Presentation and Game Technologies

The past two weeks we’ve explored the benefits and underlying theories of presentation/content delivery technologies and games.

Presentation and Content Delivery, Otherwise Known as Digital Storytelling…

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of Stephanie Samios, via

One key to effective presentations is telling a story. Stories are familiar and accessible to everyone, and connect with the audience’s emotions (Jamison, 2014). Digital stories enhance spoken/written text with multimedia, making them engaging and a good fit for classrooms, where there is a wide range of learning strengths and preferences (Frazel, 2010). Digital storytelling can be motivating and engaging, because students already telling own stories with web 2.0. The images at left give a sample of the multitude of digital tools available for presentations. This medium also motivates reluctant and struggling readers and writers (Morgan, 2014). However, a presentation, no matter how beautifully done, may not be the best method for delivering your content. A more interactive approach may be more appropriate. Teachers need to consider the standards, curricular goals, and their students before deciding on a presentation or lecture-style activity. This video gives an overview of the development of a music-learning game website, and is a good example of games being used to meet particular curricular goals (in this case, for music teachers).

A popular online game that is making headway in the classroom.


The same caution holds true for game technology – before diving in and creating/buying/using games as a teaching tool, give serious considerations to other Minecraft is a popular online game that teachers are more often including in the classroom.methods (Kapp, 2014). Games offer many benefits for teaching and learning, and align well with project- and problem-based learning (Sorenson et al., 2011). Games that are well aligned with curriculum offer students all the benefits of play: action, challenge, reification (cycle of creating, producing, and experimenting), socialization, achievement, self-interpretation, and pleasure (fun!) (Sorenson et al., 2011). Any time we teachers can make learning more fun, our students benefit. Games also bring a sense of agency, even to students who don’t consider themselves gamers. By watching their peers, trying out their actions, failing, and adjusting their technique, students gain a sense of achievement, agency, and competence (Sorenson et al., 2011; Kiang, 2014).

My Observations and Questions…

The biggest obstacle I ran into this time was the various system limitations and lack of tech support for game development programs, specifically Quandry2. It is a nifty little maze creator – think Choose Your Own Adventure – but it only works on Windows. The final product is exported as an .htm, so PCs or Macs can play the maze, but only Windows PCs can create the mazes – a real bummer for my all-Mac school.

Game development programs take time to learn – something teachers have little of to being with. How do we balance the desire to make entertaining, interactive games aligned with our curriculum with the time we spend on collecting and analyzing data, planning, and going to meetings?

The take home…

  • You don’t need to play games to have game dynamics (Kiang, 2014)! Therefore, I can (and should, according to my older students) include more game elements in my intervention groups. We us Class Dojo as a behavioral tracker, and the kids love seeing the “+1” pop up with their avatar.
  • I can incorporate digital storytelling beyond presenting information to my groups. The students themselves can create a short presentation, using any of the tools in the images above, to show off their learning.
  • It is ok to have lectures! Sometimes a presentation to fill in gaps in background knowledge or give learners an overview of what is coming is the best thing to do. Just keep it short!


Frazel, M. (2010). Digital storytelling guide for educators. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Jamison, J. (2014). EDU625 unit 4 presentation [Prezi]. Retrieved from

Kapp, K. (2014). 10 Best practices for implementing gamification. Retrieved from

Kiang, D. (2014) Using gaming principals to engage students. Retrieved from

Morgan, H. (2014). Using digital story projects to help students improve reading and writing. Reading Improvement, 51(1), 20-26.

Myers, S. (2012, March 22). TEDxTokyoTeachers – Steve Myers – Music games in the classroom [Video file]. Retrieved from

Sørensen, B. H., Meyer, B., & Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S. (2011). Serious games in education : A global perspective. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.


Social Media, Gathering Community Data, & Global Data

Welcome to EDU 625 Integrating Learning and Technology! During the first three weeks of class, I’ve started to incorporate what I’ve learned about design, learning theories, and various technologies into real-life applications.

What have we focused on these first three weeks?

Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Instagram, YouTube, etc. offer several affordances to teachers. Students use social media in their lives already, incorporating it into school helps us meet students where they are. Perhaps one of the most valuable strengths of social media is that it helps make learning social. Students have real audiences for their work (Edutopia, 2012). Social media allows students to explore and define their self-identities and communicate with each other using these identities (Hinton et al., 2013). Unfortunately, privacy and security remain issues with school use of social media. This problem is even greater for elementary school teachers, since our students are too young to legally use many of these networks. The classroom in this video is a great example of social media in action in an elementary school classroom.

Gathering and Analyzing Data from Your Community – Surveys need to be carefully crafted in order to be successful. By analyzing the goals, population, and desired data, a survey author can craft solid objectives, write appropriate questions, and pick the best sampling method to minimize error (Phillips et al., 2013). Numerous web-based tools can help in the administration of surveys and the presentation of results. Don’t limit yourself to charts and graphs – mind maps are a great tool to visually display and organize your data (Petro Jr., 2010).

Global Data Resources – Involving students in gathering, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting data from the vast array of global resources can make learning more authentic and meaningful. These resources are not limited to numerical data, like the NOAA. The National Archives website houses historical documents and videos teachers can use in social studies or literacy lessons. However, students should be aware that not all data is credible – the author may be biased or the information may be out dated. A colleague pointed me in the direction of this resource – a good outline for students to follow when judging the reliability of a website.

So, how was it? What did I find out?

Live, real-time data sources and social media are awesome tools – for high schoolers and college students. I have a lot of adapting to do in order to make these technologies accessible and appropriate for my kiddos. Even the list for checking the reliability of a website needs to be rewritten for younger readers. Not only am I an elementary teacher, but I work with kids below grade level. I’ve asked my classmates each week for their favorite resources for younger kids, and I’d like to ask you the same thing. What social media/survey/data gathering tools do you use with elementary age kids? I have spent some time with Fakebook and FakeTweet, and love them! I’m looking forward to incorporating them into my groups this coming year. Both are available on










The Take-home

I still think of social media in my class as a way to share work and thinking, not as a collaboration tool. Intervention is such an individual effort, even with discussions and co-created anchor charts, final written responses are all on your own. Is there room for more collaboration? Could this help my kiddos grow?

Data gathering and global data lend themselves much better to a classroom setting with a math or an interdisciplinary curriculum. Yet, so much of the material we read in intervention is informational, perhaps there is a way to incorporate real-time or live data resources. Quite often an informational text will feature a graph or chart, and the students will discuss its meaning. Perhaps an online data source could complement (replace?) the texts we use.

Edutopia. (2012, December 12). An introduction to technology integration [Video file]. Retrieved from

Hinton, S. & HJorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications, Ltd.

Phillips, P. P., Aaron, B. C., & Phillips, J. J. (2013). Survey Basics. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

Petro Jr., N. (2010). Hate taking notes? Try mind mapping. Gpsolo, 27(4), 20-23.