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Vice Principal of Lightcliffe Academy in Yorkshire. Some time blogger, all time thinker. Father, husband, cyclist, geek & Evertonian.

Daniel Stucke

#LWF11 Dawn Hallybone - Games Based Learning in Primary

2 min read

Disclaimer: I would consider Dawn a friend, thanks to many interactions via Twitter & Teachmeets etc even though we've only met a handful of times..  I won't go into great detail about the work she has done as her blog has details of it allLWF Bio.

Dawn discussed using Nintendo DS & Wii with the pupils are so engaged in their learning that Dawn doesn't really need to be greatly involved for large parts of the lessons.  Writing and learning underpins the gaming experience.

Sharing via Twitter and Teachmeet have been great inspirations for Dawn.  Redbridge game network has allowed them to share their knowledge and their resources.

They have developed great cross-currciular learning projects, with games based learning as a small inspirational part of it.  Kids enjoy their 'secret learning'

Dawn's school and the Redbridge network have began to look at evidence.  There are clear signs that Maths & English are improving, very clear signs that engagement, attendance and punctuality are improved considerably.

Again this is an example of fantastic innovation in Primary classrooms, this innovation needs to spread into the Secondary classroom.  How can we do this?  Costs are higher and timetables don't make things easy.  I think we need strong leaders who can remove these traditional constraints.  And again, as Dawn said it;s about sharing the good practice that has gone one already.  Borrowing the great work that has happened via the Consolarium in Scotland that Derek Robertson spoke about earlier.  One school in the research group is Secondary.

Inspirational as ever - well done Dawn!

Daniel Stucke

School Rewards 2.0?

6 min read

All schools I have been to have a rewards system in place, the yin, to the sanctions system's yang. I think it's about time school rewards were dragged into the 21st Century, and I have a few thoughts...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="341" caption="Yin & Yang"]Yin & Yang[/caption]

My current school is doing what most schools do every few years and discussing how we deal with behaviour: good and bad. The focus, as usual, has been mainly on the bad and associated sanctions rather than the good and their rewards. We currently use Capita's SIMS as our information management system, within this is a behaviour module. Through this we can assign good and bad points to students. We call the good points 'merits'. At present these count for little, a certificate at the end of the year if the pupils are lucky. Although not valued by many pupils, many will still strive to earn these merits, despite the fact they rarely even see the total they have earned. This has always puzzled me, I guess these merits also represent my approval of pupils, and this in itself is enough for some pupils. But still, I felt I was missing something.

I have been reading 'Everything Bad is Good for You' by Steven Johnson. In the book Steven goes about explaining why much of popular culture, so often derided as increasingly vacuous, is in fact good for us, particularly the complex mental challenges it demands.

When discussing computer games, Steven looks at the seemingly dull, repetitive tasks we often complete within them and wonders why we bother at all. Steven puts the case that games tap into the brain's natural reward circuitry. The small rewards that usually make up each step of a game, stimulating a dopamine response in the brain.

Image representing Moshi Monsters as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

This got me thinking about the role of games in education, I've had great success with the wonderful TutPup last year. Starting a craze with our younger pupils. TutPup was bought out by the team behind Moshi Monsters earlier this year, I believe it will be integrated into the Moshi Monsters world some time soon. If you've not seen Moshi, check it out, filled with games and puzzles it encourages you to complete these in return for points which can be spent on customising your monster and it's house. Mathletics operates on a similar principle, successful completion of the maths games give you points to spend on 'pimping' your avatar.

I consulted my faithful Twitter network about rewards systems and during the discussion Greg ( pointed me towards the 'Stanford Marshmallow Experiment'.  This fascinating study put 4 year olds in a room with a marshmallow.  They were told if they waited until the person conducting the test returned they would receive an extra marshmallow.  Those who ate the single marshmallow straight away, demonstrating a lack of impulse control were found to do considerably worse in their SATs 14 years later!  Doug ( asked whether reward systems on the micro level were pointless and counter-productive.  We discussed long and short term rewards.  I think that a majority of pupils who I teach would probably have taken the first marshmallow.  Many of them are impulsive and do not have the natural patience to wait for delayed gratification.  I think this is down to many influences, their background and social situation will have a large effect, as will their media and entretainment.  The computer games, instant messaging, reality TV and mobile phones that our pupils live with have, I think, made us more used to instant gratification.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="PS3 Trophies from MNGilen on flickr"]from MNGilen on flickr[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="504" caption="My Moshi Monster"]My Moshi Monster[/caption]

If this is the case, then this is something we should take advantage of in schools.  Let us make more of the micro level rewards, in conjunction with longer term ones such as reward trips, and of course, the more intrinsic rewards of succeeding and doing well.

