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Final Blog Post

The course is not only a “digital engagement expedition” like mentioned in the syllabus,  but a technological evolution exploration to me. It had given me a trip back to time where many ordinary technology and matters today were only revolutionary concepts. Each of the readings in the course taught me one interesting aspect of technology in context of education or human society. As I progress through the course, I learn more about the fascinating evolution of human race in general, and advancing of technology particularly.

The first reading in this course was “As We May Think” by Vannevar Bush. Approximately 70 years ago, Bush proposed an idea to mechanize human memory in order to leverage and utilize he huge pool of knowledge that we had accumulated throughout human history. He called it “Memex”, which now is known as “Google.” Before this reading, Google search engine existence is no more than just where I can turn to whenever I have a question. The underlying intention of this virtual database, why did idea come about, how did it come true, are a whole astonishing story.

The second reading and third reading of the course were  “Man-Computer Symbiosis” by J. C. R. Licklider and “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework” by Doug Engelbart. Man-computer symbiosis is a concept where human and machine are harmoniously exist to assist and benefit one another. This is another advancing turning point of human race. Similar to how human used to  use stone to make weapon, use fire to cook food, Licklider and Engelbart suggested to use computer to improve human processing efficiency and memory ability. Thanks to this idea, my life now is much more fun and easier with the help of computers. Computers nowadays are not only a tool but an extension, unalterable part of human mind.

The last two readings were Computer Lib / Dream Machines by Ted Nelson and Personal Dynamic Media by Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg. These authors focus on implementing technology in education. Disagreeing with the current constrained education environment, they argue for a new education platform that can foster creativity and allow students’ potential to freely grow. Since technology is interactive and flexible, digital based education deems to be a solution for it. These two readings are almost directly related to my IP final project in which I researched about effect of game based learning in formal education.

These two readings are actually the inspiration for my topic, which I have always passion about. Through my own experience, I really adore the idea of teaching through game play, even though I realize  its novelty  wears out very quickly plus the curriculum contents could be distracted, or not realized because of the entertaining part of the game. But as I research more about the topic, I find that game based learning is a plausible concept and such limitations could totally overcome with good game design.

Synthesizing all of the course readings together is a story of how students’ “best friends” such as Google, Internet, video games, computers, became  contemporary society is as advance as it is.  As a discipline in computer science, I found the course to be very interesting. Throughout the course, I had learnt and continuously amazed at human’s capability. Aside from that, this course is equally challenging as it is interesting. Since English is not my native language, I had a very tough time keep up and complete the assignment. The advantage as well as  challenging part of this online course is that there is a flexible schedule. It requires lots of dedication in order to “voluntarily” sit down and do your work because there is nobody around to push you do your work. Even though the course organization really helped guiding me in the process of research and organize my paper, I found it would be more helpful to seek in person consultant. As a conclusion, I think my advice to be successful and survive an UNIV 200 online course is that one must be persistent, manage the time carefully, and definitely scarify some time to go ask for feedback, researching resources.

Final note to wrap up my reflection, it was indeed a tough but compelling semester. Even though I wasn’t able to keep up my groove in the second half of the semester, thank you professor Boaz for all your help and comments that get me to push for a strong finish.


Kids nowadays are spending much more time interacting with digital devices compared to doing almost anything else. Gamers are spending an average of 18 hours playing video game per week and up to 97% of the millennials are reported to be gamers. Based on observations and experiments, neuroscientists have inferred that technologies are rewiring digital natives’ brain. They are thinking differently than previous generations as the result of brain plasticity, the process where brain reorganizes and develops itself in responding to the environment. Whether it is damaged by accident, deliberately training, or unintentionally practice over period of time, different part of the brain would restructure accordingly in order to establish adaptation to ensure a better chance of survival. Like my little cousin, she is spontaneously enjoy her experience with her Nexus and is comfortable handle different features of this technology. However, my grandfather prefers to use an “out of date” flip phone instead of a smartphone because he deems technology is something too fancy for him. Isn’t this a wonder where such difference come from?


Human race didn’t start out automatically knowing how to speak, read, or write. It was a long progress of evolution and adaptation. When language first developed, people changed from action and figure speech to speaking words. When writing came out, people learned new ways of recording information. When the printing press became popular, people’s literacy exploded to a whole new level. Each turning point of human history isn’t just an instantaneous adoption of new concepts  but a huge transformation in human’s brain and thinking process. People once thought books were destructive to our memories. Writing and reading took a long time before they were widely accepted, practiced and perceived as a social norm. People needed time to develop a skill to decipher written text as opposed to phonetically understanding spoken words.


