Tag Archives: Gaming

Education Work

Virtual reality gaming a hit in gym class for ‘problem’ children

Kids with behavioral problems may do better in school when they get to play virtual-reality games on stationary bikes instead of participating in traditional gym class activities, a small study suggests. It has been proven on many students and they even have small competitions between each other to make it more exciting. For example, whoever won during the game, they would win the best gaming mouse pad at the end or other prizes.

At a school for kids with behavior disorders, researchers offered 103 students seven weeks of so-called “cybercycling” during either the fall or spring semester.

Cybercycling involves the use of stationary bikes for vigorous rides. The students started out cycling for just 10 minutes and worked their way up to more than 20 minutes over the course of the program.

When students didn’t participate in the twice-weekly games on stationary bikes, they had traditional physical education with a focus on team sports, socialization and building motor skills.

When kids did cybercycling, they were 32 to 51 percent less likely to exhibit poor self-control or receive disciplinary time out of class, the study found.

Improvements were most pronounced on days the kids had gym but persisted throughout the seven-week intervention.

“Many studies have shown that aerobic exercise can help improve mood and behavior,” said lead study author April Bowling, a public health researcher at Harvard University in Boston.

“When mood and self-regulation, which is the ability to control behavior, is improved, then children can be more successful in the classroom,” Bowling added by email.

While the study didn’t examine how or why different approaches to gym class might produce different behavior in school, it’s possible the more intense aerobic activity offered by cybercycling produced better behavior and helped improve classroom dynamics throughout the week, Bowling said.

Most of the students were boys, about 12 years old on average.

About 40 percent of the students were diagnosed with autism, 60 percent were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, 40 percent had anxiety disorders and 30 percent had mood disorders.

Both the number of disciplinary events and the amount of time missed from class due to behavior issues declined meaningfully during weeks kids participated in the cybercycling program, researchers report in Pediatrics.

Beyond its small size and limited number of female participants, another limitation of the study is that results from these students at a therapeutic day school may not apply to kids at traditional public schools, the authors note.

“It is important to see if their results translate into public schools, but as the authors point out, cybercycles are expensive and may be (too expensive) for most schools,” said Sara Benjamin Neelon, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study.

It’s also possible that the novelty of these particular stationary bikes, which many students wouldn’t have tried before, might inspire them to be more active than they would be during gym class games they played many times before, Benjamin Neelon said by email.

“There may be some benefit in this new approach to physical activity that could wear off over time as children get used to the cycling – but only time will tell,” she added.

Still, the findings suggest that parents looking to help children manage behavior problems may want to consider working brief bouts of intense exercise into kids’ normal routines, Bowling said.

“They should not feel overwhelmed by the expectation that their child can only benefit if they exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, something that is very hard for many of these children and their parents to achieve,” Bowling added. “Instead, focus on finding something that your child enjoys and starting off with 10 or 15 minutes at a time; walking the dog, hiking with you, playing active video games, whatever it might be.”