I would like to see a reward system linked to online monsters/avatars as described earlier, or even a system like that found on current consoles: PlayStation Trophies or X-Box Live Achievements.  Staff would be able to award 'points' to pupils for whatever good behaviour the school decides is appropriate.  This could be all electronic or via codes/stickers in a system like this one.  The pupil could then see these updating on their electronic system.  Imagine either your own, in-school 'reward monster' or a trophy list like the one above but with games swapped for good deeds.

This would allow pupils to quickly get gratification and feedback from their rewards, and would hopefully foster competition between pupils.  The system should also be able to total points by different pupil groups, e.g. Form Class, Year Group, House System etc., this would allow competition on a larger scale.

Longer term rewards could be rewarded for those with the highest points score, biggest improvement, best Form, etc. etc..

Finally on my wishlist would be the ability for pupils to embed their rewards in other websites.  The use of 'widgets' is increasingly common across the web.  If pupils could display their rewards on their personal VLE page, Facebook or their own blog it would only add to the value in the system.

So what do you think?  I am sure our school would pay a modest fee for a professionally done system like this.  Should we be focussing on such short term rewards?  School Stickers, Mind Candy, do you think something like this is easily doable?  If there is anything in the pipeline I'd love to be involved.

I think this would work well at Primary School, and at KS3 in Secondary School (11-14) after that pupils tend to have developed more intrinsic motivation and can work for deferred gratification.

A final thought:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="431" caption="Greg Perry via Twitter"]Greg Perry via Twitter[/caption]

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Daniel Stucke

Thanks to my network

2 min read

Interview reflection: Part 1:I was successful in my interview for the post of Director of E-Learning at Stretford High School, I'm delighted and thoroughly looking forward to starting in September.

The day obviously went well, my lesson was praised as being good with many outstanding features, I'll reflect upon that in Part 2 of this mini-series of posts. Further to this my presentation was praised as being excellent and the interview went well despite my apparent nerves.

I must thank everyone who helped me directly and indirectly to get to this point. I turned to my Twitter network on numerous occasions whilst researching and writing for my application form and whilst putting together my presentation. I must thank everyone who offered advice or opinion, it was all invaluable.

Twitter Mosaic: Make Art from Twitter (and then buy it!)
TwitterSheepUploaded with plasq's Skitch!

It's difficult to express to people new to Twitter how valuable a network can be. I have a modest 250+ selection of Educators from around the World and gain golden nuggets of information from them on a daily basis.

Further to this I was praised for my innovative ideas and thoughts with regards to developing E-Learning across the school community. Many of these ideas have come from the plethora of blogs that I subscribe to in the excellent Google Reader. This stream of news and ideas from schools across the planet is a source of much inspiration. Although I don't always read every post that streams through the reader I have been finding the search function increasingly invaluable. Google powered search on just the websites I have chosen, a truly powerful tool.

I think a key part of my new role will be encouraging other members of staff to develop personal learning networks as useful and efficient as my own. I thank you all, and will I'm sure be relying upon you even more come September.

Dan :)

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Daniel Stucke

Director of E-Learning Interview

2 min read

This Thursday I have an interview for the post of Director of E-Learning at a local High School. Inspired by Doug Belshaw's recent interview/blog/twitter success, (congratulations again Doug!) I would appreciate my personal learning network's help!

I have to present for 10 mins and also teach for 30.

My presentation is on "Your Vision for E-Learning and Strategy to Embed it In & Out of School", I will particularly be involved in managing the VLE and developing E-Learning across the curriculum. I have attached the presentation below (speaking notes on click through), any feedback would be appreciated...

I am also going to teach a Maths lesson on collecting quality data. To do this I have created a Google Form & Spreadsheet to collect some data from teachers and pupils on E-Learning. I have written questions with deliberate mistakes in them. I hope to get all pupils to complete the questionnaire, along with some of my blog/twitter network.

This is where you come in!

If you are available on Thursday morning, probably around 11ish (British Summer Time), I will twitter when the lesson has begun, if you could then complete the questionnaire, I hope to have the spreadsheet up on the board. Seeing your answers from around the world appearing live would be fantastic. If you know you won't be available on Thursday morning then please feel free to fill the form in now.

EDIT: Lesson should be 11.30am-12pm, I'll try and tweet at the appropriate time, but anything in there would be fantastic!


We will then look at the data we have collected, looking for the problems I hope to see in it, and collaborate to write some improved versions.

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