If information was retained and transmitted in forms of speech, written paper, and books before, then now technological or digital based medium is the mainstream mechanism. Just like how our brain had once learned and adapted to those new conventions, the human race is now undergoing a period of adapting to fast processing. We are at the age where tremendous amounts of information is at our fingertips. Digital natives are readily shown better processing capabilities compared to previous generations. As internet is capable of providing millions of hits within seconds and many hyperlinks within same context. Our brain is developing a tendency to expect fast responses. It is circumventing itself to keSubclaimep up with the speed and process of the huge input data. Marc Prensky, author of Game Based Learning book, noted that “Video Games is digital natives’ native language therefore the best way for them to absorb and learn” (Marc). It is believed that the traditional text based is too static, too slow to meet the demand of this new emerging cognitive ability. Therefore, scientists propose game based learning as the new educational platform. The graphical, audio, high speed, and instantaneous interaction features of video game are more suitable for  the contemporary generation who are growing up in an information rich environment.

4 Reasons Why game based learning is a plausible concept

  1. Through observations and experiments, psychologists and neuroscientists agree that the digital native’s brain is rewired different than the previous generation. As the result of brain plasticity, digital native’s brain is evolved to adapt to more efficient in processing information in response to the contemporary speed of technology and a huge amount of information.
  2. Through achievements and points system, game based learning is designed to be fun thus engage students.
  3. Game based learning with the help of technology is able to offer a rich information environment in which there could be videos, audios, colorful graphics and interactive features that appeal and intrigue kids’ interest.
  4. Despite many negative connotation about video games such as most people believe they are the sources of obesity, addiction, violence, bad vision, there are actually quantitative studies that nullify these  stereotypes.

“Real Estate” Search

I chose rampages as a platform for my final project because it is familiar. First of all, it is very easy to make another site and manage it since it is all in one account. Rampages is an equally good concept space compare to all other options. It also has an ability to import media (pictures, animated pictures, videos) as well as customized theme.

BETA draft IP introduction

“Sister, sister, show Emily how to play this!” My little, 3 years old cousin, was sitting on the sofa, her legs was dangling in mid air, calling out for me with her adorable, baby language.   She was playing the “Connect” mini game in an app called “Pou”. “You see this yellow pou, you connect him to the other yellow” – I said. With a serious face, her tiny hands were swiping back and forth on her very own Nexus tablet. “Good job Emily! Just like that you connect others color too. When everything is connected and there are no more spaces left, you win!” This is not an easy game nor I can think of any more simple explanation for her than that. For the first few tries, she only knew to connect corresponding color pous together in the fastest and most straightforward path. Of course, she couldn’t win with just that. I have to lead her exactly where to go. To my amaze, after a while, she was able to finish a game or two on her own, here and there, randomly. She might be lucky, but it was kind of cool, don’t you think? She didn’t even understood the game’s objective yet she still was able to make it on her own. It was the power of gaming that indirectly and visually teaches her what to do through trial and failure; the very powerful power that is capable of  getting a kid who could barely count through such complex puzzle.

Looking at her, I feel like I had came a long way with my life. I realize the distinct difference between my generation and her generation, which also known as the digital natives. They grow up and are fluent with technology like how they would eat and speak. Technology, internet, games are all essential parts of their ordinary life. According to Online Education statistic, 65% of US households play games and gamers are spending around 18 hours on average playing video game per week. Recently, noticing the outburst popularity of video games among kids, researchers starts to look into the beneficial of games and how to utilize it to help kids’ cognitive ability. There are many positive games out in the market already like Minecraft, SimCity, Tycoon Park, etc. Yet to most parents, gaming is a form of entertainment and is a bad tempting for kids because it is often associated with addiction, sedentary lifestyle, violence or anti-social behavior. Although, majority of digital immigrant like parents, educators, politicians perceive gaming as an unfamiliar concept with negative connotation and there is no empirical evidence that shows the effectiveness of game based learning, game based learning is actually designed with a predefined objective and well thought narrative through a powerful context in which students can freely in charge and utilize their applied thinking, dynamically interact with the system and get immediate feedback of their performance, motivate and engage with game play by a mechanism of a reward system while receiving the same educational contents.


