Reflecting on Our Education Arcade Continued ..

The most exciting game for me to play was the remake of the game Deal or No Deal — in our arcade — called Find The Ace:

Though it was quite simple, it was the thrill of pulling the playing cards out the envelopes that made it so exciting and fun. The dealer was being cheap with the deals though. I was down to two envelopes. I had a 50/50 chance of getting the ace and my offer was ONLY 5 tickets to walk away. 5 tickets!! No way!

One thing though, I never quite knew what the lesson in the game was. My excitement just took over me and I never stopped to think what that could be.

I am not one who likes to give criticism, even if it is constructive, but the Professor is making me in this case!

Adder All was a game that I enjoyed playing as well. I am horrible at math, but having to figure out the solution to the problems before it hit the bottom got my blood flowing and  I could barely sit still in the chair. I’m making this statement unaware of what effort it might take to have a math program like that run smoothly, but I don’t think this particular game in our Education Arcade required much “building”. It was “techy” and that was cool, but maybe it was one of the easier ways out.

All in all, great turnout for the arcade with such little Makers time. The prize table and tickets were the icing on it all. Everyone did great! Good job guys!

 

 

 

The expectations I had for the class were exactly the opposite of what I went through this winter semester. I thought the class would revolve around learning about computers, their parts and how they function – sort of like the introduction course. I had no idea what I was stepping into the first day of class.

I was expecting it to be a drag, honestly. I was just ready to get in and get out in three short weeks. I think this was mainly because I was pretty bummed about not being able to enjoy my winter break, but instead being in York College for four seasons straight.

(Spring ’12, Summer ’12, Fall ’13 and Winter ’13).

I can say I also wasn’t excited about the class being focused around blogging. My face dropped when I heard that on the first day and I knew it would be a long three weeks. This was my thought  in the beginning of the class, but it ended up being something interesting and great. I wasn’t thrilled about having to post blogs and sit for time after time commenting on as many posts from my classmates as I could. I barely like to sit in front of my Mac to check emails for ten minutes. It blew my mind to think that I would have to be faced with a computer screen for four hours and then some extra hours at home for three weeks.

The class ended up being very exciting and with it revolving around the making of the Education Arcade, I got to interact with my classmates and I feel we were all pretty close at the end of the course. Making the arcade brought us together. I have a new found respect for blogging and bloggers. It seems like blogging is just like writing, like it would flow so easily, but blogging took more thought than I expected. Even though, I can’t see it as something I’d do outside of the classroom, I appreciate how bloggers keep us, non bloggers, in tune.

My favorite non-game oriented assignment had to be the few that were based around DS106 Digital Storytelling. Even though it was EXTREMELY frustrating trying to figure out how to edit and all, at the end when I finally got it, it was so much fun. When it comes to the visual and design assignments, you can really tweak anything you want! It’s amazing!

I’ve been showing my finished product to everyone I know because I was so amazed with being able to get it done.

I’m so proud of the work I accomplished this semester. Not to mention our Wiz Professor who helped answer my billions of questions and told me I will not give up – when I sure did want to.

What would I change about this class?

Easy, less time in front of the computer. Haha. No, but honestly, I would like it if we spoke more in group. It would help clarify some of the difficulties with assignments, but it would also allow us to share ideas with one another. It could act like the brainstorm before blogging. We were only able to do that right before building for the Education Arcade.

In all, I really enjoyed this winter class and appreciated that it took me out of my element. I explored technology and got to get in touch with my creative, imaginative kid side!

So I want to say Thank You to everyone. AC 230 was a really enjoyable class!

Reflecting on Our Education Arcade

Education Arcade – Real Prizes

My Academic Computing 230 class just wrapped up its Education Arcade full of great games, great people and even greater prizes! While most of the games revolved around the subject of Mathematics, my game was a different kind.  It was so much fun! Check out a player taking a shot at my game Make A Meal.

My classmate was such a great sport! Tons of fun.

