Source
Administrator Magazine
Scholastic Administrator is a must-read resource for 240,000 of today's results-driven school leaders. Every issue features leadership for education executives, insight and analysis into what's next in education, and reporting on cutting-edge technologies in real life applications.

Right Motivation

Games can be great for learning, but watch the rewards.

Video games are an integral part of a gamified classroom. There are several top education-oriented games, including Refraction, a free online puzzle that is not obviously a lesson in fractions. Refraction lets teachers watch students’ progress on their computers to see what concepts the students understand, according to the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington, which produced the game.

Scratch is a programming language that gives users the ability to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art—and share their work on the Web. It was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. Director Mitchel Resnick says he is “a strong supporter of creating environments that would be appealing for kids, and strongly supportive of the trend to find ways to help kids become deeply engaged and learn in the process.” However, Resnick is not a proponent of gamification in the classroom, saying he views it as placing too much emphasis on incentives and rewards in support of the learning process. “Learning should not be turned into a game,” he maintains. Research has shown that emphasizing short-term, intrinsic rewards that are separate from core learning motivates kids to focus only on the reward rather than the ideas themselves, Resnick says.

“Giving prizes means … oftentimes they won’t get motivated to learn on their own. It doesn’t develop their curiosity and thirst for becoming lifelong learners, and I think that’s more important than anything else in school.”

Kids get motivated by sharing their work with one another, Resnick says. “We don’t give rewards because we think that would be counterproductive. We focus on kids having playful engagement and being deeply engaged, but as an active participant by sharing their work and getting feedback from others.”

Initially, Scratch was used primarily by young people at home and in after-school centers. Now, it is used more ­frequently in schools. One of Resnick’s grad students started a site called ScratchEd, for educators, and more than 5,000 educators have registered for it (scratched.media.mit.edu). The lab was surprised to learn that Scratch is also used in the introductory computer science programs at Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Rutgers, among other universities. But Resnick expects it’s because Scratch “provides a very clear way of understanding core concepts of computer science.” While other institutions and companies are making games and apps that help kids learn, the Media Lab designs tools for kids to make their own games, stories, and animation. “We think the richest part of the learning experience is when you’re doing the creating,” Resnick says.

—Winter 2013—

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Gravity!

    You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Gravity!

    by Anne Rooney

    You donít really get a choice about gravity. If you live on Earth, youíre going to have to live with it. If you become an astronaut, you might get to escape from gravity for a while, but it will be waiting for you when you get home. But gravity does a lot of useful things - such as keeping us on the Earth and holding the entire universe together! Learn how gravity was discovered and why it helps us to understand everything from how toothpaste comes out of the tube to the movements of the planets.

    $21.75 You save: 25%
    Library Binding | Grades 3-12
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Gravity!
    Grades 3-12 $21.75
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Software Development: Science, Technology, Engineering

    Software Development: Science, Technology, Engineering

    by Wil Mara

    From the simple applications that people use every day to specialized professional software, all computer programs are the result of hard work and creativity. Readers will find out how the members of a software development team work together to create todayís top programs. They will also learn how the earliest computer software was created, where the field is headed in the future, and much more.

    $22.50 You save: 25%
    Library Binding | Grades 5-8
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Software Development: Science, Technology, Engineering
    Grades 5-8 $22.50
    Add To Cart
Help | Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR NAME

* YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

* RECIPIENT'S EMAIL ADDRESS(ES)

(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.

INCLUDE A PERSONAL MESSAGE (Optional)


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.