Read More
Education Work

Virtual reality gaming a hit in gym class for 'problem' children

Kids with behavioral problems may do better in school when they get to play virtual-reality games on stationary bikes instead of participating in traditional gym class activities, a small study suggests. It has been proven on many students and they even have small competitions between each other to make it more exciting. For example, whoever won during the game, they would win the best gaming mouse pad at the end or other prizes.
At a school for kids with behavior disorders, researchers offered 103 students seven weeks of so-called “cybercycling” during either the fall or spring semester.
Cybercycling involves the use of stationary bikes for vigorous rides. The students started out cycling for just 10 minutes and worked their way up to more than 20 minutes over the course of the program.
When students didn’t participate in the twice-weekly games on stationary bikes, they had traditional physical education with a focus on team sports, socialization and building motor skills.
When kids did cybercycling, they were 32 to 51 percent less likely to exhibit poor self-control or receive disciplinary time out of class, the study found.
Improvements were most pronounced on days the kids had gym but persisted throughout the seven-week intervention.
“Many studies have shown that aerobic exercise can help improve mood and behavior,” said lead study author April Bowling, a public health researcher at Harvard University in Boston.
“When mood and self-regulation, which is the ability to control behavior, is improved, then children can be more successful in the classroom,” Bowling added by email.
While the study didn’t examine how or why different approaches to gym class might produce different behavior in school, it’s possible the more intense aerobic activity offered by cybercycling produced better behavior and helped improve classroom dynamics throughout the week, Bowling said.
Most of the students were boys, about 12 years old on average.
About 40 percent of the students were diagnosed with autism, 60 percent were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, 40 percent had anxiety disorders and 30 percent had mood disorders.
Both the number of disciplinary events and the amount of time missed from class due to behavior issues declined meaningfully during weeks kids participated in the cybercycling program, researchers report in Pediatrics.
Beyond its small size and limited number of female participants, another limitation of the study is that results from these students at a therapeutic day school may not apply to kids at traditional public schools, the authors note.
“It is important to see if their results translate into public schools, but as the authors point out, cybercycles are expensive and may be (too expensive) for most schools,” said Sara Benjamin Neelon, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study.
It’s also possible that the novelty of these particular stationary bikes, which many students wouldn’t have tried before, might inspire them to be more active than they would be during gym class games they played many times before, Benjamin Neelon said by email.
“There may be some benefit in this new approach to physical activity that could wear off over time as children get used to the cycling – but only time will tell,” she added.
Still, the findings suggest that parents looking to help children manage behavior problems may want to consider working brief bouts of intense exercise into kids’ normal routines, Bowling said.
“They should not feel overwhelmed by the expectation that their child can only benefit if they exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, something that is very hard for many of these children and their parents to achieve,” Bowling added. “Instead, focus on finding something that your child enjoys and starting off with 10 or 15 minutes at a time; walking the dog, hiking with you, playing active video games, whatever it might be.”

Read More
Education Work

How kids can play Pac-Man with living microbes

Playing classic video games like Pac-Man with living single-celled microbes thinner than a human hair is now possible thanks to an interactive microscope developed by bioengineers at Stanford University.

After several prototypes, the researchers released blueprints earlier this month for a “LudusScope” in the international scientific journal PLOS ONE, offering kids of all ages a playful window into the world of microbiology.

“It’s a microscope that you can 3D print and build yourself,” Ingmar Riedel-Kruse, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, told Reuters.

After it is assembled, tiny, light-responsive organisms called Euglena swim on a microscope slide surrounded by four LED lights. The lights are controlled by a joystick, allowing users to control the direction in which the microbes move.

“You turn microscopy from something that is purely observational into something that is interactive,” Riedel-Kruse said.

The final component is a smartphone that attaches to the eyepiece of the device, transforming it from a simple interactive microscope into a rudimentary gaming platform and research tool.

The scientists at the Palo Alto-based university have developed software programs that overlay on top of the image of cells. By selecting specific cells, users can influence their movement and guide them through a maze that resembles the 1980s video game Pac-Man. Kids can also play soccer by steering their microbes through goal posts.

The games, according to Riedel-Kruse, evolve into basic research.

“You can select a cell, track it and collect data about it that you can then analyze and discuss,” Riedel-Kruse said. “You can really do simple research in educational settings.”

Using the plans publicly published, anyone can build a LudusScope now, but Riedel-Kruse said assembly is complex.

He plans to use recently awarded grant money to further develop the microscope into a ready-to-use science kit that he hopes will be commercially available in 2018.

