Video Game Blog 2 – iCivics Immigration Nation

Video Game Blog 2 – iCivics Immigration Nation

In my first Video Game blog, I began writing about the experience I had playing iCivic’s Immigration Nation. After I explored the game more, I found some neat things that I would like to share. If you create an account with iCivics, you are prompted with the opportunity to save your in-game progress, unlock more achievements, and compete with friends on the leaderboards. I think this would be beneficial to a classroom! Competition may motivate students to put in a greater amount of effort.

The game begins by providing players with a short series of introduction statements, which explains the layout of the game, and even prompts students to think about what they will be doing while playing the game.

Players are provided the option of having assistance while playing the game, and they are also provided with the ability to play without guided help. The game provides a virtual assistant named “Liberty Belle” who is a little fairy, and ironically looks like the Statue of Liberty. I think it would be useful and beneficial for new players to play with guidance the first time playing. Although the game may seem straight forward, it is asking fairly particular tasks that need to be completed. I found it helpful to use the guided instructor the first time playing Immigration nation.

Once you complete the first few tasks, you may be prompted with a completion banner. There are 11 levels within the game. There are different categories you can be provided awards with. The categories include traffic delays, short trips, boats sent, on first try, and sights seen. There are two scores that are also provided on the award banner. These scores are referred to as “impact points.” Impact points include two subcategories, level score, and total score. The player will be able to view their impact points once they complete any given level. Players can also view their scores by clicking the box in the upper right corner of the gaming screen. Although, this may depend on what kind of device you are playing on. Throughout this blog series, I have been exploring Immigration Nation on a MacBook Pro. Immigration Nation is also available through Google Play and through the Apple App Store, which is comparable with Apples’s iPad products. I enjoy exploring different aspects of this educational video game!

McDonald’s Video Game

McDonald’s Video Game

This week I explored The McDonald’s Video Game. The game itself was interactive and engaging. It allows students to participate in a simulation that requires players to complete a series of actions that make up a process. For example, one of the simulations is ordering, preparing, and serving food at a restaurant. Another simulation is plowing and caring for a field of crops. The simulation invites students to explore the experience of running a company. I think this process is unique, because it provides students with the ability to explore different aspects of running a company. I enjoyed exploring The McDonald’s Video Game!

You may see this page when playing the McDonald’s Video Game! This is a screenshot I took while playing the game.

Video Game Blog 1 – iCivics: Immigration Nation

Video Game Blog 1 – iCivics: Immigration Nation

In exploring several educational video games, I came across Immigration Nation. Immigration Nation is a game established by iCivics. https://www.icivics.org/games/immigration-nation

I thought that Immigration Nation was unique amongst several of the other video games I had explored. The game prompts users with the following question: Do you know how people become citizens in the United States? In Immigration Nation, you’ll help guide newcomers along their path to citizenship. The game provides students with modes to select from, which alters the format of the games entirety. The user can choose either classic or puzzle mode. There are several other options that the game provides the user with, including, language (English or Spanish), hearing options (this includes mute, English voiceover, music and/or sound effects), and player support through the platforms new Decision Compass.

Immigration Nation provides students with the opportunity to participate in the course of events that a newcomer to the United States would encounter and experience. The foundation of the game prompts students with the ability to make decisions and truly engage themselves in the process of becoming a citizen of the United States.

The game masques the process of learning and transforms it into a gaming experience. The students are provided with prompts and questions, where they ultimately aid a newcomer become a citizen.

I think that the game provides students, particularly late elementary students, the opportunity to involve themselves in the process of citizenship, and allow them the ability to visualize the experience, rather than learning about immigration and the many processes involved in becoming a citizen from a textbook.

I remember my experience in late elementary school when learning about immigration. My elementary school held an immigration day, where our school was transformed into different countries, transportation systems, Ellis Island, and even ghettos. This experience really transformed my knowledge and allowed me to better visualize all that the process of gaining citizenship and immigration was truly like. I believe that Immigration Nation would be a great alternative to immigration day, especially considering the global pandemic, experiences like this are limited to students.

Overall, I am excited to explore the depths of Immigration Nation, and learn more about virtual experiences that children should take advantage of during the pandemic!

Here is a sample of some of the things you may see when exploring Immigration Nation!

Introduction ~

Introduction ~

Hello! My name is McKenna Ludrosky. I am from North Royalton, Ohio, which is about 30 minutes away from John Carroll.

My hobbies include spending time with my friends and family, skiing, and boating! I love watching sunsets and sunrises. On campus I am a member of Eta Kappa chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta. This semester, I hope to get involved in service!

I feel that I have been in a comfortable environment for the past few semesters due to being in such a small major. I have spent the majority of my time in classes with the same small group of girls. I feel comfortable exploring intellectual and creative risks, because I know it will be beneficial to my future.

