Revelling in STEM – a week of activity to immerse teachers and students



In our experience real tangible opportunities for teachers and students to be immersed in technology is key to enabling integration.

We have raised money to support a STEM initiative which involved a range of new gear. We used a some external providers to help enable a week of immersion. Here are a few snapshots from a week of activity. 

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Change My World

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A couple of months ago I undertook a 6 week course on Gamification through Coursera and The University of Pennsylvania (lecturer Associate Professor K Werbach). The course itself didn’t attempt to leverage gamification to any great extent although there were elements consistent with gamification throughout.

My reasons for undertaking the course were twofold. Firstly I was interested in the concept of gamification. Some current reading had been referring to trends in gamification in the broader community, in business and in education. Secondly I was interested in the growing trend in online open education offerings. I was interested in experiencing this sort of learning platform. I wondered how these ideas might these have application in the broader education context?

The course ran over about a six week period and was delivered via the Web.
From the outset I was engaged by the lecturer Prof Werbach. He appeared via a video interface which was combined with a text space for notes, graphics etc. This was a smooth, light on resources, delivery system which was great as I was participating on my iPad and sometimes was using 3G to watch the lectures. The video lecturers were interesting. They covered a range of information, looking at real world examples, Psychology, techniques and design. There were also guest speakers, leaders with real world experience in applying gamification design in business e.g. Daniel Debow, Amy Jo Kim etc.

There were, of course, assessment components. These consisted of online quizzes and 3 assignments. None of this was particularly onerous, but it was essential to watch the lectures and absorb the ideas. Without doing the required learning it wasn’t possible to complete the tasks.

Forums were available where students could meet and discuss ideas. Some of the conversations in this area were really interesting as the participants came from a very broad cross section from across the world. There were obvious challenges for students who’s first language wasn’t English.

Another aspect of the course involved peer assessment. Given the number of students participating (in excess of 80 000) it was a logical way to mark written assignments. Each student was required to mark 5 or more of their peers for each of the assignments completed. This provided some great insights into other people’s understanding and perspectives. The assignments focused on practical real world examples and required students to apply gamification strategies and design.

The experience I had as a student of an online learning experience was a rich one. While the course focused on gamification in a business context the potential for application across education was obvious.

At the end of the course students who completed the course with a grade above 70% received certificates from Coursera which acknowledged both The University of Pennsylvania and the Lecturer Prof Werbach as facilitators of the course. The experience was really excellent and it demonstrated the extraordinary opportunities that this sort of online learning can deliver