Gaming Grandma Shirley

“I’m trying to get the idea across to people that gaming on YouTube isn’t just for young boys. It’s for girls and for older men and women, and I am here to stay. Just think all those young people who are gaming now — when they get old it will just be a natural thing for them to be there on YouTube.”

Aging with attitude: Gaming Grandma Shirley Curry

Isn’t that what lifelong learning is about? Giving people the skills and confidence to be able to go out there and learn whatever they want? Shirley Curry is doing more than that , though, if you read the article linked above. She is a highly successful gamer who works to her strengths. She likes talking and connecting with others and so she plays a social, leadership  role in the gaming community. Her videos get thousands of views and she has an impressive fan base. She is herself . She is learning. She can articulate her learning gaps and understand what she needs for the next step. She can see the value of her being an online gamer. It utilises her skills , it grows her skills but she can see she is helping others in different ways and one of the things she is currently advocating for is to use her model of online video clips to help vision impaired people become part of online gaming. She describes a lot in her videos. She is walking and talking her way through game plays very effectively. It means she is engaging others in an inclusive way and then she collaborates with them. She wants to vlog now and that is getting  that off the ground slowly. She has no fear of failure and doesn’t see skills lack as meaning she is inadequate. Just a fact. She needs to learn how to edit. She wants to learn how to vlog and knows there will be hiccoughs and problems until she gets it right. She knows how to reach out and get help. In turn she helps others . She understands the value of networking and connecting with others to grow knowledge . She worked with others to develop an action plan for learning both for herself and them. She can set goals and achieve them. This is what lifelong learning looks like. Shirley Curry has used her natural curiosity and love of talking with others become the cornerstones of a dynamic way of repackaging her skills so she can grow them. What is abundantly clear is that at 80 years old she is a happy learner.

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Web Design for Web Developers Course

Web Design for Web Developers When I first started the Web Design for Web Developers Course with Jonas Stedtmann on Udemy I wasn’t sure if it was going to be good or not. It starts off slowly and so I was wondering. By the end of the course I was really pleased and had learned a lot. This is the first Udemy course I have done which offers back up by way of downloads. I was able to download a free e-book by Jonas Stedtmann and then the slide presentation so Jonas is the only tutor so far who has given me things which I can use as resources after the course and to have my own copy of the slides is valuable because I can go back and check what he was saying about different aspects of the course content. For an online course that is helpful. The other courses I can log in and go back through the lessons while I am online. This is a beginners’ course but what you learn is really important to being able to produce better visual content online and , in a classroom, on an electronic board. I learnt about colour psychology, white spaces , font sizes, text presentation and image selection. Teachers are using technology and it is important to have some basic understanding of how you present electronic material or how you select good websites or how you can create effective digital presentations. There are basic skills you can learn which enhance and optimise digital presentations and for effective teaching and learning it is probably wise to learn them. I really enjoyed this course in the end because it was all useful and all usable. It opens your eyes and then Jonas very gently allows you to learn what you need to know.

Do video games make you smarter?

Well, yes, apparently they do. The video is worth watching to see the patterns of thought about this and how research has discovered some interesting benefits of gaming. We need more research and we need more information about how gaming helps us. We need to the opposite too. We need to look at how gaming can be detrimental. We need to understand it better because games are ubiquitous. They keep people online more than anything else on the Net and they make squillions. The money making aspect of it means developers know how to keep people engaged and part with their cash! As teachers we need to intervene and look at the educational benefits, the learning outcomes and how they improve thinking. This way games and gaming will have a steadying force. My own experience is not THE experience but I certainly find games challenge me to think more flexibly, present me with problems to solve which force me to think more creatively and  push me in directions I don’t want to go and so I have to develop a strategy to counteract that .Games build self confidence and decision making competencies.  I do not want to be a victim when I play games and actively combat that as I play games. I have found using gaming principles in class for the last two years has lifted the skills and knowledge levels of my students. I  have been able to engage them easily and we have a lot of fun as we are working hard. Games involve us and the rest of the planet so much we need to get a better picture of what they can and can’t do for us.

How’s the coding?

codecademy I have done about 15% of the codecademy course on Python. I plan to speed up a bit when I am on summer holidays and need to find something to do when it is really hot. I don’t suffer from the heat but you do need to stay inside and you do need things to take your mind off it sometimes. Coding is perfect because it is very absorbing. I have just completed the date/time section. I have done some syntax basics and then some strings. Coding has reminded me I have to be totally perfect ,exceedingly accurate and meticulous. There is no margin for error, no room for mistakes and it teaches me to be utterly logical and pay attention to detail. It really is all in the detail. One colon in the wrong place and it all falls apart. Confuse a colon with a full stop and it all falls apart. Codes simply will not work unless you have them perfectly accurate. Codecademy teaches that really well. At this stage I am taking small steps, am being guided and then encouraged to think for myself so I can put the learning to work. I could do with an easy look up menu to check certain aspects of coding. I need a glossary or menu so I can see quickly how to set the code. If I did it on a more regular basis some things would stick better because it is about habit and repetition. I cannot do that yet . I am happy with the fact codecademy puts each lessons in a small package so there is not too much to take on in any one sitting and it means I can still pursue it when I am busy. That is important with coding. It is easy to get swamped until you are on familiar ground and so gently getting yourself into it is a good approach in my opinion.

Benefits of technology

benefits of technologyKristina Hollis has a blog which specifically looks at teaching and technology. She has just written a post about the benefits of technology in a classroom because she has been studying it. I’ll let you read it for yourself:

Educational Technology – Affordances

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