Sunday, February 2, 2014

Journal Entry 2

Running Head:  Journal Entry 2

Journal Entry 2
Andrey Murphy

January 31, 2014

Institutional Affiliation:  VCC

Since the introduction of the Nintendo Wii into our household we, as a family, have been struggling with our kids spending way too much time playing different video games.  It has almost become their obsession, while their responsibilities such as homework and music practice was ignored and their house chores were left to us.  This reverberates across the nation as families struggle with “setting limits around video game use” (Bean S.).  What seems to be a useless waste of time is turning into a full-time occupation for the kids as they spend upward of "more than 53 hours per week in front of a screen-more than a full-time job" according to Kaiser Family Foundation. The easiest response from us as parents might be to restrict the games usage completely, or is there a better way to redirect their addiction? If a child, by the time he is 18, had accumulated enough time as he would to graduate from a college, could he spend this time completing a degree playing video games? Would we as parents then support our kids in spending time in front of TV and computer?
If college were designed like a video game, everything in the environment would be designed to promote change (i.e., learning). (Bowen J.A.) With that in mind, I've been captivated as I was reading through the assigned chapters. However, having read this statement and comparing it to the realities of life made me wonder if this idea could very well become a reality in my teaching career.

I used the term “Games” in relation to college teaching and my wife frowned in disbelief.  From her reaction, I thought that I better start giving an explanation as to what I meant.  Yes, games, but geared towards education.  I was pumped by the ideas in the “Teaching Naked” textbook by J.A. Bowen where in Chapter 4 he writes that “Empirical evidence confirms that the combination of high expectations and low stakes (exactly the condition of a good video game) matter for learning”.  As the high expectations and low stakes idea stood out in my mind I was taken back to my college years as a teenager.  The task at hand was a very hard final exam in an electronics class.  Out of 30 students in my class, all 30 had

failed on their first attempts. 100% failure was something unusual back then but the outcome was shocking; everyone was to retake the final exam until everyone passed it.  Five attempts later and half of the class passed the test.  After the 10th time, we weren’t scared of the outcome, those who left to re-write it were curious as to what we did wrong, spending sleepless night studying and the whole exam turned into a “high expectations and low stakes” game.  Our instructor’s intention was to make us understand the subject and not to memorize the facts.  My curriculum could be set up in a game-like manner where the students progressed from low to high levels of cognition without the fear of failure, knowing that after trying and completely understanding what is required of them they would reach the next level.  

At this point in the course, it is somewhat hard for me to see how a curriculum could be set up in a game-type pattern, but one thing I am sure of is that it’s well worth trying.  When my kids are enquiring among their friends about the next great game, they often proceed based on the feedback from their peers.  I would be thrilled if the new students coming into my class had already been acquainted with the course from the start by receiving positive information from their peers.  Right from the beginning, this would create an atmosphere of trust since the students realize that they are there to learn and not to be tested daily, and at the same time ease off any tension that the students may have.  While taking PIDP3240 online, I realize that the course reminds me of a game which is fun to play.  I am free to play this game at any time I want, moving within different game levels which are Facebook postings, finding articles, creating blog posts, etc.  What I enjoy about it the most is that I am in control of my own time. Having the ability for the students to discover information on the subject gives me an idea that the students can actively participate in the class rather than passively absorb the knowledge.  Having technology out of the classroom opens up new horizons where the participants could spend their own time preparing for the next class, allowing more classroom time for the hands-on experience, which is greatly lacking in the current teaching environments.
The simplest and most basic use of new communication technology is to create class time for engaged learning:  every announcement, clarification, or reference that can be done electronically frees up class time for interaction and discussion. (Bowen J.A.)
Presenting the information using podcasts or video lectures will make it more convenient for students to refresh their knowledge at their own convenient time.  As in any video game, the final exam becomes a final level in the course outline and only those who gain the skills and knowledge in the lower levels will be able to beat the final level.

Being at the crossroads of my career - whether to go into teaching full-time or not, having this new idea of having a game in the class could also be a game changer for me.  I am game now, especially since I might be setting up my own courses which will allow me to have direct input on the course materials as well as the presentations.  I am excited about the prospects after being introduced to new methods of teaching using available technology.  Having been introduced to a more exciting way of teaching through the simple introduction to a game-like classroom I can see some good opportunities since the “online learning in US grows faster than overall PSE enrollment” (Academica Group. 2014).  To reverse this trend, a new way of teaching is coming into the colleges and I am thrilled to be on the forefront of it, whether it is through a blend of in-class and online or fully online.  I wonder if the time is coming when a conversation in a family on what the kids are playing and how much will become an agreement among everyone, since they will be learning instead of just playing educational games.  This is the same game I am playing now by taking this course, and I am finding myself spending my online time on learning the course.


Bowen J.A. (2012).  Teaching Naked. How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. p.93

Bowen J.A. (2012).  Teaching Naked. How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. p.105

How to Set Limits Around Video Game Use. By Sara Bean, M.Ed. Retrieved from

Online learning in US grows faster than overall PSE enrollment. January 31. 2014. Retrieved from

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andrey- Great topic for Journal #2 - we are having the same battle in our house, that is the battle of the Ipads and who can get to it first ; ) I agree with you that educational video games are exciting both for parents and children as it relieves the guilt of kids spending time on portable devices.