In the article “Digital Games in Education”, it mentions an advantage of game based learning over the traditional education fashion is that it is capable of portray a powerful context in which students can engage in the virtual world and having conceptual experience instead of just passively learning definition. “Games are powerful contexts for learning because they make it possible to create virtual worlds, and because acting in such worlds makes it possible to develop the situated understandings, effective social practices, powerful identity, shared values, and ways of thinking of important communities of practice.” I would use engagement factor as one of my supportive evidence of how game based learning is beneficial.

Game based learning and Critical Thinking

Citation: Cicchino, M. I. (2015). Using Game-Based Learning to Foster Critical Thinking in Student Discourse. Interdisciplinary Journal Of Problem-Based Learning, 9(2)
Summary:  In this paper, Cicchino demonstrates a case study on how game based learning affects students’ critical thinking. The study is implemented to 8 Social Studies classes with total of 177 8th graders participators. Three classes are conducted with Game-based learning and other 5 classes are carrying out in traditional fashion.  The game implemented here is simulated based on the real American-Indian War. Students in group of 5 are expected to discuss strategy and win the war with their initial given possession. The dependent variable, or students’ critical thinking, is measuring through 5 aspects: off-task, initiation, negotiation, construction, and integration. The result, though perceives somewhat imbalance contributions from different groups, shows that game based learning is a potential innovation that could be flourished.
The similarities shared between GBL and problem solving in the way of honing individuals’ capacity “to use cognitive processes to resolve real, cross-disciplinary situations where the solution path is not immediately obvious” (OECD, 2003, p. 156) suggest that well-designed games may provide comparable learning benefits in the way of engagement and critical thinking skills. Given the structure of the GBL environment, one might even expect to see the development of flexible knowledge, effective problem solving skills, and intrinsic motivation (Hmelo-Silver, 2004). Consequently, a deeper understanding of GBL—how it affects student learning, engagement, and critical thinking in discourse—holds significant implications for educators.
Problem solving is one of the most essential skill yet the hardest to teach.  Cicchino is pointing out here that in order to progress in through a game based learning itself, gamer must utilize their logical, applied thinking and with well defined objective, game based learning can design to be a proper problem solving training. The significant difference that game based learning and our current education fashion is the realistic experience. It is true that textbooks are providing way far more details, in depth information; however, such information could be beyond necessary and unpractical to absorb and apply. In the other hand, game based learning approach cognitive training by giving out the challenge, or quest. Students, who then would have to engage oneself in that particular situation, are expected to inspect the current circumstances through their intuition and striving through the problems through their try-failed experience and thinking.
Squire, DeVane, and Durga’s (2008) study sought to create a community of expert players of Civilization III. Twelve participants, largely low SES African American 5th and 6th graders, were immersed in gameplay with the intentions of investigating how players might gain access to more sophisticated academic practices. These included historical content, vocabulary, “deeper” conceptual understandings, and problem solving skills. Participants demonstrated a strong grasp of historical content knowledge associated with the gameplay through researcher-administered pop quizzes. Moreover, the actions that players took during gameplay indicated growth in systemic expertise with regard to the workings of the game itself.
 Cicchino provides Squire, DeVane, and Durga’s case study as a brief example of the effective of game based learning. This case study looked at how twelve participants, who largely are African American 5th and 6th graders, perform in the game Civilization III. As the result, participants demonstrated critical thinking through their game-play strategy as well as strong historical knowledge. This example suggests that the mechanism of game require gamer to utilize their critical thinking skills in order to advance and complete the game. Moreover, with the historical context implemented throughout the game, Civillization III can be seen as a working educational tool that help in training critical thinking as well as teaching desired contents.

Google like a pro research post

Gros, B. (2007). Digital Games in Education: The Design of Games-Based Learning Environments, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 2007, 40(1), 23–38

In summary, researchers of the potential of games to support learning consider that games are not as good as other media for generating textual understanding. What they are able to do effectively is to promote conceptual learning, problem solving skills, co-operation, and practical participation. “Games are powerful contexts for learning because they make it possible to create virtual worlds, and because acting in such worlds makes it possible to develop the situated understandings, effective social practices, powerful identity, shared values, and ways of thinking of important communities of practice” (Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005, p. 7).

Wyld, D. C. (2009). Developing the “Gamer Disposition”: The Key to Training and Learning with the Digital Native Generation May be “Serious Games”…Seriously. Competition Forum, 7(2), 354-360

James Gee (2003), who is a Professor of Reading at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy, is adamant in calling video games “a much more powerful form of learning” than traditional classroom instruction. This is because “learning isn’t about memorizing isolated facts. It’s about connecting and manipulating them” (n.p.).