I would say my game was a combination of both skill and luck. You could see in the video the Professor made a joke saying that my game required serious athletic ability which isn’t necessarily true, but it sure was a funny line. If it happened to be that the player of the game had great aim and was athletic, it might be easier for him or her to get the ring around the bottles. That’s where I can see the element of skill fitting in. On the other had, if a contestant decided to come and play my game and they didn’t have much hand-eye coordination amongst other things, then the concept of making a meal would be a lot harder to accomplish. This is why I say that the game involves some luck as well because with this kind of contestant, they’d have to just toss it and hope and pray it landed around the body of a bottle with the correct label. Therefore, whether my game is of luck or pure skill depends on the player.

Everyone who came around to play my game seemed very excited about the action component it involved. It was also very exciting because the players panicked a little every time the amount of tosses they had went down as they still hadn’t completed their meal. One thing I heard a lot was that my game was pretty hard. I don’t know if that was said jokingly, but  I hope so. After hearing that once or twice, I started modifying my game. I gave each player more tosses so instead of 6, maybe I gave them 8 and I gave the children about 10. Another thing I did was move the line closer and at certain times, I rearranged my bottles by spreading them out so the ring had a greater chance of not being obstructed by a bottle nearby.

Even though I thought my game was more steered towards showcasing knowledge, I think it also allowed players to construct knowledge about which foods belonged in certain food groups. As an example, I’ll use something I observed during the Arcade. I asked a player to make a meal using fruits, but no vegetables and she tossed the ring around the bottle labeled “carrot”. With her making that mistake, I got to explain to her that the carrot is a part of the vegetable food group as she thought it was a fruit. So with players placing wrong foods in the food groups, it allowed them to learn the lesson by playing. After that, some of the same players who made mistakes came back around to play Build A Meal again to get it right. Now that’s learning.

Other than some minor things, I would keep my game the way it was. I would change the labels I made. Because I wrote them with the only marker I could find at the time, silver, it was hard for some of the players to search out the meats and other products in the game. The bright light reflecting off of the metallic marker made it worse for them as well. Something else I would change is the ring. I would have loved to purchase an actual ring, multiple as well so that I didn’t have to go fetch the ring after every toss. This would also help keep track of how many tosses the player already took. I was keeping count with my fingers while trying to remember which parts of the meal were made already. I think my particular game was pretty fast paced so maybe I would like to give each player more chances at making meals, more than 6 tosses to slow it down.

The silly moves (tosses) with my game made it very playful and full of laughs and I think that is one very important part of an arcade, having fun. In our case – being able to be a kid!

Because I feel this post is getting too long – check out Part II of this post as I’ll comment on some of my classmates’ games and reflect on the class (:

Build A Meal in the Making

The Education Arcade took place on Wednesday and it turned out GREAT! I didn’t have a chance to document my game before the arcade, but I’d still like to share the concept behind my arcade game and how I came to building “Build A Meal”.

Build A Meal

Almost everyone I know calls me a “health freak”. Nutrition is a topic in health that is very important to me. I try my hardest to practice what I preach when it comes to living a healthy young lifestyle. I’m a Health Education K-12 major so I guess it’s not so surprising that I chose to build an arcade game around the subject.

I tried to revolve Build A Meal around a famous game at Coney Island — I’m sorry I don’t know what the name is, but I have the concept of the game down: the player gets five balls which equals 5 chances to aim and throw them at pins – sort of like bowling pins. Depending on how they do, they get a choice of a stuffed animal as a prize. This is how I got to the set up of my own game.

Thinking of a game to use in the arcade was very difficult for me and for a while, I had no idea what I was going to come up with. There wasn’t much building to do for my game, but I’ll take you through the steps I took.

