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Podcast on Maslow

I have been listening to the TED radio and there is some thought-provoking episodes. I particular, Maslow’s Human Needs and Re-thinking Schools.

The TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centred on a common theme – such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections.

Method: Critical Discourse Analysis

I have been working with undergraduates, exploring Critical Discourse Analysis as a method to critique government policy. They have found it a mindset change from the more traditional structure of research, but they enjoyed the detective work of finding out who wrote the policy, who was the audience and who were the hidden voices. We used Huckin’s Framework for Critical Discourse Analysis (Grbich, 2013), which splits the evaluation into two parts, Identifying and Interpretation. It maybe something you want to explore in your research. You can see CDA in action in article on my website at:

HE Assessment Conference – 28/29 June 2017 – Manchester

I recently attended the Assessment in Higher Education Conference in Manchester, hosted by the University of Cumbria. There was a large selection of presentations and workshops from across the University Sector in the UK, Europe, USA and Austrialia.
The first session I attended discussed the use of ‘Concepts inventories’ as assessment of learning gain – University of British Columbia

They explained how they had moved from lectures to more inquiry based learning – Justified through the development of skills

The University of British Columbia used the following framework:

1. Formulate the question
2. Lead them to resources and compile evidence – come up with proposal
3. Evaluate information and synthesise

Students worked in groups of 4 and the content is not fixed, therefore assessment an issue. Muli-faceted assessment had to be implemented, as they cannot rely on exam.

First year students – like doing a full scale research – with a group

1. Use online information and quizzes to support development and formative feedback.
2. Oral proposal and discussion (assessed similar to presentation)
3. Assessed via individual articles
4. Exam specific to their topic areas

The exam is made up of a concept inventory – with built in distractors (wrong answers) built around the common misconceptions – based on confidence in content handling.

There is a need for repeating the performance (soft skills) – cannot just do it in the module. Enhancing digital literacy and employability through portfolios assessment

Dawn Nicholson Manchester Met University (Geography)

Manchester Met made used of wordpress to develop a portfolio. However, they did suffere from lack of engagement in the weekly tasks as the driver in the use of eportfolios.

They had a dedicated learning technologist in a weekly workshop to support students.
Used Trello as a step-by-step guide
Belbin team roles as a spreadsheet (!)

Same issues and benefits as we found.
– They made the students make the tutor adminstrator so the tutor could see any changes made and the development of the portfolio.

* -Sloane university used wordpress and said that they used a screencast of the learner talking through the wordpress site and submitted that.
* Perhaps we could get our Masters/BA dissertation students to screencast their proposals?

– Consitency menu/content created/uploaded by the students e.g. Structure/template?
– Any issues of rigour in academic writing? Plagiarism?
– How did you get through uni regulations?



Using posters for formative and summative assessment

Little empirical research on the use of posters for assessment (Sadler, 1989) – lots of how-to-guides and reports on innovation. Issues raised include student puzzlement and rigour.

Sadler states that students need to see a concept of the work looks like and the criteria to allow them to reach that standard. The lecturer offered three models of posters; one graded at 50%, one at 60% and one at 70%

They used them on a Introduction long thin module- component 1: poster submitted after first term. The topic was to based on a particular article or book. Supported by component 2: an essay.

Last year’s issues – LOs not clear, Students found it an issue to choose a topic and they had not been given a chance to practice.

This year:
* Explained the role of posters
* Be clear poster format
* Session on how to actually read a journal article
* 4 articles on 3 themes
* Students worked in a group to produce a formative poster on 2 articles
* Poster workshop 1 min pitch
* Seminar discussion
* Whole group feedback comments on posters strength and weaknesses
* Must have clear grading criteria in advance
* Students continued to ask how much text and detail is needed – need to emphasise the KEY ISSUES
The department covered the printing costs

Gamification overview for NQTs

Summary Note:

Why do we play?

Impressive number of studies on serotonin and oxytocin release during game and gamification engagement – there is research linked to Mine’s work.

Psychological studies have shown that gamers often experience altruistic encounters in video games, as more experienced players help “newbies”.

Being there without being there (simulation)

Creativity, creative thinking and problem solving – competition AND Socialising


What is Gamification?