In a world where we have come to depend on technology to provide students with an education, I have come to appreciate the value technology can provide us with. Before the global pandemic, I failed to view technology as a tool. This article I found describes the use of technology and the benefits it serves in classrooms.

https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/teachers-essential-guide-to-teaching-with-technology

I think it is appropriate to address this topic, especially with the topics that will be addressed in this course. I am excited to learn about the benefits of technology and learn about the many ways it can serve as a tool for our classrooms.

Question(s): Has the course been adjusted due to the events of COVID19? Will we address topics that are relevant to the changes taking place in present day classrooms due to the global pandemic?

Equality in Education

Equality in Education

This week, our learning community (LC) was assigned the reading titled, Equality in Education Law and Policy. More specifically, the learning experience that our group presented focused on Chapter 3, Equality in Education Law and Policy. Chapter 3 is titled, Brown and the Foundations of Educational Equality. In the process of deciding how to present our topic to the class, our Learning Community thought it would be best to divide the sections of the reading. After discussing the topics with my learning community, I was made responsible for two subchapters: Legislative and Executive Involvement in Desegregation, and The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The first section, Legislative and Executive Involvement in Desegregation, is about the federal government’s involvement in education and how it has changed through the years. The U.S. Department of Education was created in 1867, then later became the Bureau of Education. The Department’s main focus was on the collection and dissemination of educational statistics. The second part of the article was about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 entailed the rights of people in the United States of America. More specifically, the Act protected the rights of racial minorities. The Act was especially important to protect the rights of individuals affected by racial minority and segregation in the department of education. Another part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was Title VI. Title VI is something that defends the orderly achievement of desegregation in public education. “The assignment of students to public schools in order to overcome racial imbalance… without regard to their race, color, religion, or national origin. But explicitly clarified that such desegregation does not mean “the assignment of students to public schools in order to overcome racial imbalance.” “Congress inserted this clarification into the Civil Rights Act to alleviate opponents’ concerns that the law would mandate busing or other strategies that require integration rather than just prohibiting explicit segregation.” Title VI required that, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied in the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”  The federal government of the United States of America would provide funding to schools in the nation that followed the details of the Act. This power, put a tremendous amount of leverage over school districts. In 1964, the federal government provided $146 million to the school systems in seventeen different states that practiced the correct form of segregation in their schools. Regulations and guidelines of this government funding were further discussed and the guidelines ended up needing to be changed. In 1966, the guidelines articulated three major requirements for desegregation. “First, freedom-of choice plans would need to result in a doubling or tripling of school transfers on a racial basis. Second, plans would need to result in “substantial progress” in the desegregation of schools and teachers by requiring 16 to 18 percent of all African American students to attend predominantly white schools. Third, plans would need to close schools for African American students when they were inferior.” Overall, each minor detail that was changed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has helped shape our education system to what it is today.

Current Connections

Current Connections

The current event article I chose to connect to the reading, But That’s Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, written by Gloria Ladson-Billings, is a chapter from the book, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies, Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World. More specifically, I focused on chapter three of the book, which is called, Language and Culture as Sustaining. The reading from class mainly focuses on the idea of linking schooling and culture, culturally relevant pedagogy involving academic success, cultural competence, and critical consciousness. The paper reading opens by asking what culturally relevant pedagogy is. According to the article, there have been current attempts at improving conceptual pedagogy, which consists of subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. In hopes of reaching the right teaching strategies, Bartolome argued that, “humanizing pedagogy that respects and uses the reality, history, and perspectives of students as an integral part of educational practice” (pg. 173). The article concludes by touching on cultural relevant teaching in action. 

I chose a chapter from, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies, Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World, for several reasons. Within chapter three of the book, I found connections that currently connect to the idea of culturally relevant pedagogy. The beginning of the reading talks about a common theme of deficit which is, 

The notion that youth of color lack the language, the culture, the family support, the academic skills, even the moral character to succeed and excel. But the true deficiency lies with such commentators, who—despite draping themselves in the trappings of scholarship—rely on deeply problematic ideological assumptions rather than solid empirical evidence about the nature and experience of social inequality.

Results of this, unfortunately, fail to recognize the effects of structural racism and the community-based resources that are available to young people to counter what is happening. The next point is something I happen to strongly agree with. That is, one of the most important, as well as devalued resources that are available to the youth of color is their language! The reading focuses on the youth of color, but I believe this is something that is devalued to all of the youth. The greatest problem is that the youth feels devalued. This is because adults undermine the youths “professional” self-presentation and then blame the youth for actually destroying language. Adults have said that the youth misuse language in ways that are the following: uneducated, improper, illogical, sloppy, lazy, broken and ungrammatical. The way that adults have looked down in the youth for their language has done damage. It is unfortunate, because language is something that every human being has in common, no matter the origin of the language- it is a way of communication. I believe that students should feel comfortable in their own skin. It is important to make your students feel welcome in the classroom. A way I feel that is best to go about doing so is inclusion. This involves bringing material into the classroom that each individual student can personally connect to in some way, shape or form. We are all unique and should all be given the same welcoming feeling that any other students may feel in the classroom. 

