Katie Fraser’ Learning Lunch discussion:

While studying at the LSRI, I undertook a PhD using an ecological approach to studying children’s homework, looking at use of traditional and emerging learning technologies in a social space. However, as I studied I became increasingly aware of how I used technologies in my own study and learning as a researcher. Alongside that I started working part-time in one of Nottingham’s libraries, and realised that I wanted to become a librarian. Since I graduated in 2009, I have been working and studying in the library field.

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…asks Shaaron Ainsworth

Let me start by answering the question as posed – are digital games a valuable tool for learning? Valuable could mean a number of things; for example, are students more likely to come to school on days when digital games are used to teach? Do students become interested in history because they play Civilization? Does playing digital games motivate the desire to create such games and to develop a range of creative and computational skills? However, the most straightforward way to interpret “valuable” is to ask whether students can develop new skills or knowledge through interacting with digital games? A number of reviews and meta-analyses (which combine statistical results from different studies) have been conducted to answer this question. Research published in 1992[1] found 67 studies in the preceding 28 years of which the majority showed games to be equally effective as conventional instruction and a third to find games more effective. Two recent meta-analyses[2][3] with more developed criteria for inclusion have concluded that games are significantly more effective for learning and retention than conventional instruction. Clearly, it would seem the research has spoken and it has shown that games are indeed valuable.

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What is happening this week?  For the Monday session we are consider the concept of “community” as an important idea in the organisation of learning.  We are also looking at building websites and at the value and design of eportfolios.  While some of this is being discussed on the Moodle discussion board and some of it on the class Facebook site