Overlaying Game Mechanics onto real world scenarios or activities


Principles of Gamification

• Achievement
You can show this through design elements like a high score table, progress bar or a digital badge

• Competition
There should be an element of competition for the user either against themselves to beat a personal best, a computer opponent or a real opponent

• Fun
Your gamification design should have an element of fun, after all that is the essence of any game. There is a difficult balance in making a game accessible for anyone to use, but with enough challenge to keep the user motivated, while maintaining the fun (see Candy Crush app for a good example)

Does it exist? Is it just good learning design?

‘Crap LMS overlaid with crap gamification just won’t cut it any more!’ – @donaldclark


Who is playing games?

Average age of gamers in the UK – 57% players in the UK are male and 43% female. The largest single age/gender demographic is 15-24 year-old males ( )

Mobile games have a lot to answer for – 47% of UK smartphone owners use apps on their phones to play games – more that use apps for online banking (40%) or reading the news (33%) ( )

University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine what to avoid ‘default mode error’ and increase problem solving by offering 3 plausible solutions to consider

Financial service creating games to teach risk-assessment

There are a couple of examples of early years research from the Australia (Tootell and Freeman) and Canada (Nolan and McBride)
What are the elements of Gamification?

• Scenarios
• Challenges
• Rewards / Level up – Jacqui’s was better, you are a level 2 origami master
• Feedback – OfSTED handbook ‘planning next steps’
• Chance to Fail – developing resilience
• Social – connected to other children and adults

You can see how these link to the neural level, as mentioned by Mine

4 mistakes – too many rewards, doesn’t fulfil learning objectives, focuses only on competition, game mechanics are faulty.
How do we apply Gamification to learning?

Scenario-based pedagogy / Experiential pedagogy / Role-play

Recording the 3D elements of play in early years – avoiding intervention

Parental engagement

You must strike a balance between behaviourist/extrinsic gaming and cognitive/intrinsic gaming
Tools to use
– ClassDojo ( )
– Kahoot ( )
– SMS-based games (Aberdeen University, Bradford College)
– Learning Management Systems or Virtual Learning Environments

• Time consuming to set up
• Maintaining motivation
• Fun vs Learning
Further Reading:

Dichev, C. and Dicheva, D. (2017). Gamifying Education: what is known, what is believed and what remains uncertain: a critical review. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 14(9) 1-36

Dominguez, A. Saenz-de-Navarrette, J., De-Marcos, L., Fernandez-Sanz, L., Pages, C. and Martinez-Harraiz, J. (2013). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers & Education 63 380-392

Hamari, J., Koivisto, J. and Sarsa, H. (2014). Does Gamification work? A literature review of the empirical studies on Gamification, in Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS

Kapp, K. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education. San Fransisco: Pfeiffer

Turan, Z., Avinc, Z., Kara, K. and Goktas, Y. (2016). Gamification in Education: Achievements, Cognitive Loads and Views of Students. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning 11(7) 64-69 on gamification in education –

Gamification in maths –

Gamification Neuroscience to reduce decision error -

Business simulation game –

Gamification mistakes –

Make games using PHASER –

ClassDojo –

Kahoot -

Reading list –

Blogs make assessment grading fun!

It is that time of year again, I am trawling through (virtual) piles of marking from the different cohorts I have worked with this semester. However, I am really enjoying marking the blogs my BA Ed Studies group have written for the ‘Digital Learning for Educators‘ module.

The quality of the work varies, as with all groups, but each one demonstrates the journey they have taken to increase their skills and confidence in using digital resources in learning.

Abubukor and Arsalan, in particular, made me smile while reading their post about the use of Periscope to broadcast live lectures,



It was a joy to read through Ibrahim’s blog, documenting his journey through digital technology –  It was clear that his confidence to use and critique digital resource grew throughout the course.

Throughout the course, the learners were encouraged to blog after each session (virtual or physical) and reflect on the digital tools used. During the assessment, I saved a snapshot of each of the learner’s blogs and ran them through a plagiarism detection software before assessing them against a rubric I developed to assess the clarity and use of multi-media in the blog, and the academic quality against the module learning objectives.

Podcast from on Gamification

An excellent podcast on Gamification by the e-learning coach, Connie Malamed, featuring Professor Karl Kapp. The podcast tries to define gamification, discusses the differences between simulation and games, and engagement. Find out more about the broadcast at: or just listen


I will certainly be looking into some of the gamification platforms he suggested to continue my research in gamification in education.