Both of these nuggets are unanimously agree that games offer a responsive platform where kids can flexibly practice and practical utilize their cognitive ability. The distinct feature between traditional education and game based learning is how learning outcomes and educational contents express through the mediums. The first passage from the article :Digital Games in Education: The Design of Games-Based Learning Environments” mentions the virtual world context within games allow users to apply situated understands and problem solving skills. Similarly,  in the second passage, Wyld underscores that “learning isn’t about memorizing isolated facts. It’s about connecting and manipulating them.” It is the conceptual experience that matters. Moreover, through a virtual world and complex design quest, kids also expect to cooperate and participate in the community. Skills like these can’t be conveyed in plain textual basis but to actually perform.

Video research nugget post

Ted (Ted Talks) and Gabe Zichermann. September 21 2012. Gabe Zichermann’s Talk, “Changing the Game in Education”. TEDxBerlin 2012 “Future 3.0”: October 28, 2015.

Ted talks is a nonprofit, global community that hold conference about variety topics ever since 1984. Through this well known and credible organization, many inspirational innovations are delivering to the public. In this video, Gabe Zichermann, an author, public speaker and expert in gamification field, is making his speech of how video games could help education. Some of Zichermann’s famous books are  The Gamification Revolution (McGraw Hill, 2013), Gamification by Design (2011) and Game-Based Marketing (2010). Therefore, I consider this video as a credible source.

But humans are doing machines. We do. That’s our nature. We do, whether it’s in athletics, or in all of our beautiful artistic and kinesthetic glory, we do. And it turns out that there is a core biological reason why we do. And it’s an amazing little neurotransmitter called dopamine. Any time you challenge yourself to something in the world, anything at all, and you achieve that thing, your brain secretes a little bit of this beautiful chemical called dopamine. Challenge, achievement, aaah… pleasure.


Zichermann believes that human nature is learning through doing. Whenever one overcome a challenge, a neurotransmitter in our brain known as dopamine would release and results a sense of achievement, a pleasure and intriguing feeling to want to continue such work again. When playing games, a significant amount of dopamine, or happy chemical, are releasing. Based on this fact, Wyld proposes in his Developing the “Gamer Disposition”: The Key to Training and Learning with the Digital Native Generation May be “Serious Games”…Seriously a role playing type of game could be used to simulate and offer kids with practical learning experience about real life. Gamer disposition game, or gamification in general, coordinate the “fun” nature of games itself together with the complexity that gaming technology can handle to create a learning environment where kids are engaged in their learning voluntarily and efficiently. Incorporate well defined objectives and reward system, various quests and challenges, along with vivid, powerful graphical storyboard, gamer disposition knows exactly how to spike up these dopamine levels.

Our greatest crime is that we ask this resource to sit down in one place for eight hours a day and stare straight ahead and listen to people droning on and on and on, and maybe read some stuff and write some stuff. Sit down and pay attention, won’t you? But isn’t that fundamentally opposed to our nature as doers? Look, we wouldn’t ask somebody or expect somebody to learn how to play the drums by reading about it on a piece of paper.


Zichermann argues that making kids passively sit down and listen to lecture is against human nature. Only dealing with definition is not always going to be the best way to learn. Learning by doing is our instinct. That was how we learn to crawl, to walk, to talk. We learn from trials and failure. And that is also what Wyld is trying to propose in Gamer Disposition games, gamer disposition game is like a virtual world, or our second life. It designs to portray multi-level problems realistically in order to allow kids to do what they deem to be right, see the consequences of their decisions, then learn from their mistakes, make better choices and achieve their goals. Game based learning is more than just making their study time fun. It is about practically engaging kids’ thinking in a predefined concept and giving them to time, space to figure out the right course of actions.


One example that Zichermann used in his speech is Mr Pai and a third grade class in White Bear Lake elementary school, Minnesota. Mr Pai, who is unsatisfied with the current education pedagogy, proposed to the school board a controversial idea to replace the reading and math curriculum of his class with games, computers and Nintendo DS. After 18 weeks, he transformed this class full of failing third graders in math and reading to a mid-4th graders’ levels with this new way of teaching. This small example is a real evidence on how game based learning could be a feasible pedagogy. With a right guidance from educators, games can totally be used as the new teaching platform and learning medium, just like how papers and books had once been a revolutionary element to human literacy.