Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mining the Web Project - Gamification in the Classroom RWLD

Mining the Web
Executive Summary

Facilitators and Important Dates:

  1. Facilitators:
    1. Jeremy Cooper Email:
    2. Ian Hubrig Email:

  1. Important Dates:
    1. Introduction of Mining the Web Activities:  Wednesday, February 26th
    2. Initial Voicethread Discussion Post:   Due Sunday, February 29th
     c.   Blackboard Discussion Participation and Blog:  Due Tuesday, March 4th
Background and Introduction:

Gamification is the notion of applying aspects of gaming to life and classroom learning.  It relies on extrinsic and intrinsic motivators to encourage participants to engage in a type of discovery learning.  Gamification can use rewards and badges, provide multiple points of engagement, and provide a digital social atmosphere.   
Through this Mining the Web activity, you are going to have the opportunity to learn about several key elements of how to add gamification elements to various subject areas, reflect upon your learning in various formats, and actually participate in a couple of different gamified learning experiences.  Each of these activities will require you to reflect upon your experiences using provided links, discussion boards, and blogging tools within either Voicethread or Blackboard.

Prepare for the Activities:

  1. Create a free account for Voicethread, Duolingo, and Codecademy.
  2. Watch the following Ted Talks video called, “7 Ways Games Reward the Brain.”
    1. After watching the video, go to Voicethread and record a short summary of what you learned in the Ted Talks video, and any reactions you had to the speaker.
  3. Read the following articles and respond to the corresponding Blackboard Discussion Link.
      1. Blackboard Discussion - Go to the Distance Education "Mining the Web Project Folder" and find the forum discussion called "Mining the Web: Gamification Discussion"
  4. Works Cited:

Brunsell, E., & Horejsi, M. (2013). Designing Your Course Like a Video Game. Science
            Teacher, 80(7), 8.

Gamification Activities (Site Exploration):
  1. Go to Duolingo and choose a language to learn during this activity.  You are to either work through Level 1 of your selected language, or participate in the activity for a total of 30 minutes.
    1. As you progress you will be awarded various achievements while working at your own pace with your selected language.
    2. While progressing through the first level of your selected language, you will have four hearts.  If you make a critical error during your activities, you will lose one heart.  If you run out of hearts during your Level 1 activities, you will have to start the level over again.

  1. Go to Codecademy and begin working through the HTML and CSS coding lessons using the given instructions.  You are being asked to participate and progress as far as you can in a single 20 minute session.
    1. As you progress you will be awarded various badges while working at your own pace through the coding lessons.  These badges will document your progress through the coding lessons.

Gamification Post Activity Discussion:

  1. Duolingo Activity
    1. Using the provided Blackboard Blog link, blog about your progress through the Duolingo Activity.  Blog discussion can include, but is not limited to; your progress through the lesson, how gamification is being used in this activity to promote or engage the learner, and any successes or challenges you faced while completing this activity.

  1. Codecademy Activity
    1. Using the provided Blackboard Blog link, blog about your progress through the Codecademy Activity.  Blog discussion can include, but is not limited to; your progress through the lesson, how gamification is being used in this activity to promote or engage the learner, and any successes or challenges you faced while completing this activity.

Blackboard Blog Link for Duolingo and Codecademy: Go to the Mining the Web Project Folder and post your blog entry in the Gamification Blog.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Internet Search Activity

Hello Everyone,

Below I am going to be completing the requirements for my "Internet Search Activity" for the Distance Education course.  We have been asked to compare two different search engines who are in the top 10 most used, that aren't Google.  I have chosen to compare the results of "Duck Duck Go" (6th Place) and "Scrub the Web" (7th Place).  I decided to use the search term "Gamification" because it is a subject that I'm very interested in my Masters program.  Below I have documented my search process.

Duck Duck Go
A very simple website design.

I searched the term "Gamification" and below you can see the top results of my query.

Scrub the Web

I searched the same term, "Gamification," just like in my previous search using Duck Duck Go.
Apparently I have to prove that I'm not a robot to search a term.

Analysis of Search
After completing my search using both "Duck Duck Go" and "Scrub the Web" I ended up with completely different results from both search engines.  I also felt that the user experience was completely different while using the two search engines and I can see why Google utilizes the technologies that it does in sorting out search results.

Duck Duck Go was a very easy to use website where it was completely obvious where I was supposed to place my search terms.  The search results popped up very quickly with no lag time.  The top 10 results were from different webpages, which included; various wikis, organization sites, companies, and news articles.  The other interesting element is that the search results were on an infinite scroll list, meaning that as I scrolled down, more and more results appeared without having to click anything.

Scrub the Web was a completely different user experience for me and I didn't end up with very good search results, in my own opinion of course.  I will be honest in that it was my first time using the search engine and I had to look around the webpage for about a minute or so before I even realized where to place my search term.  There was so much stuff on the main page that I felt like I was being distracted by news updates, poor layout, member sign ins, and site searches.  The other aggravating element of this search was that I had to prove that I wasn't a robot by typing a random set of letters and numbers.  I'm not and never have been a fan of this method of user authentication.  My results, the important part of all of this, were very interesting.  I did not end up with a single carry over from the top 10 list that Duck Duck Go generated.  The other element that was interesting was that 3/10 results came from the same website and were just different pages on that webpage.  To me, this did not give the kind of results I would be looking for when beginning a search.

Out of the two search engines, I would maybe return to Duck Duck Go in the future, however I could not see myself returning to Scrub the Web.  Again, all of this is in my own opinion and experience and neither gave me results that would change my behavior right now in using Google for my searches.

Boolean Search
What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning environments?

University that provides an answer to the above question:  University of Northern Iowa - Rod Library

Non-scholarly website that provides an answer to the above question:  Mindflash

I found that using the Boolean method of searching, provided me with better search results.  Better yet, using a peer reviewed article/book/resource search engine such as UNISTAR gave me peer reviewed results.  This is something that I will try to engrain into my behavior when I use various search engines in the future.

Thank you for reading my blog post, let me hear your feedback in my comments!

Jeremy Cooper

Murat, O., Daniel, Z., Clare, B., & Jim, H. (n.d). Exploring asynchronous and synchronous tool use in online courses. Computers & Education, 6087-94. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.08.007