Motivation to learn

I have to admit that I struggle with the idea of the flipped classroom applying to all areas of education, especially the elementary classroom.  I worked through it as a middle and high school teacher and it work beautifully.  I sent little tasks that could take students of in multiple directions, depending on their interests, I provided the materials and my daily lesson time began to work like a drop in session for questions.  I could work with small groups of children and have them ’check in’ with me and report their progress. I could give them time to explore the topic and every now and then we would have tutorials, covering aspect that the majority of the class were having difficulty with – it work and it it work well.  However my struggles are with my grade 1 and 2 visual arts classes.  How do I expect them to follow this structure?  Well I can’t but I am sure that the concept is sound, having kids pursue things that really interest them and having their voice heard, swearing the direction of the lessons.

Game based learning, something as a learner – I love.  I hate exercise, no really I do. But….I got an Apple Watch and now I earn badges, I get daily prompts, I get motivational buzzes and quantifiable goals – ‘a 13 minute brisk walk will close your move goal’ ‘its time to stand up for a minute’.  It all works my longest ‘move streak’ stands at 82 days, I’ve even lost 10 kgs. I’ve connected with a friend and I get daily updates on her progress, I’m accountable to her now, Im accountable to my watch and there is this tiny part of me that goes ‘yes’ every time I get an achievement… Crazy, I know!  So if this kind of gamification can get me moving how can it be applied in my classroom, how can it motivate my students?

I guess us teacher have been dabbling in it for year.  Stickers – I have never met a child who doesn’t want a sticker, even those high school students love them.  That is essentially what my Apple Watch is giving me, a little electronic sticker.  I always had a sticker box in the elementary classroom and gave them out for a variety of reasons.  I used them to get students to review their work as a classroom teacher.  Students got their book back and quickly searched through he pages to see if they got a sticker, then if they could come and tell me what they would do to improve their work they got another sticker to wear on their clothes or stick to a sticker chart of some sort.  It worked a treat. What interests me is how this can be taken further.  How can it be harnessed in a positive manner to encourage students and motivate them further.  I add in ‘positive’ because we need to be careful that the gamification of lessons doesn’t lead to competitiveness, with winners and losers.

This final point led me to really distinguish between gamification and game based learning, to things I though were essentially the same – but as ai delved deeper I figured out that there was a subtle difference, this short video helped greatly:
YouTube Preview Image

As with the flipped classroom I find it easier to apply the theories and ideas to older children, to specific subject areas – particularly raising awareness of the world around you and service learning, but I wonder how I can apply it to e grade 1 & 2 visual arts?  Something I need to investigate further.  This question leads to play, now this seems to have greater potential as a spring board to game based learning and the flipped classroom in the early years.  I can totally see the power of play in the learning (Barseghain, 2012), and the motivation the digital play has – especially iPads in the younger years.

So many ideas, all so strong and powerful.  It is clear that many of these research based theories have such an important part of our teaching and learning.  My goal now it to really find out about and research how I can bring these ideas into my Visual Arts lessons, if anyone can point me in the right direction I’d be very grateful.

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn” Albert Einstein

This quote gives me hope – even Einstein can only ‘attempt’ to provide the perfect conditions for learning.

This entry was posted in Course 4. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *