Posted in 1.1 Creating, 1.3 Assessing/Evaluating, 1.4 Managing, 3.3 Assessing/Evaluating, 4.1 Collaborative Practice, AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge)

AR Experience

This week we were tasked with evaluating the popular augmented reality game Pokemon Go using Shute & Ke’s “seven core elements of well-designed games” as the criteria. There is no doubt that Go is a great game. It captured the imagination and engagement of the masses almost instantly. While initially there were bugs and issues to resolve, there have been strides in the app since it’s initial release. I’ll admit that I wasn’t thrilled to download and test the game and I had a bit of a biased chip on my shoulder during the process. I’m just not into the game itself, I’ve never really understood the Pokemon craze. That said, I love the functionality of the game. I love how it gets people up and out. And I love the potential for other games based on the same ideas. For example, imagine a game where real live creatures are found and collected (or tagged, for the conservationists) that are native to the region the player is currently in. Shoot, why stop at creatures, why not plants and trees or types of rocks.

Shute, V. J., & Ke, F. (2012). Games, Learning, and Assessment. In D. Ifenthaler, D. Eseryel, & X. Ge (Eds.), Assessment in Game-Based Learning (pp. 43–58). New York, NY: Springer New York. Retrieved from

Posted in 1.1 Creating, 1.2 Using, 1.3 Assessing/Evaluating, 4.3 Reflection on Practice, AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge)

Paint Pot

This week in EDTECH 534 we continued getting familiar with AppInventor by completing the PaintPot tutorial. I really enjoyed the tutorial and learned quite a bit. I ended up deviating from my normal homework routine and started this assignment very early in the week. This allowed me to finish the tutorial with enough time to play with the tool. Admittedly, there were some things I just couldn’t figure out and gave up on but on the flip side, there was still plenty that I managed, notably the new blank canvas buttons. I had difficulty getting the slider to operate the stroke width but was able to work it out with a solution from a fellow classmate. I am hoping to explore more with AppInventor’s ability to control the interface, I suppose I am a UX designer through and through 😉 (a nostalgic reference to a past career)


Posted in 1.1 Creating, 2.1 Creating, 2.3 Assessing/Evaluating, AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge), AECT Standard 2 (Content Pedagogy)

Creating AR with Aurasma

aurasmaThis week in EDTECH 564 we created augmented overlays using the Aurasma app. The app itself has a bit of a clunky user interface but the overall experience was pretty easy. I ended up creating a bunch of triggers and overlays around my school and showing anyone who would look. It made me think about applying this tech to an existing scavenger hunt another teacher in my school hosts. I can’t wait to give it a try.

My favorite bit of playing with the app came with setting up my globe at home to have a bunch of movies trigger depending on where on the globe you are focused. The only drawback, and it’s a HUGE drawback, is that you would have to use my very unique globe in order to view all the work I put in to it. The trigger basically matches a picture to the environment so if distributing your experience beyond a limited location is your goal, it is best if you use a widely available trigger or image. Overall, I see a huge potential to create engaging activities using tech students are already comfortable with.

Posted in 1.1 Creating, 2.1 Creating, 2.4 Managing, 3.4 Managing, AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge), AECT Standard 2 (Content Pedagogy), AECT Standard 3 (Learning Environments)

Design Journal (EDTECH564)

This week in EDTECH564 Gamified Augmented Reality and Mobile we looked at VR headsets and available apps. Back in the spring I cleared a bunch of generic headsets on clearance from a local store’s shelf so I had a headset available. I have found that since the headset is generic, it didn’t have any selection mechanism in it. After tinkering unsuccessfully for a bit I ended up caving and buying a separate hand controller which went a LONG way in enhancing the experience. The apps I chose to review for the weeks assignment covered games as well as educational content. I was most impressed with Discovery VR in experience quality. I think that there are lots of ways an app like this can be incorporated into existing lessons. After looking at the educational stuff, I really wanted to see what the games are like. I ended up spending a bit of time playing Pac Man VR and found it quite entertaining. Since looking at the PacMan app, I have shown it to students, friends, & family and they all have loved it. In fact, at a picnic, I gave a viewer away to an enamored friend who ended up spending the night downloading games himself.


