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Luddite October 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — grannynannycook @ 10:36 pm
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What tools can we use both in and out of Minecraft, to create a convincing case that learning occurred? 

Somehow in my research roamings through assessment of learning with Minecraftedu, I encountered the unfamiliar terms narratology  and  ludology.  Not that it pertains to the assignment per say, but it was very interesting learning from a neutral presentation about the big debate between the two.  Whether or not the information source is accurate, I do not know, but the video seems to be an explanation even I can understand (caution, the F word can be heard in this clip).  Although I understand how both concepts can apply to education, I’m not sure I understand the debate as a whole.  Here are the definitions.

Narratology – noun
the branch of knowledge or literary criticism that deals with the structure and function of narrative and its themes, conventions, and symbols
Ludology – noun
the study of games and gaming, especially video games
“ludology, like the games it studies, is not about story and discourse at all but about actions and events”
a member of any of the bands of English workers who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woolen mills, that they believed was threatening their jobs (1811–16).
a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology

Now, back to the assigned topic.  Of course, assessment is the method teachers use to determine if learning has occurred, if learning goals have been met.  From what I have read, it seems that the most important way to determine what progress students make is to use authentic formative assessment, i.e., check up on the students while they are completing the tasks.  For example, in Minecraftedu, listening and watching game participants and noting observations are informal formative assessment.

There are lots of ways to perform formative assessment, here are a few reliable ideas:

53 Ways to Check for Understanding

 Tools for Formative Assessment –

56 Different Examples of Formative Assessment

Formative (Informal) Assessment Strategies


Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything. (simply because I have been following her forever)


The MOOCs in which I have participated have used “frictionless” formative assessment.  Features of Social Media that enable formative assessment might work for a definition for now, as no official definition of the concept was found.  As a MOOC student, I have experienced assessment via: Livetext, video, screen cast-o-matic, screen shots, blogs, twitter, google plus (hangouts), Edmodo, and polls.  “To assess basic comprehension, attitudes, difficulties, and higher-order thinking, social media and formative assessment naturally complement each other,” concludes Paige Alfonzo Edutopia contributor.

Speaking of Edutopia, it has a lot of pages on assessment.  In Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding, the author states a simple way to gain information from your students is to simply ask them.  Ask them why, to explain their thinking, and ask them evaluative questions such as:

  • How much time and effort did you put into this?
  • What do you think your strengths and weaknesses were in this assignment?
  • How could you improve your assignment?
  • What are the most valuable things you learned from this assignment?

Additionally, as a teacher, I have used CRISS strategies for assessment (free recall for example), rubrics, journals, anecdotal notes.  I often use rubrics which allow students to self-assess.  In the game of Minecraftedu, books, information blocks, and signs are ways students can use text to communicate understanding.  In addition, communities created will communicate understanding to the teacher.  Listening to language use while students are crafting is another way of observing learning.

All of the authentic informal formative assessments for Minecraftedu discussed in this blog have one thing in common, and that is feedback.  Quality of learning can be observed through what students say, write, make, or do (Griffin, 2007).  Class discussions, differentiated instruction, response to intervention, data-driven instruction, self-assessment, and peer assessment are all forms of either delayed or immediate feedback.  Feedback is more effective when it focuses on the task details, methods to improve answers, and ways to set appropriate goals (Shute, 2008)The series on Comprehensive Assessment, covers a variety of topics including a variety of ways to measure a student’s learning.  The Research Review section states that feedback must (a) be based on evidence of student understanding and integrated into regular classroom practice, (b) yield actionable insights that learners can and will use, and (c) provide learners with opportunities to improve their performance (Shute, 2008).  The marriage of formative assessment and feedback promotes learning, and that’s what we are all about.

Assessment to promote learning: Set challenging, meaningful goals for student understanding; collect evidence about current position relative to goals; and then identify ways to close the gap between the two (adapted from Black & William, 2009).
Where the learner is going/the goal Where the learner is How to get there
Instructor Set challenging, multifaceted goals, and clarify learning intentions and criteria for success. Elicit evidence ofstudent understandingthrough discussion and activities. Focus on the what, how, and why of the task or problem. Provide feedback that moves learning forward andactionable steps to address misconceptions and advance learning.
Peer Share and understand learning goals and criteria for success. Peer assessment: Students act as instructional resources for one another.
Learner Self-assessment: Students act as owners of their own learning.

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