform in your class.

Our brains are so unique, and you as a teacher need to find out about your students’ learning styles, including which side of a student’s brain is dominant. In the beginning of the year, I usually give students a learning style and left brain/right brain survey. The student then can see which side of her or his brain is dominant and which learning style will work better. This all relates to brain-based learning and differentiation. Once I know a student’s learning style and which side of her or his brain is dominant, I can plan activities that will relate to that student’s strengths and interests. It is also good for the student to know which learning style is best and which side of her or his brain is dominant, if one side is dominant.

According to the Funderstanding website, brain-based learning does have an impact on education. For strong curriculum, teachers must design learning around students’ interests. The site instructs teachers to educate students in teams and around real problems outside of school. Looking at assessment, students should be able to assess themselves, beginning with understanding their learning styles and preferences. This way, they can reflect on their learning in a useful context and be better able to move forward.

         I found the book Teaching with the Brain in Mind to be very interesting. As the author points out, “[r]esearchers have found that we can only take in three to seven chunks of information before we simply overload and miss new data” (p. 42). This makes me think back to college when I had classes that were like two hours long. No wonder I couldn’t remember anything after I left. My brain was overloaded! I also found interesting how direct instruction should be no more than 15 minutes for middle school students or 18 minutes for adults. Our brains need time to process the information given.

This has given me much to think about in terms of how I will teach to my students. I know that I should have brain breaks or quiet time so the brain can process what was learned. I also know that I shouldn’t try to give too much new information to students, because they will likely not remember it. I know that brain-based learning, along with problem-based learning and differentiation, works best for students, and I am going to try to teach to that level of learning so my students can get the most out of my teaching and remember what was taught. After all, I want the best for my students and want them to enjoy learning as much as I do.




Brain-Based Learning Definition. (2013). Retrieved April 11, 2015, from

Brain-based Learning. (2015). Retrieved April 11, 2015, from

Cherry, K. (2015). Left Brain vs Right Brain Dominance. Retrieved April 11, 2015, from cognitivepsychology/a/left-brain-right-brain.htm.


Jensen, Eric. Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2005. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 5 April 2015. Retreived from: uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=6&docID=10089220&tm=1428258945648

Jensen, Eric. Teaching with Poverty in Mind : What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2009. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 5 April 2015. Retrieved from: uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=28&docID=10375878&tm=1428259489468.

Week 11 Reflection

Week 11 Reflection

This has been a pretty interesting week. We did two infographics along with our blog this week. Seeing some of the other students’ infographics, I see that I could use more practice in this. I didn’t know that you could get pictures from places other than the infographic site. I still have much to learn about infographics and how to create them.

As I was reading people’s blogs, I also see that I should be working on a diffi- tool for survival craft. I was thinking that we are doing this in teams since we signed up in teams. Last time I worked with Mia on creating a maze for students to go through when they misbehave before returning to the game. Mia is working with teacher training so will not be able to work on it this time. I now have to work on creating a maze in Minecraft for students to go through that misbehave.

I am excited for this to start. There is a lot of differentiation that can go on in both scenarios. I think the students are going to be excited as well. There is so much to do in all of the scenarios, and I think it will appeal to students and be something they like to do. I just hope that I can observe student in the game playing. It is hard when you are teaching. You really don’t have time to go in when students are playing because they are in there when you are teaching.

I am still reading the Maze Runner book so I have an idea of what the story is about. It is a good book, and I think that students who are reading it will enjoy it. I can also see how this book can be used in Minecraft. Students can create a maze, farm, hunt, be a leader, build, or do the many other jobs that are going to be created once they start. It is going to be interesting to see how the students will do and how they will deal with things such as the weather, monsters, food, and just surviving. I expect some students who are new to Minecraft to get frustrated at first. I know when I first started it was frustrating for me when I was in survival mode. I was always dying. I am glad that some of the tools that they are creating will help some of these students who need help with food, making a weapon or something like that. I think they will enjoy the experience more and learn more not worry about survival or making tools. I look forward to once the students get started and seeing or hearing how they are doing in Surivivalcraft.

Week 11

Week 11

Essential question: Where do opportunities for differentiation exist within the LOTF and MazeRunner Scenarios?

In scenario 1 of LOTF, students are living in a world that existed before the story’s beginning. They are going to use clues to build this world. This is an awesome opportunity for differentiation. Students need to create a town so students can be divided into groups or choose a group they would like to be in. They can brainstorm as a class and see what structures need to be created. After they can sign up into different groups, they will start to build those structures.

In scenario 2 of LOTF, players must build, survive, and live within the jungle biome. Players must create their own laws and social structures to survive because survival mode is on. Students can brainstorm how they want their world. Students then can get into groups and start to build shelters, stores, and other infrastructure. Students can also get into groups for farming, mining, and hunting for the group.

In the 3rd scenario of LOTF, students enter creative mode. They are looking at these symbols: The Conch, The Signal Fire, Piggy’s Glasses, and The Scar. As a class, they can discuss the different things these items symbolize and why they are important in the story. They then are going to come up with one symbol or more that represents their group. Students can work in groups or together to come up with symbols and vote on the ones they like. They then can be divided into groups to start building a community that represents that symbol. They then need to write a book, sharing what their community symbolizes. This can be done individually. They then will put these in chests.

In scenario 1 in The Maze Runner, students are to create a training scenario that will allow for a survival test. They are to create a maze with moving parts. Students can work together to build the maze. They can work in teams or work alone on different parts of the maze. Students must remember to put moving parts in the maze such as moving doors and switches.

In scenario 2 in The Maze Runner, the maze is complete and groups will form, as indicated inthe book. They must be given jobs as described in the book. Students will be divided into the different groups and given their job. They can be given the job as a runner (who does the running in the maze), a slicer (who works with butchering animals), Med-jacks (ones who do a nurse’s or doctor’s work), garden (work with growing food), or some other job.

In scenario 3 of The Maze Runner, you are a trainee. You are placed in the maze that is complete and must find your way back to the community. You are not sure who to trust, so in this scenario most likely you will work by yourself unless you can form a group that you trust. You must make sure that you find survival tools, like shelter and food, before dark when the monsters came out.

These are many ways that can be differentiated in the above scenarios. These are some ways that I think differentiation can happen in the game. I think students are going to have fun once they start Survival Craft and I look forward to seeing then start the game.