Read More
Education

How developing integrity helped gaming experiences …

‘Did anyone in your group volunteer when he asked who has a life changing story to share?’
My sons’ are discussing today’s guest speaker. Their school regularly invites people to challenge then inspire a hall packed with row upon row of teenage boys. These speakers are frequently survivors of horrendous life experiences.  They talk of their liberation from bullying, physical disability, of overcoming life expectations.   Stories imbued with strategies for their audience. ‘They speak to remind themselves what to do,’ observed one son.
But it was this speaker’s question of the audience rather than his particular story that led tonight’s discussion.  My son is momentarily reflective.  ‘I should have talked about that boy in year 4, at my old school. That was a life changer for me.’
I know that story: boy bullied for, well sadly a familiar list – size, cultural background, ease with which his classmates could rile him; my son’s furious outrage and refusal to remain silent; the subsequent public shaming of victim, bullies, my son, at a special school assembly. What, if indeed anything, this assembly achieved though was not being debated tonight.
‘I should have said the behaviour of my friends.’ Even now, 4 years later I watch his jaw set, his hands clench. He’s still incredulous. These boys were his friends; they played soccer and handball at lunchtime. They would whenever possible meet on a Minecraft server at home.  But why was it a life changer?
‘You think you know your friends and you don’t,’ he said. ‘Yeah they’re cowards,’ big brother lobs in unhelpfully. ‘They’re griefers. You know that. I don’t know why you’re still friends with them.  Son number two grimaces, ‘I tell them not to now. I won’t game with them if they don’t stop!’
There it is: his life changer in action. I’d call it integrity.  But how did this occur? That’s the real question. What happened that gave son number two the confidence to confront his friends, survive their reply – kicking, knocking him to the ground and jumping on his head, verbal abuse – and then confront his school?
‘I couldn’t watch my friends physically hurt another kid.’ He pondered. Such daily behavior was still inexplicable.  ‘I realized that if my friends could humiliate a classmate, then anyone could be a bully. I couldn’t be a silent witness.’
‘You have to speak up,’ he said. ‘It’s not always easy to do.’ He’s right. Anyone can be a bully, or victim, or passive bystander.  Most of us, if we’re truly reflective, have experienced some form of bullying behavior. It’s what we do next that determines the impact on our lives and our relationships.  And what we do is inextricably twined with our individual self-efficacy and morals.       
Tonight’s dinner conversation, exquisitely unscripted, was a glimpse into two teenagers burgeoning understanding of community. My sons’ were analyzing and reflecting on where todays motivational speakers experience slotted into their schema. Now they were the ones discussing manipulation and abuse of peers; school rules, regulations, what their mates did.  But more than this – I was watching them calibrate their moral codes. They were evaluating how to be part of their social networks: peers, school, community, as empathetic citizens, with integrity.
There had been no evidence of such reflection barely 40 minutes earlier.  Table thumping, shouting and very loud noises had emanated from the sitting room. Teenagers playing the latest https://www.boomtownbingo.com/, permitted online first-person shooter game. They argue this game requires cooperative team work, strategy and tactics. I see an inability to disconnect.  I challenge them.  Just stop gaming. Maybe my timing is poor. It used to work. Don’t worry they say – it’s just a game.
Now they explain, patiently. There are systems in place, but you can manipulate the rules to achieve your goal. You can get banned from the server, but given this is basically a first-person shooter game, there is greater tolerance of behavior. It’s different to school. Son number two elaborates – primary students rely on their school community to protect and teach them. Online gaming does not have that protection. Neither do all schools, observes son number one.   But irrespective of domain, navigation and success takes more than being told what to do.
My sons argue that the depth of learning required for any particular gaming prowess is no different to the complex thinking skills required to critically evaluate one of their novels.
Online gaming involves connecting too, socializing within a community albeit a specific microcosm, it is important to make sure you are up to date with all the new consoles and monitors, my son recently read about the VE278H monitor and he is actually about to do a review on it. Gaming, in its many and developing guises is one of the myriad of ways we interact with each other.
But who grabs that teaching moment during online games? Experiencing internal conflict between social order, rules, and savagery is part of childhood – our children increasingly do so online rather than on the streets or with a close reading of Golding’s Lord of the Flies.  It’s new for us. You know though, we have to grab that moment – that thought and discuss it without dictating – we need to learn to negotiate online worlds too.
But perhaps after the game has finished.

Read More
Education

How To Use Gaming To Make Students Earn Technology at School

Not long ago I wrote a post concerning a new plan for managing when and how students access technology. This plan is based-on a boarding school model, where year 6-10 go home on the weekends, while the older students stay for the duration, or until a school holiday. The original article is posted here. The basic premise is that students do not get to use the school network or BYOD until they complete certain tasks. They must earn enough points to gain technology independence outside of ICT class. Without wasting time, here is the scoring plan.
Years 6-9  Scoring Plan
I have made this list compact. There are details for the faculty and staff to explain how the verify something has been done. We have created a “passport” that goes inside each student’s homework diary. I personally think we should track this on a game type platform that shows scores every hour on the TVs around the campus. That is my next mission.
Mandatory for all Students
Points Available 20

  • Review Acceptable Use Policy
  • Activate Email
  • BYOD Device is Labeled
  • BYOD Device Registration Complete
  • No Windows OS on BYOD Device
  • Library Clearance
  • Positive Effort Grade Report with Housemaster Approval (End of Week 2)

Please Note: Students can only get 0 or 20, they cannot simply do a percentage. This is all or nothing.
Community Activities – Three out of Four are Required.
Points Available: 20

  • Join a club.
  • Join a sport.
  • Clean Up the Cafeteria – Team of 4 or more required.
  • Learn the names of All the teachers in your house.