First, I collected water bottles. We go through many of them a day at my house so finding them to use for the game wasn’t hard at all. In the image above, you can see that the bottles are different shapes and certain food groups have more bottles than the others. This is because I based how many bottles to put for each food group on the minimum daily servings are recommended for that specific group based on The USDA Food Pyramid. So here’s the breakdown:

Grains – 6 bottles (minimum 6 servings recommended per day)

Meat, Fruit, Dairy – 2 bottles for each food group

Vegetables – 3 bottles

Use sparingly – 1 bottle

For a total of 16 bottles. I also used that category of fats and oils as a way of giving 1 ticket to the people who played my game and didn’t succeed at making a meal. A ticket just for the attempt at participating. (This is because you’re not supposed to have much of it at all so I wasn’t using it in making any of the meals).

On each bottle I put a label of a food that would be found in that food group. For this I just used memo sheets, a marker and tape. For example, for grains, I had cereal, pasta, quinoa and others.

The learning objective behind my game is to get students to be able to categorize which foods belong in each of the 5 food groups. The goal of the game is to make a meal. Participants had to stand behind a line and use a ring and toss it around the bottles where the label matched the food group I asked for. Here’s an example. Make a meal that consists of 1 grain, 1 meat and 2 vegetables. The player would get 6 tosses to get the ring around items that belonged in those food groups. Each one they got correct earned them a specific number of tickets.

At first, I thought my game was pretty easy, but during the arcade, some of my classmates were telling me that it was pretty hard. Another fault was the ring used in the game. I looked around everywhere trying to purchase a wide ring to make the game a bit easier, but I had no luck. Here I go thinking that it would be a popular kids item for playing. The ring I ended up bringing to the arcade was not wide enough so it was hard to get it around any bottle so, I had to improvise and make a new ring using arcade tickets rolled up into a circle with a little weight to it. I used about 50 tickets to make the ring for the game.

Although my game wasn’t so “techy” in the end, I think it made a great educational arcade game.

Let’s Spin Education

As a class, we got to travel to Chuck E. Cheese to explore the gaming world. Because it was my first time at the arcade, I took it upon myself to be a big kid first and play some games before I came to focus on the assignment.

You may have seen this game in some of our other classmates’ blogs. I chose Treasure Quest which was one of the games based on luck. The player will insert a token for a chance to spin. The goal of the game is to get the maximum number tickets possible. In this game, 100. With the help of the Professor’s counting technique, we came to figure out that there is only about a 1 in 50 chance of having the cursor land on the big prize. I played about 5-6 times and the most I got was 25 tickets. Hey! It’s better than 1.

It is hard to suggest possible mechanic and rule changes to such a simplistic game. This is something I had a hard time with because I didn’t want to suggest some of the same rules my classmates came up with. Instead, I wanted to bring something new to the table. Look forward to me editing my post! I will think of something, something good hopefully!

From Playing to Learning: Taking DS106 to the Classroom

For a little bit now, we’ve been toying and adventuring with digital storytelling.

DS106 plays a role in moving learning away from being teacher-centered. Being crafty with kids is something I’m great at. I’m around two little girls, my nieces, all the time so I always see them creating something new. Sometimes, I really wonder where they pull these ideas from. Something my niece Nylah had to do for homework recently gave me the perfect idea for a visual assignment.

Learning Objective: Students will be able to identify the different types of emotions.

What different types of emotions exist and which are some you may have seen around you lately?

For this assignment, the students will cut out pictures from magazines, with the help of a guardian, of different emotions and make a collage. Next to each picture, it is the student’s job to write what emotion they think the picture is illustrating.This focuses on the emotional aspect of health since I am majoring in Health Education K-12. I actually had the opportunity to help Nylah with this assignment and she was great at identifying the emotions. Not only that, but it was fun because of the craft component.

Although I don’t have a visual of this exact example, I have a photo of another assignment. This could be one modification to suit another topic.

A-Z Photo Collage

This assignment can help with two things. It can help children become more familiar with their alphabet and it could also introduce them to different types of foods that are good for them. For this assignment, I would ask the students, again with some help, to find foods, fruits, herbs or vegetables to represent each letter and put it together in a collage in alphabetical order.

