Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chapter 7: Problem Solving and Inquiry Learning with Software and Web Tools

Focus Question:

What are intelligent tutoring systems and how can students and teachers use them successfully?

     Intelligent tutoring systems, or ITS, are software programs that promote inquiry learning by students through computer responses to student actions.  This means that the software records the students responses to questions and then makes predictions about what users know and do not know.  Then, the software focuses on the types of problems that it determines the student needs the most help with.  
     Students and teachers can use the ITS just as they would a normal human tutor.  Teachers can assign students to use a ITS in order to help evaluate where that student is as far as understanding certain subject matter.  Students themselves can take advantage of the very convenient tutor.  

Tech Tool Link: Scratch

     Scratch is a website that allows the user to make his or her own games, animated stories, and interactive art.  Scratch is useful for both students and teachers.  Scratch allows students to "follow their own initiatives, learning from those activities with feedback and support from the teacher."  The site is useful in that it allows for students to learn by doing.  Students are in effect teaching themselves while being imaginative and creative.  The site itself is very inviting.  It is colorful and has some of the most popular games and videos posted right on the home page.  The viewer can also look through the gallery or forums to find something of interest.  If the viewer is having trouble getting started, there is also a link on "Getting Started" so any confusion is quickly cleared up.

Summary and Connections:

     This chapter was full of useful information on learning tools that help students grow.  I found the chart on Digital Games for Learning (Table 7.5) the most interesting.  This chart provides a list of useful digital learning games and a description of each game while listing potential grade levels.  On the list, there are games such as Quest Atlantis, Restaurant Empire, and River City.  All are interactive games that students can enjoy.  SimCity Societies is also a game listed.  I found this funny seeing as it is a game that I know myself.  I never thought of it as an educational game, but now I see its relevance.  SimCity allows the player to "Play God" or "Play Mayor" and see the outcome of their decisions.  The player is also able to build the city in such a way as to inspire lawfulness or lawlessness.  I found the chart quite enjoyable.  

Above is a short (10 minute) video on how to get started with SimCity Societies.


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5 

Scratch. Lifelong Kindergarten Group.  Web. 24 Feb 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Gaming is such an underused tool in the classroom - partially because it does not always seem to have a learning connection, but so many quality games really do! The chart you reference would be a 'keeper' for exploration as you move into your own classroom.