FETC: Game Based Learning and Gamification Workshop

Posted on Feb 1 ,2017

Posted in Conferences, Evaluating EduTech, FETC 2017, Integrating EduTech

On Friday January 27, 2017 I hosted a workshop at the Future of Educational Technology Conference in Orlando, Florida. The workshop surrounded  the benefits and challenges of using Game-Based Learning and Gamification in the classroom. Together we walked through The Bunz Model, explored several examples of applications I have used within the classroom, and then worked at creating our own plans of integration. I was very honoured to be given this opportunity and I look forward to hosting more workshops in the future.

Below is a link to the Powerpoint I used during the presentation. If you would like me to come and do a workshop at your school or professional learning group, please contact me through the contact form on this website!

Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Gamification and Game-Based Learning: Benefits, Challenges, Solutions

Posted on Apr 29 ,2016

Posted in Conferences, Connect 2016, Current Research, Evaluating EduTech, Integrating EduTech

Gamification and Game-Based Learning

On Thursday April 28, 2016 I presented at Connect: Canada’s Learning and Technology Conference on the benefits and challenges of using Game-Based Learning and Gamification in the classroom. Together we walked through the Rebecca’s Path of Effectively Integrating Educational Technology and then using Answerables and Prodigy, two educational technology tools, we explored examples of this path in action. I was very excited to have such a good turnout and I hope everyone that participated was able to take something back to the classroom with them. If you were unable to make it, I will be expanding this into a workshop for some conferences in the future, stay tuned for dates!

Below is a link to the Powerpoint I used during the presentation. If you would like me to come and do a workshop at your school or professional learning group, please contact me through the contact form on this website!

Gamification and Game-Based Learning: Benefits, Challenges, Solutions

The Pedagogy Wheel V4.1

Posted on Apr 4 ,2016

Posted in Current Research, Evaluating EduTech, Integrating EduTech

Recently I have been immersed into research related to the backwards design, evaluating educational technology, integrating educational technology, student engagement, and student achievement. Today, I came across pure gold and could not wait to share it with you. Through the work of Paul Hopkin, Sharon Artley, Kathwohl and Anderson (2001) adaption of Bloom (1956), and Kathy Schrock, Allan Carrington created the Pedagogy Wheel V4.1! It incorporates Bloom’s Taxonomy and the SAMR model along with descriptors and some examples to help visually depict where Apps should be placed within the SAMR model. It even gives some criteria on the side to aid the process.

Pedagogy Wheel

Using Emerging Technologies to Evaluate Digital Tools

Posted on Mar 10 ,2016

Posted in Current Research, Evaluating EduTech


The NMC Horizon Project identifies emerging technologies likely to have an impact in education over the coming five years. The report in 2013 included the following:

Near- term Horizon (within 12 months: 2014)

  1. Cloud Computing (cloud based applications such as Google Docs)
  2. Mobile Learning (tablets, smartphones)

According to an article written in The Journal in 2014, almost all middle and high school students in the United States have access to mobile devices for schoolwork. Around 89% of high school students and 73% of middle school student have access to smartphones. In addition, 66% of middle and high school student have access to lap-tops and 61% (50%) of middle (high) school students have access to laptops. Interestingly, about 1/3 of these devices was issued by their school (Nagel, 2014). Click here to read the full report.

Therefore, it is clear to see that both of these predications have come to fruition. With the popularity of iPads, Chromebooks, and Laptops within schools, it is safe to say that mobile learning and cloud based applications have integrated into general school life in one way or another.

Mid-term Horizon (within 2 – 3 years: 2015 – 2016)

  1. Learning Analytics (using student related data to customize the student learning experience)
  2. Open Content (free online learning materials and resources)

Far-term Horizon (within 4 – 5 year: 2017 – 2018)

  1. 3D Printing
  2. Virtual and remote Laboratories (online virtual experiment’s or laboratories)