My assignments will allow my kids to be creative and put their own twist into their artwork. The collage can represent some of their favorite things they like to eat. It is easy for them to make the assignment about them. As long as the assignment is being done and the objectives are being learned, I see no harm in having it be fun.

 

Leraning Objective: Students will be able to identify and explain some of the risk factors, dangers and negative consequences associated with poor dieting, and the consumption of drugs and alcohol.

I would make this an audio assignment where students will create a warning message. This assignment would target an audience like high school students where as the visual assignment would satisfy younger grade levels. I think this will make the lesson enjoyable and fun.

10a.m. – Digital Storytelling Time!

I chose the DS106 design assignment: The Ultimate Merger.

For this assignment create a logo in which you combine two famous logos.

I’m sure you can tell something is wrong with this photo, can you?

“Just Do It” is the short, snappy slogan for Nike. I decided to blend the Nike slogan to the Adidas brand logo. If you didn’t know, Adidas is one of Nike’s competitor brands as is Under Armour and Reebok.

I found completing this assignment extremely difficult and was ready to quit trying as I began to get so frustrated with not being able to merge the two brands on my own. I toyed with photo editing programs such as fotoflexer and pixlr, but still nothing. Finally with the help of Professor Smith, I was able to complete the task and get the image I desired. FINALLY! With this assignment I learned about the Pixlr program, not necessarily how to use it thought. This was actually my first time using the program and alone, it seemed so complex. With the help of the Professor, I slowly got the hand of things or at least tried to. I learned about layers in pictures as well as how to sharpen images. The sharpening tool helped the black coloring in the “Just Do It” logo blend in with the black of the Adidas logo design for a more legit look.

Well, because I had help completing my design assignment I don’t feel positive in accurately explaining the steps I took. It all went so fast. Actually, it could’ve been at a grasping pace, but the vocabulary was so foreign to me because I’ve never used an editing program before. I’ve never had reason to. I joked that I needed Pixlr for Dummies. My goal would be to explore Pixlr or other photo editing programs a bit more and attempt to create another merger picture to see if I grasped the idea of it from the help I got.

Hopefully, I do better this time around. Let’s see how this goes!

For the second part of the assignment, I decided to do a video assignment “Top 5 Moments of Sports”. Check out what I put together on my first attempt —

Although I thought the video assignment would be tougher than the first, I was actually wrong. It was tedious, but easier to complete on my own. I used a free program on my Mac, iMovie to put my first movie project together. In the program, I toyed with audio tool which gave my video some sass, hopefully. I chose to make this video about sports, in particular baseball, because I am a huge MLB junkie. That’s all I live for during the summer days. Also, even though I am a NYY (New York Yankees) fan, I tried not to be biased by including other team’s moments in the video.

This assignment taught me that I need to be more in touch with my computer editing and exploring side – seriously. Hope you guys enjoyed!

 

Rather Play a Game of Luck or Skill?

The Price is Right, one famous television game show, is widely recognized for it’s crazy ways to get contestants to compete for cash and prizes through the characteristics of luck and skill or a little bit of both.

Lucky $even

Five Core Design Elements:

Rules: The chosen contestant is given (7) $1 bills to play the game. All he or she needs is $1 to buy (win) the car. The first digit of the prize is shown and it is the contestant’s job to guess the remaining four digits that make up the price of the car. He or she will lose $1 for the difference between the value they guess and the actual digit.

For example: if you guess 7 and the actual number is 4, you lose $3.

The contestant wins the car if they have $1 or more left in their possession after all digits of the price of the car is played.

Core Mechanics: LUCK! No, but seriously — having the first digit of the price of the car revealed acts as a way to aid the contestant in having a greater chance of winning. The $7 the contestant is initially given to play and guessing with audience help are the other mechanics that help the game run smoothly.

Goal: Every contestant wants to come onto the game show and win. The goal of this game is to win the car by correctly guessing the remaining digits of the car and having at least $1 to spare in the end.

