Kodu Trials Celebration 11 December 2009 Evaluation of the Trials Ian Phillips, I & J Management Services.
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Kodu Trials Celebration 11 December 2009 Evaluation of the Trials Ian Phillips, I & J Management Services
Why evaluate? Evidence base for making decisions Does this program make a difference? Should we invest further? How can we do it better? Feedback to stakeholders Participants: students, teachers Sponsors: school, DEECD, Minister. So what do we want to know? Impact on kids Impact on teachers Impact on schools and the education system.
What did you say? “I am still trying to work with the school technician to successfully install Kodu on school computers. I have loaded the program only to find that the graphics aren't compatible. I then download appropriate graphics and Kodu gets wiped from the computers. The technician is having issues with the program as well. It is not user friendly to set up and install, and can be extremely frustrating. It is resource hungry. There needs to be a seamless installation process so that the program finds what it needs – checking installation capability before going through the whole process only to find it doesn't work. On the positive side, the kids love Kodu.”
What did you say? “Integration and resources are no problem, as this has been made easy through the school’s amazing ICT coordinator.” “The students have clicked with how Kodu works more quickly than I have due to their experience with XBox and PlayStation games.” “It is obvious that I, as the teacher, need to know more about Kodu so that I can take my students' learning to a deeper level.”
What did you say? “Many of the students are more self motivated to problem solve and more focused on achieving goals.” “All of the boys in my class have shown an increase in motivation, especially for literacy activities that require them to reflect on or write about Kodu.” “There has been a dramatic, HUGE improvement in all children's willingness and interest in using ICT.” “XXX has totally turned around in his attitude to school as he can identify with the XBox controllers, plays XBox games often and is not feeling threatened.”
What did you say? “This project is particularly having an impact on two Year 3 boys selected to be a part of the 'expert group' to teach skills to others. These boys are not particularly academic. They can be hard to motivate when asked to do tasks that they do not enjoy. However, through this project, not only are they totally engaged in what they are doing, but the responsibility of teaching others has had a huge impact on their self-esteem – they are beginning to see themselves as 'experts' and learners for the first time.” “I noticed a difference in the behaviour of some of my difficult students. They loved Kodu and wanted any opportunity to use it, so they controlled their behaviour more. XX1 became a class leader peer tutoring others. XX2 (a very difficult student), was highly motivated and XX3 (who rarely attends school) has improved his attendance greatly this term. I believe Kodu excited the boys more, though my girls were very interested in using the XBox controllers and being leaders within the school.”
What did you say? “Responses ranged from … ‘I just want to play the games’ to ‘I will make the best game ever’.” “I found that the students who did not have the required knowledge and skills to use this do not enjoy Kodu.” “One student is anxious that we will be wasting valuable learning time on playing games.” “Many of my enthusiastic students are losing interest in Kodu and consequently losing interest in completing work in class.” (Secondary)
What did you say? “Please don't release this to schools until all these issues are sorted out!!!!!!!”
What did you say? “The more my students explore Kodu and the more I see their abilities develop, the more I think that Kodu could be used in a Prep classroom to increase critical and creative thinking skills in students.” “I have seen real potential for learning through this software: meta- cognition, thinking mathematically and problem-solving strategies.” “The knowledge spreads like wildfire – as soon as one figures out how to do it, they are all adding it to their own games. Kodu is developing a learning community!!!” “The level of integration of Kodu into the curriculum is dependant on the ability of the teacher to match pedagogy with the software.”
What have we learned? “Throughout this trial I have seen students who are hard to motivate grow in confidence and change their attitudes towards school. They have taken on leadership roles in participating in an ‘expert' group. They were able to step up and teach their peers something, a role they previously would never have had the opportunity to do. Students have really had to think hard about problem solving, and learn persistence in not giving up when things don't work. They have had to be resilient when the software crashed. They have had to learn and negotiate teamwork skills, and they have had to recognise that there are no longer 2 or 3 teachers in the room, but 51. We have hardly scratched the surface with what our students have been able to do creating a game during this time, as the learning opportunities for negotiation, teamwork, engagement, peer teaching, communication, collaboration and problem solving have taken over. We expected to learn how to create a game and we ended up learning how to be 21 st century learners.”
Learning that is authentic, student-centred, engaging and fun contributes to improved student attitudes to learning and behaviour. All of this contributes to improved learning outcomes The ability to use technology effectively as part of teaching and learning requires IT skills, resources and most importantly time. The more familiar we become with technology and how to use it, the more we can see the potential implications for the wider curriculum, our peers, other schools and the education system. What have we learned?