Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chapter 7- Exploring Problem Solving with Software, Apps, and Games

Focus Question: What are the standard and open-source software applications available on most computers?
     The standard software applications on our computers are indispensable tools. Different jobs call for different standard software. My most used standard software application is Microsoft Word. In fact, I am even using it as I type. Microsoft Word comes in handy when developing any type of writing assignment. It offers great tools such as paragraph spacing, different fonts, and a grammar and spell check. Doctors use software programs to collect data of all of their patients. Architects use software programs for designing their next big project. Accountant use computer software for tax preparation. Open-source software programs are available for public use. Certain organizations will make the source codes free for the user. These are basically alternatives to the standard software programs. OpenOffice is an alternative to Microsoft Office. Firefox is an alternative to Internet Explorer. These programs can be used in the same way, however they are sometimes more readily available.

Digital Dialog 7.2:
     1. I do believe there is an impact on the violence that is found in some video games. Research has showed that most children who play violent video games or watch violent television shows tend to develop more violent habits. I think that if children are constantly playing violent video games and computer games, they will think it is okay to participate in violent behavior.
     2. In my opinion, there are many educational advantages to games that introduce appropriate and useful situations. Some games teach children to cooperate, share, problem solving, and even resolving personal problems in a nonviolent way. I like the games that focus on developing positive characteristics of a child. If a game has taught a child problem solving skills, that child will bring that knowledge into the classroom.
     3. When I am a teacher, I will use the students’ interest of gaming when thinking of activities. A child who enjoys games would be more eager to learn through the use of games. I could assess my students with the use of computer activities. I could also give my students time to play educational games on the computer. Not only will they be learning new topics, but they will also be learning how to use technology.

     As teachers, we can use technology to teach students problem solving skills. There are many programs and activities on the internet that teach children about the curriculum topic while teaching them how to solve real life problems. The book introduces the 3 steps of the problem solving framework: understand the problem, use problem solving strategies, and check results. I can use these 3 steps in my future classroom when asking my students questions about particular topics. I would ask the student a specific question, they will have time to figure out the answer, and the we could reflect on their answer and decide why or how it is right or wrong.
     Software is one of the most important technological tools in society today. There are so many ways we can use software in teaching, learning, and our everyday careers. The use of software makes these jobs ten times easier. The great thing about software is that we have control over what it does. They are programmed to perform certain tasks; however we are the ones controlling its every move. We can customize and personalize our creations for different uses and situations. Before we use these software programs, it is important to evaluate them to see if they are appropriate for students and if the learning content is reliable. Students can create different charts and tables on these programs. This is a more interactive and engaging approach to exploring the subject matter.
     The book mentioned a debate about whether computer games could be or should be used as learning resources. I remember when I was younger; my parents would not allow me to have any video game systems such as PlayStation or Xbox. They believed that those programs had no benefit to my learning. They did not want to introduce me to the violence on these gaming systems. Looking back, I do understand why they made that decision with me. When I become a parent, I will limit the video games that my child will use. I do believe they can serve a learning benefit if used correctly. The educational computer and video games is a good learning tool for students. I would use appropriate computer games as an assessment and practice tool in my future classroom. Students can either work independently or cooperatively in computer games. 
     The graph below shows the percentage of children that become engaged by computer and video games, as well as other technological sources. You can see that the two categories with the most engaged children were both computer and video games. If a child becomes so engaged by these two items, it would be a great idea to incorporate this into their learning environment. 

                   University of Maryland Researchers Find Home Computer Use by Kids Brings Benefits, But Not to All by Merrill College of Journalism Press Releases

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin, Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! The gaming debate will continue, no doubt, but there is more evidence for effective use of gaming in the classroom, provided it is relevant and appropriate. That is probably one of the biggest issues in that games can also be misused and/or the inappropriate games are the focus. I guess that is true of many things - we need to seek balance and think about the big picture as well as the details before making an effective decision.