Space:

The Lucky $even board pictured above is where the contestant views, digit by digit, the price of the car. In the YouTube video of the actual game being played, you can see the board sliding to the right to uncover the actual digit after the contestants guess.

Components: This particular The Price is Right game has roughly four pieces to it. The player, the game board, the $7 to play and the car are all needed and equally important in carrying out this game of luck.

My pencil/paper mockup of Lucky $even

You could win a new black 2013 Acura TL. It comes equipped with:

3.5 – liter V-6 engine, automatic climate control, blue-tooth hands free link.

 

To make the game board, I folded a piece of paper into six equal parts so that there would be space for each digit in the price of the car with one column left over. I taped the board onto another piece of paper so that the contestant couldn’t see through the board to the value of the car. I used a clamp and whenever I needed to reveal the next digit in the price of the car, I would remove the clamp and unfold one column. I made the $7 out of paper and even made a paper money clip to give it a real feel of actual money.

Creating the pencil/paper mock up of The Price is Right game was really fun and at first, I thought it would be impossible to make with just the materials hanging around the classroom. As I saw everyone making it work, I felt good about my assignment and the remake of my game.

Group Work

In my class group, we decided to modify the mockup of The Price is Right’s Credit Card game that our classmate created.

My suggestion for the modification of the game was to make the prizes that the contestants were eligible to win blind instead of visible. This way, even if he or she had a great sense of knowledge on the prices of items, it wouldn’t help them here. My rule made the game more based around luck, but I believed more challenging as well because I felt being able to see each item was a bit too easy. This modification created more tension in the game which, in turn, means more excitement for the crowd.

 

Do You Care About The Classics?

My Audrey Watters’ tech savvy trend of 2012 is about two A’s: automation and artificial intelligence.

(If you have to look these words up, don’t be ashamed, I had to as well.)

Simply put, it speaks on the use of machines and information technologies to be the most productive regarding any certain service. These services can range from something as simple as brushing our teeth to driving and in an educational setting, teachers grading students work.

An example would be the pictured self-driving car or something a little less subtle like this here:

It seems like any little thing us humans can do to make the most of our 24 hours in a day, we’ll do. The technologies act as our cheat codes to save time during our daily routines. I could see why Automation and Artificial Intelligence were chosen as a Top Ed-Tech of 2012 because society has seemed to stray away from the ‘traditional’ way of doing things. It can be said that it began with something as little as replacing good ‘ol dish washing with an actual dish washing machine or skipping on plugging in the vacuum for Saturday morning chores and having the robot vacuum take care of the mess all on its own.

Even letting Siri text for us, make calls for us, put our appointments in our calendar for us and help us look for anything and everything just so we don’t have to use our ten little fingers are examples of how time has taken us from conventional to fancy.

In regards to efficiency and learning —

Why would we want to automate it? Why, for the sake of efficiency, of course. We have to scale. Process more students. We have to assess more content. Write more. Grade more. Test more. Cut costs. Etc.

Education may soon stray away from old fashioned paper, pencils and textbooks to laptops and smart boards. Pretty soon, we’ll start seriously questioning the purpose of a teacher in a classroom. Technology in education: is it really saving us time and money or is it in fact making us lazy and destroying us slowly. Some may favor one over the other and some can argue for both, but this will continue to be a debate. The question is who will win and if that answer is technology, what purpose would you and I serve?

 

‘thresh·old’ to the Future

Health, many people fail to realize, exists in a dynamic state. Like I mentioned in my earlier post 

I’m EXTREMELY passionate about the subject, BUT I’m not only pitching the typical diet and exercise speech you hear everywhere else in the world, INSTEAD overall well-being.

I decided to come into the Health Education field when I was a 17 year old Senior at Flushing High School sitting in my health class realizing that I was just a few months away from college and didn’t even know and understand the anatomy of my own body. I watched some students struggle with grasping information thrown to us in a quick 14 weeks. And while some students looked to know all this information Ms. S gave about sex, drugs and other topics, you would’ve thought I was the 40 year old virgin who favored simple living and was unaware of the true world that exists around her, but instead lived in a giant bubble.