Please Note: Students can only get 0 or 20, they cannot simply do percentage. They actually only have two choices because joining a sport and club are required. However, this incentivises them getting involved and choosing their sports and clubs within the first or second week of school instead of procrastinating.
TechPointMatrix – Students may choose a combination of activities in order to reach the required point total.
Points Required: 60
Green = 5 Points
Blue = 10 Points
Orange = 20 Points
Red = 40 Points

  • Help a student in class learn something new.
  • Help a student in the dorm.
  • Help a teacher with a lesson.
  • Help a teacher learn a new tech skill with iMovie, Excel, or PowerPoint.
  • Help a teacher with their duty.
  • Submit a new website students can use without VPN.
  • Recommend an App for Year 6 iPad students.
  • Use your Discovery United Streaming account.
  • Recommend free software for students.
  • Teach a teacher a useful Apple laptop shortcut.
  • Write a school song (lyrics only).
  • Be on-time for first period for 10 consecutive school days.
  • Fix something that is broken, for someone else.
  • Show a math teacher how to use the protractor in the Promethean software.
  • Share your iPad screen to your teacher’s laptop using AirServer.
  • Write a poem/haiku and have it placed on the TV system.
  • From the free throw line, hit 5 shots in a row.
  • From the three point line, hit 3 shots in a row.
  • Draw one of your teachers, and convince them to hang it in their classroom.
  • Create a hashtable of comic book information or movie data. All code will be checked for originality.
  • With your Parents, update your emergency contact information on PowerSchool.
  • Help the IT Team do Inventory.
  • Help the PE Department do Inventory.
  • Volunteer in the library for 2 periods.
  • Make a presentation or video on cyber bullying – 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Make a presentation or video on MLA formatting- 2 minutes or longer.
  • Learn the full name of every person (Student and Teacher) on your floor.
  • Receive a clean dorm room report for 3 consecutive weeks.
  • Draw and decorate the glass outside the fourth floor IT Office.
  • Create a tech support team to help other students.
  • Write a school song (music and lyric). Teams of 2-4 are allowed.
  • Learn the full name of every person (Student and Teacher) in your House. Then demonstrate it to the whole house.
  • Without spending any money, find a better way to recycle PET bottles, and implement it.
  • Without spending any money, start a new sport and get approval from PE to do it during season 2 or 3.
  • Choose an international charity, approved in China, and gain approval for a partnership.

Please keep in mind all of these points need to be completed by a certain time for each grade level. Grade 9 only has about 3-4 weeks. After that, their teachers will actually assign work that requires their BYOD device. I was going to make this a 20 point game, however, I know that students will be clever and find loopholes. I am hoping some year 6 student is able to get all 100 points by the beginning of week 2. It would be great to have some students with their BYOD privileges weeks ahead of their curriculum schedule.
Curriculum Schedule
A timeline has been created based-on various curriculum requirements. Year 6-8 use the Shanghai+ curriculum. The only technology required is delivered in their ICT courses. Everything else is outside of their curriculum. These students will be expected to do additional technology work after week 4.
Year 9 will be expected to be online between weeks 4-5 with their BYOD devices.
The year 10-11 students also have mandatory tasks they must complete. However, they do not have the TechPointMatrix. Their requirements will be achieved during the first 2 weeks of school. Because they are doing IGCSE and IB, we cannot delay access to resources.
The older students have a check list that makes sure their BYOD devices are compliant, their required software is setup, and they have reviewed the acceptable use policy and academic honestly policy with a teacher.
Final Thoughts
This could be a huge waste of time. I can see the end of it though, and I believe it will be a good experience for everyone. I like that it involves the teachers and students in something connected to technology, but the process itself, does not require technology.
The matrix is differentiated enough, and students can get all their points doing the easy 5 point items. Students who have been working on big projects in the past (such as recycling) can start with those and get big points up front.
Game On. 
 
More from Tony DePrato here.
 
Photo: Unsplash
 

Read More