Based on the LaunchEdu Finalists at 2016 SXSWEdu (South by South West Education Conference) in Texas, it is hard to say whether the Mid-term or Far-term Horizon emerging technologies are aligned with the latest advances in education. Out of the 10 finalists only two of the Startups matched to one of the technologies outlined by Horizon to likely enter mainstream use from about 2015 to 2018. Expii Inc is designed to personalize learning by mapping your knowledge and guiding you through an educational path to where you have indicated you want to go. Paragon One also personalising learning by creating an adaptive platform that guides international students to careers in the US and abroad. The other Startups surround gamification, game-based learning, student engagement, or connecting the classroom to the outside world. (Click here to see the full list of LaunchEdu Finalists)

So how does this relate to my research? As educators it is important to remember that, regardless of what the new emerging technology is, it needs to have a connection to educational pedagogy that we know impacts student learning. If a type of technology is fast becoming popular within education and is proven to have an impact on student learning, then we need to find out why. That is what evaluating technology is all about. We need to be evaluating technology to determine why and how it impacts student learning so that we know what to look for or design for in the future. This in turns helps educators determine what technology is most beneficial in education. What technology do you use in your classroom? Does it have an impact student learning? Why? How do you know?

Acquiring Educational Technology: Identifying, Evaluating, and Integrating

Posted on Feb 25 ,2016

Posted in Current Research, Evaluating EduTech, Integrating EduTech

Fostering Market Efficiency in K-12 Ed-Tech Procurement is a report from Johns Hopkins University in partnership with the education industry association (Morrison, Ross, Corcoran, & Reid, 2014). The purpose of this report was to examine how schools identify, evaluate, and acquire educational technology. In addition, the study wanted to look at how efficient this process was and what factors increase or decrease this efficiency. Through their research, Morrison et al. (2014) developed 5 Action Points that make up the typical process in acquiring educational technology.

  1. Action Point I: Budget and funding for Educational Technology.
  2. Action Point II: Assessment of needs for Educational Technology.
  3. Action Point III: Finding educational technology that address those needs.
  4. Action Point IV: Evaluation of educational technology for effectiveness.
  5. Action Point V: Acquiring the product

The study then goes through each action point with key findings and ways of improving the efficiency of the process along with other comparisons (Click here to read the full report). My research on evaluating education technology fits in mostly with Action Points III and IV.

Morrison et al. (2014) found that there was a challenge identifying products that meet educator’s instructional needs. Due to constant changes and advancements in technology, as well as the sheer number of products available, it is difficult to keep up with the latest available tools. Additionally, it is challenging for providers to promote their product, especially those who are less established in the market. Possible solutions included creating a national website with information on available products, creating a network where stakeholders can meet to share information, and connecting providers with educators (Morrison et al., 2014).

Once an educational technology product is identified, it needs to be evaluated for effectiveness in addressing the instructional need advertised, usability, cost, and other factors (Morrison et al., 2014). However, Morrison et al. (2014) found that there was no readily accessible source of evidence on the effectiveness of educational technology products from sources apart from the providers. Therefore, school districts depend on recommendations and word of mouth information from participants in pilot studies or by conducting their own field tests.

Through this report, Morrison et al. (2014) identified many areas within the process of acquiring educational technology that need to be addressed in order to make sure the most efficient products are being used within our schools. However, we should not stop here. As I have said before, it is not enough to just acquire an educational product and say go. Educators need to be assisted in integrating this product into their classroom. Even if an educator has gone through all these steps and found a tool that meets their instructional need, is cost effective, will work with the network they have available to them, and received the proper funding to acquire the product, it needs to be properly integrated within the classroom and used to its potential, or the tool will not work.

This is the basis for my research! Through this blog, my twitter, and my research projects, I want to create a handbook for teachers and school districts to help them through the process of acquiring, evaluating, and integrating educational tools to their full potential. If you have comments, information, or ideas to help me along this journey please contact me through this blog, I would be more than happy to listen to all that you have to say.

Other Posts You May Be Interested In

80,000 to 1: Where do you Start?

Evaluating Digital Tools

Evaluating Early Literacy Apps

7 Steps to Evaluate an App

5 Ways to Integrate Technology into Your Classroom


Morrison, J. R., Ross, S. M., Corcoran, R. P., & Reid, A. J. (2014). Fostering market efficiency in K-12 ed-tech procurement: A report from Johns Hopkins University to digital promise in partnership with the education industry association.