Posted in 1.1 Creating, 1.2 Using, 4.3 Reflection on Practice, AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge)

Design Journal (EDTECH534)


This week in EDTECH 534 Mobile Apps Design for Teaching and Learning we completed a basic tutorial building a simple app in App Inventor. This was my first real experience using the tool but not my first go at programming, thankfully. I thought it was really cool that we start this journey with a kitty app when I wickid love kitties. I felt a little pressed for time so I didn’t explore as much as I would have liked but I feel like I got the jist of the program. Since I completed it, I’ve shared it with people like the proud student I am. Even though all I did was follow directions, the promise of building more is exciting.

The app is simple, you pet the kitty. The app responds by vibrating and playing a meow sound. If you shake the device, it meows but doesn’t “purr.” If you wanna take a look, you can check it out here.

Posted in 4.3 Reflection on Practice, 4.4 Assessing/Evaluating, AECT Standard 4 (Professional Knowledge and Skills)

Reflection of Learning During EDTECH 504 Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology (SU17)

I chose to take this theory class during the summer session and as my only class this semester. I knew I would need extra time to read and digest the complex materials as theory isn’t my favorite subject. The course consisted of 8 assignments focused on researching different learning theories in Educational Technology. I chose to focus my research on gamification and constructivism since this is an area of education that I am currently very interested in.

I found the first learning theories paper that we were tasked with writing allowed me to explore and expand on the “why” of learning strategies more so than the “how” or “what”. As I said, I focused on Constructivism in the classroom and was able to round out my understand of what the main principles are. This will help me create student-centered projects for my classrooms that allow for learners to draw from their previous experiences.

The two main papers from this course focus on the Research (Standard 5) of the AECT standards. Both papers focused on research of the Constructivism learning theory while the final synthesis paper focused on gamificaiton in the constructivist classroom. In researching these topics, I have shown mastery of Standard 5, Research, Accessing & Evaluating, and Theoretical Foundations as well as Standard 1, Content Knowledge, Using, and Accessing & Evaluating.

Posted in 5.1 Theoretical Foundations, 5.2 Method, 5.3 Assessing/Evaluating, 5.4 Ethics, AECT Standard 5 (Research)



How can gamification be used to increase motivation in a classroom? Gamification can look very different depending on the application. Game mechanics can be applied to small projects as well as an entire course. The use of XP, leveling up, leaderboards, badges, etc., can easily add elements of gaming to projects but the quality of the instruction and course design is the key to a successful implementation. The biggest contributing factor to the success of gamification is motivation. Learners who participate in a gamified task are typically intrinsically motivated to not only complete the task but to be successful at it. Educators need to be cognizant of the pitfalls of gamification when implementing such strategies. Gamification has roots deep in the Constructivism learning theory by generating motivation in order to complete tasks that are generally self-guided. The skills needed for a student to coordinate completion of the game mechanics align with the Constructivist ideas of a successful transfer of learning episode.


It’s widely agreed that the idea of gamification is growing in popularity. Many researchers have studied the effects of gamification in different scenarios. The topic of this paper is focused on not only what gamification means to education but how it affects learning through motivation in a Constructivist classroom. It is widely understood that motivation plays a positive role in learning. Gamification provides strategies that increase personal motivation to expand on skillsets for use in future quests. At it’s core, Gamification provides a way to incorporate Constructivist theories to technology rich learning environments by increasing motivation.

What is Gamification?

Gamification has been defined as “using game design elements in non-game contexts to motivate and increase user activity and retention” (Deterding et al, 2011). The elements that make up gamification can look different depending on the application. For example, gamification can happen in small assignments, projects, or a whole course.  In addition to where the elements can appear, what types of elements can vary as well. In this section I will explore the various way gamification can look inside a classroom.

Game Mechanics: The basic parts of gamification have been called different things by different authors. Yang, Quadir, and Chen call these parts the “Badge Mechanism” (2015) and Brull and Finlayson call them “Gamification Mechanics” (2016).  In this paper, I will refer to these basic parts as the game mechanics. These parts include scoring in XP, using badges, leaderboards, levels, and any other game like parts. These mechanics are used to simulate a game environment and can be used on most content areas with a certain amount of ease. In order for gamification to work, the literature suggest that at least some of these game mechanics need to be in place to be effective. Using game mechanics and other types of gaming strategies allows learners to solve problems in an engaging and fun way (Bruder, 2015). The game mechanics provide learners with one more tool that they can use to form their own understanding and learning through motivation. This Constructivist perspective illustrates how learners build upon their experiences to achieve successes.  