This is when I used myself as an example and said the topic of health education, not just sexual education, should have presence in earlier age grades.

I went on a search for issues in Health Education and found great interesting blogs in the field of education by Julia Steiny

… a writer and education consultant who’s been working on kids’ issues for over 20 years.

Her blog post titled “Put Kids’ Mental Health at the Center of Education” sheds light on another dimension of health that society is not used to hearing about and one rarely associated with children, mental health.

— Kids’ mental health is at least as important as their physical health.

YESSS – I’m very much interested in Julia Steiny’s thoughts because as a future health educator, my plan is to move children and bring to parents’ attention that a healthy child and practicing living a healthy lifestyle is not just about how you eat and how fit you are. Though those are important, it also has to do with relationships children encounter all throughout growing as well as making sure their minds are healthy amongst the other dimensions. It seems to quickly be forgotten that kids can share the same feelings as an adult such as bad moods, insecurities and trouble fitting in. Steiny says,

… the mentally healthy are those people who feel able to identify their own needs and issues, and can negotiate for themselves civilly, within the context of a community.  Kids and adults alike must learn to take responsibility for their daily moods, feelings and the nasty messages they allow their heads to tell them. (Like: “I’m too weird to have friends.”) Those who can’t manage feelings on their own need to talk to a friend, a mom, a professional.

Society needs to stop using the terms “mental health” and “mental illness” interchangeably and begin putting effort into understanding children’s feelings, letting them talk and reassuring them you’ll always be right there working on it with them, together as a parent, a friend or as an educator. Each individual has their role in this and with each contributing their two cents and investing their time in these children, changes are almost undeniable.

So my wish for the new years is that we move mental health to the center of our concerns for kids.  Leaving it at the fringes is doing none of us any favors, but least of all the young people we’re supposed to protect.  Even if it’s only the sniffles, we attend to illness.  Why put up with so little attention to feelings?

All dimensions of health exist interdependently, where the physical component is just as important as the environmental one. A healthy being cannot exist without possessing characteristics of each. It is not until then that they are whole. Julia Steiny’s “Put Kids’ Mental Health at the Center of Education” and her writing in general motivates me to make health education a subject of relevance. In today’s society, it needs to be taken seriously because although it may be late for some of us and although we’ve missed out in ways,  our children should have a chance. Our children have a chance. I hope other educators and people of all kinds share my ideas so that we can save our children. They are the future and they should be whole, vibrant, healthy little kids.

This Shirt Needs Some Serious ‘Swag’

Colgate Women’s Games comes around once a year. For us track runners, this is the time of year to meet with nemeses on the track. Faced with the goal of running hard enough to make it to the finals at Madison Square Garden where the price is a killer track suit to show off, prize money to go towards our schooling and OF COURSE the most important, bragging rights.

As the runners prepare for the eventful weeks of warm-up, drills, cramps, sweat and even tears trust that those aren’t the only problems. Each runner is handed a shirt for the games. Unfortunately, it’s just a tee. Not sexy, not flattering for beastly track runners obsessed with their abs. Runners come prepared with scissors and creativity to make their shirt their own. Here’s how you put some swag in your shirt.

Here’s what you will need:

1. Any T-shirt (short or long sleeve)

2. A pair of scissors

3. A marker (optional)

First, lay shirt flat and cut off the sleeves one at a time.

Next grab your maker and draw a line from one side to the next to shorten the length of your shirt and cut it off like this:

After, make eight horizontal cuts to each side of the shirt.

Now cut each strip at the edge in half in order to be able to make the knots later on.

It’s time to tie the knots now. Your shirt should look like the image below after this step.

‘Swagging’ the neck is an optional step.

Pick up your marker. Outline the neck of the shirt and cut it to make it wider neck line.

One last snip on each side right under the armpits, tie your two knots and your shirt is ready to be worn and modeled.

 Swag-a-licious! Now you try it!