Bucholtz, Mary, et al. “Language and Culture as Sustenance.” Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World, pp. 43–55.

But I’m Not Gay

But I’m Not Gay

The reading, But I’m Not Gay has to do with individuals in the classroom and how they can, cannot, are unable to or do not feel comfortable expressing themselves. In class we had a class discussion that we used to open up about whether or not the students in our class were comfortable enough to talk about the topic we covered in class. Everyone in the class seemed comfortable enough to talk about it, in the results that we saw on the survey. The big concern that everyone seemed to have was with how to go about talking about the topic that was covered in class. The first question we asked the class was to identify their definition of “queer theory.” After unfolding the many pieces of crumpled paper and reading them aloud to the class, it was clear that the majority of the class did not know what a clear definition of ‘queer theory’ was. So, to go about this, our group summarized the definition of queer theory, which was found at the top of the article in the first paragraph. The next question we asked the students in our class to answer was whether or not they were comfortable talking about this in class. It seemed as though, again, they did not want to speak out and say that they were uncomfortable speaking of such an uncommon topic that is often shunned. The first group I spoke to had all attended a private high school, elementary school or private middle school.Coming from the same background as me, we were able to talk and connect on the fact that many private Catholic schools shun the idea of anything besides a man and woman in a relationship, or something that is different than the sexual presentation and physical presentation granted to you by the Lord, which is as seen in the Holy Bible according to our religion. It was very interesting to be able to go around the room and speak to so many students and hear what they had to say about this topic. For me, it was personally interesting, because I understand that a lot of students believe in the same things that their parents do. For example, they adopt the ideas and values that their parents or guardians had, simply because it is what they had been used to seeing in their home growing up. I did ask several of the groups I spoke with. I was curious to see where they stood and where their parents stood on such a topic. Older generations tend to believe in the more traditional things, regarding this aspect of the conversation. I believe it is important to have your own ideas and values, along with your own opinions. Make your voice your own and make your life your own. I stressed this idea to the participants in the classroom, because I felt it was important, being that we are now adults. I believe it is important to understand that making our own decisions, having our own beliefs and values and simply owning up to our actions is our responsibility.

Kortez Test Prep

Kortez Test Prep

The reading, Queering Straight Teachers, by Kortez regards the topics of standardized testing and test prep. The article goes into depth about the good and bad types of test prep and specifics on each of the topics. We had a discussion regarding the topic of test prep during class. I feel that the majority of the class was on the same page, regarding test prep. The majority of the class had something negative to speak up about, in terms of the presence of test prep and standardized testing found in classrooms across the United States. I could see the passion in the room as our class discussed the ups and downs of test prep and standardized testing. Through explaining facts, personal experiences and stories from people in schools, we were able to discuss the topic of test prep and standardized testing in our schools. There are three types of bad test prep. In my experience through school, I have experienced reallocation within a subject as a form of test prep throughout my years in school. Reallocation within a subject is when time is reallocated to other resources within tested subjects to focus on content that is solely on the test. This is a bad technique that teachers use, because they tend to leave out information that is not on the tests. This is negative because students will not have the knowledge that was not provided to them by their teacher. Overtime, students go through school learning bits and pieces of topics, so they can focus on what is important.’ In all reality, all the information students are being provided with is useful and beneficial to the greater and broader education and knowledge. From my experience with reallocation within a subject, I feel that teachers pursue this form of test prep with good intentions only. It is understandable that teachers want to see their students succeed and do well on their tests. Although, as previously stated, this can be destructive to the education of the student. Students are required to learn specific content each and every year. If teachers are skimping on some topics and taking time for the topics that are solely on the test, they are setting their students up for failure in the future. The above also supports my reasoning as to why test prep methods corrupt the idea of good teaching. The test prep method that was just described is a selfish way for a teacher to have their students succeed. It may seem like the students are doing well when they get their test scores back, but they are still lacking the information that was skipped or just dabbled on, so there would be room in the year to teach the ‘key lessons.’ The point of testing is to get an idea of where a student is, on the average of other students in his/her class. I do think there should be a method to determine the general level that a student is at. I do not believe standardized testing is the way to do so. There are many underlying issues with test prep and standardized tests/testing. If there is a way to evaluate students, without the use of testing, I believe we could see more specifics on what students are excelling and lacking in. A test does not identify the success of a student.