Course or Content: Educators who may be overwhelmed or even skeptical about applying game mechanics to their own curriculum can begin the process slowly using mini-games. Individual projects or units can be easily gamified by renaming points/percentages to XP, introducing competition with a leaderboard, and creating some reward system with badges or prizes. On a small scale like this, motivation from the mechanics themselves can be difficult to attain, rewards and prizes help.

A gamified course uses game mechanics on a larger scale to create a community of learning. Holding motivation for extended periods with game mechanics alone is very difficult. To successfully gamify a course, there must be quests or some kind choice, otherwise learners quickly bore of the game. Providing a variety of projects that achieve the same objective will allow learners to follow their own interest and feel empowered to succeed (Proulx et al., 2016).

Gamified Learning Management Systems: As gamification grows in popularity more and more classroom management systems are offering a gamified option. These systems provide educators guidance in gamifying their course and can also offer a virtual environment for students to interact. It is important to note that studies have shown that the quality of the digital environment has serious impact on motivation and efficacy for learning. Not all environments are suitable for all situations, educators need to carefully select the right tool to match their needs (Kamasheva et al., 2015).

Constructivism in Gamification

The constructivist learning theory is all about students creating meaning from their learning experiences. The theory places the learner at the center of the learning environment and active participation is the main component to success. The main idea is that experiences help the learner formulate the meaning within the current context. It is through active participation that constructivists believe meaning is created. Gamification is a natural way to incorporate participation into curriculum and build upon experiences by increasing student motivation.

How Gamification affects motivation.

Motivation is defined as being moved to do something (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Therefore, a person who does not try to move forward is described as unmotivated. A person performing a task to attain an outcome is described as being extrinsically motivated, whereas a person performing a task for the pure enjoyment or interest is intrinsically motivated (Chen, Burton, Vorvoreanu, & Whittinghill, 2015). For example, someone who creates art because it makes them feel good and they enjoy it is intrinsically motivated; someone who creates art because they want to make money or status is extrinsically motivated.

Extrinsic Motivation: Traditional teaching styles use a teach-stop-test cycle with the goal of helping the learner to retain the content because they have to pass the test (Shute & Ventura, 2013). The motivation is for the student to do well on the test. As a result, often the content is forgotten soon after testing. This is extrinsic motivation because the learner is only motivated by outside or external factors. In the scope of gamified learning theory, extrinsic motivation often leads to ineffective results. In order for students to really care about and invest themselves into a project, they must be motivated from within themselves.

Extrinsic Motivation can be an applicable form of motivation to be successful but I think one would agree it is not ideal. In learners where an interest in games is weak, motivation to complete the task is in the forefront. The structure and objectives of the task need to also be engaging in order to hold the interest of the learner.

Intrinsic Motivation: When a student is personally vested in their coursework and find it fun, they become intrinsically motivated. Learners in game environments experience emotions such as frustration, wonder, mystery, and amusement, which provides a personal connection to the game or others playing the game. They report that how a game makes them feel inside is one of the major reasons why they play (Lazzaro, 2004).

In a review of  70 empirical research studies on the use of  games in the classroom from Connolly, Boyle, MacArthur, Hainey, & Boyle (2012), the most observed positive outcomes were affectivity, motivation, and learning. The potential of games to foster intrinsic motivation is shown over and over throughout the research. Based on another series of surveys, observations and interviews with gamers, a motivation theory from Malone (1981) was put forward, which says that challenge, fantasy, control, curiosity, cooperation, recognition, and competition are the most significant motivational elements that make gaming fun and engaging.

Pitfalls of Gamification to Consider

Not everyone likes games: An important consideration to remember is that not everyone enjoys playing games. While gamified content may stimulate intrinsic motivation for many, some may still only be motivated by the external factor of passing (Yang, 2017). For these students there will be more effort from the teacher to make sure course objectives are met.

Role of the teacher: It is important for teachers to continue to play an active role in instruction, especially since all students may not respond well to gamification and/or a digital environment. Yang says “simply using digital games in the classroom does not guarantee satisfactory learning achievement, especially in the case of the absence of a teacher. Integrating appropriate learning strategies into a game can better enhance the learning performance.” (Yang, 2017, p.235) Gamification gives students a level of autonomy and in some scenarios, can be delivered as a self-paced course. Research suggests that motivation up-ticks are fewer in a self-guided program than with a facilitator. The reason for this can be tied to the decrease in motivation when a learner either loses interest or is confused with the content. The teacher delivering the program needs to be a reliable resource to students without interfering with the Constructivist ideology of student-centered learning.

Improper objective mapping: Gaming for the sake of gaming isn’t going to work. The objectives of the project need to be kept in focus during the development of the gamified curriculum. As stated already, gamification is not a one size fits all solution to learner motivation. Clear objectives and relevant content is key in sourcing the right gaming solution (Mathrani, 2016).


Constructivist learning theorists (e.g., Papert, 1993; Piaget, 1964, 1970) realize that game-like activities can foster learning. This is because students are willing to spend more time and effort on learning while participating in those activities.  The increased motivation factors gained from gamification provide a Constructivist classroom strategies to increase student success.  The use of XP, leveling up, leaderboards, badges, etc., add elements of gaming to projects but the quality of the instruction and course design to foster participation is the key to a successful implementation. The biggest contributing factor to the success of gamification is motivation. The uptick gained from increased motivation from the gamification of content is inherently transferred to future lessons and built upon to form a big idea. This allows students to build their knowledge and feel in control of their learning.  


Bruder, P. (2015). Game on: Gamification in the classroom. The Education Digest, 3, 56-60.

Brull, S., & Finlayson, S. (2016). Importance of gamification in increasing learning. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 47(8), 372–375.

Chen, Y., Burton, T., Vorvoreanu, M., & Whittinghill, D.M. (2015). Cogent: A case study of meaningful gamification in education with virtual currency. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 10(1), 39.

Connolly, T. M., Boyle, E. A., MacArthur, E., Hainey, T., & Boyle, J. M. (2012). A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games. Computers & Education, 59, 661-686. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.03.004

Deterding, S , Dixon, D , Khaled, R , & Nacke, L (2011) From game design elements to gamefulness: Defining “gamification”, Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments, September 28-30, 2011, Tampere, Finland doi: 10.1145/2181037.2181040

Han, H.-C. (2015). Gamified Pedagogy: From gaming theory to creating a self-motivated learning environment in Studio Art. Studies in Art Education, 56(3), 257–267.

Kamasheva, A. V., Valeev, E. R., Yagudin, R. K., & Maksimova, K. R. (2015). Usage of gamification theory for increase motivation of employees. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences.

Lazzaro, N. (2004). Why we play games: Four keys to more emotion without story. Retrieved from

Malone. T. W. (1981). Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction. Cognitive Science, 4, 333-369.

Mathrani, A., Christian, S., & Ponder-Sutton, A. (2016). PlayIT: Game based learning approach for teaching programming concepts. Educational Technology & Society, 19(2), 5–17.

Proulx, J.-N., Romero, M., & Arnab, S. (2016). Learning Mechanics and Game Mechanics Under the Perspective of Self-Determination Theory to Foster Motivation in Digital Game Based Learning. Simulation & Gaming, 1046878116674399.

Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54-67.

Shute, V.J., & Ventura, M. (2013). Stealth assessment: Measuring and supporting learning in games. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press Books.

Wouters, P., van Nimwegen, C., van Oostendorp, H., & van Der Spek, E. D. (2013). A meta- analysis of the cognitive and motivational effects of serious games. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 249-265. doi:10.1037/a0031311

Yang, J. C., Quadir, B., & Chen, N.-S. (2016). Effects of the Badge Mechanism on Self-Efficacy and Learning Performance in a Game-Based English Learning Environment. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 54(3), 371–394.

Yang, K.-H. (2017). Learning behavior and achievement analysis of a digital game-based learning approach integrating mastery learning theory and different feedback models. Interactive Learning Environments, 1–14.