Reflection on Service Oct 15

Reflection on Service Oct 15

Personally, service thus far has been an amazing experience. For this semester, I am doing service at Hope Alliance Bible Church in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. The program involves tutors and mentors to children whom grow up in single family households. Throughout the program thus far, I have worked with the children twice. The first time at service was an introduction to the volunteers, kind of like an orientation. This orientation was a nice way to welcome the volunteers into the new environment. Each evening, post doing homework with the children, we are all treated to a homemade dinner. The food is provided by a local food bank. I believe this is a good way to bond and connect with the children brought to Hope Alliance Bible Church. The children are brought to the church by their parents, grandparents or other legal guardian.

Hope Alliance Bible Church has placed me with a young first grader. He has been amazing to work with thus far. Each time he has came to service, we have worked on homework, read a book or two, ate dinner and then played a game. From the moment I met this young boy, I knew I would enjoy coming and helping him with his homework. Although, when I first met him, he was quite shy. As the weeks have gone on, he seems to be more comfortable and open to conversation with me, as well as the other tutors.

Last semester I was at the Saturday Tutoring Program, this program went through Case Western Reserve University. The two programs were similar in which they both involved tutoring young children. They were very different from one another. At the Saturday Tutoring Program, we were able to work with a different child every week. This meant that we were unable to connect with the same child and get to know them on a deeper level. I think it is important for a child to have someone to look up to and depend on to be there for them every week, if they do not have someone at home that can do that for them. The two programs differ, because at Hope Alliance, it feels like the volunteers are working with you. At the Saturday Tutoring Program, it seems as though the heads of the program pressure the volunteers to be on task 110% of the time, which is nearly impossible when working with possibly two children. Another part about the program is that it is possible to get two children during tutoring. I do not believe this is good for the kids, because they do not get as much personal attention from the tutor, as they would with one tutor. At Hope Alliance Bible Church, it seems as though the adults want you to do your best with the kids. They understand that the children come straight from school to tutoring, so they have a lot of energy in their systems. Hope Alliance also incorporates the importance of faith into the program. The program has each child pray before their meal to thank their Lord for the meal they are gifted with. I believe it is good for the Catholic program to push their faith on the children at such a young age. This is the best way for the kids to begin getting an understanding of their faith.

Overall, my experience of service at John Carroll University has been an amazing experience. I am thankful for the opportunity to work at the places I have been involved at. I cannot wait to continue my service and grow in my learning as an educator as I work with, tutor and mentor these children!

Current Connection: Wide Awakeness

Current Connection: Wide Awakeness

The article I used to synthesize the article, “Wide-Awakeness and the Moral Life, is an article called, “Measuring Student Attention in the Second Language Classroom.” I took a different approach to looking at this article. Instead of looking at the attention of a student learning a second language, I approached the article by imagining that the student is learning their first language, but the teacher is approaching to learn their second language. I looked at the article this way, because I feel it is important for us, as future educators, need to understand the importance of how to teach in the classroom. This is how I pictured the scenario of a teacher learning their second language, and the student learning their first. For example, as teachers, we will know and thoroughly understand the topics we will be teaching our students. Our students have never seen the content we are readily prepared to teach to them. This is the aspect of first language. While students are seeing and hearing this content for the first time, they see it in a much different way than we do, as educators. I find it important to speak to our students in a way that reassures them that it is okay to ask questions and be confused- that this is all part of the learning process. I find it essential for educators to show their patience through their teaching, to show their students that we are there, as educators, to help them every step of the way. We are here to guide them and prepare them for their futures. It is a common misconception from students that teachers are there to set them up for failure. It is my goal to help students change their thoughts on school. One day, as an educator, I hope to be so excelled in my teaching that I am able to talk to students and teach them in an environment where they are excited to learn and feel confident to ask questions or raise their hand. This second language of teaching does come with time, but will change each year with each student. I understand that each child is different, has unique traits and special talents/ qualities. Teachers need to recognize this as an ongoing process, each and every year. The article discusses how to keep students awake and aware during class. There are some factors involving a students awakeness that is in their control and others that are out of their control. For example, a student’s fatigue is a factor that is unable to be controlled by a teacher. Other factors like teacher talk is within the power of the educator. Teacher talk is the voice of the educator within the classroom. Teacher talk is important, because it involves changes in the monotone of the teacher’s voice, gestures and facial expressions. A student is more apt to be awake and aware in a class with a teacher who shows excitement in their body language and voice, rather than a teacher who still seems to be asleep and showing no enthusiasm towards learning. I believe the teacher plays a large role in the classroom when it comes to the engagement of their students.

Hlas, Anne Cummings, et al. “Measuring Student Attention in the Second Language Classroom – Anne Cummings Hlas, Krista Neyers, Sarah Molitor, 2019.” SAGE Journals, 16 June 2017, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1362168817713766.