Undoubtedly, virtual reality has been one of the most discussed topics between educators since the past year. Multiple applications try to exploit its characteristics in order to enhance students’ learning process.
VirtualSpeech is an application which through scenarios and a wide range of language situations, aims to use the virtual reality to teach foreign languages. Besides English the user can choose between the following languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Chinese. Russian, Japanese, Italian and Korean are soon to be released.
Originally the app was developed to help people learn English through simulations of the English culture and landmarks. The idea behind this was to create a more exciting way of learning in a virtual environment. Research shows that visual representations help in maintaining information and learning new vocabulary (Jones, 2010). In addition the use of images helps in making abstract ideas more specific to students.
Below are listed the categories that the user can pick from.
Experience Culture: Virtual Reality (VR) is the possible solution for creating genuine language learning environments in EFL countries for a variety of reasons. The most beneficial part of using VR is the creation of those situations that simulate the physical environment through digital representation (Chen & Chen, 2016). London, Cotswolds, Warwick, Cornwall and many other British places are available to visit.
Vocabulary: The user is asked to locate various objects in beautiful and well-designed rooms. Despite the fact that we really liked this option it should be mentioned that the free version of the app includes only room.
Audiobook Chapters: The user can choose to listen to renowned books such as Treasure Island or Alice in the Wonderland. Of course, it would be an addition if moving or static images could be added as to enhance the student's involvement.
Basic Tenses: The player interacts with different shapes and objects trying to put them in order while creating sentences. Each object represents a single word. At the moment the user can choose from Present Simple, Past Simple and Future Simple.
Numbers: A realistic space ship simulation game in which the player tries to maneuver his spacecraft to the right number. It's not just a language learning game, but it certainly enriches the whole experience.
Roleplaying Speeches: It is a fact that through virtual reality it is possible to simulate situations that would be either too expensive or unfeasible to perform (Dávideková, et al., 2017). On this axis the user can simulate a speech, an interview, make a reservation for a hotel etc. It is a fact that there is no feedback based on what is said, but this may have had dubious results and would certainly require some financial consideration such as the purchase of the application.
Rewards and statistics: Finally, it is possible to record some of the user's achievements which are earned after completing certain activities.
Language VR will help teach English language and culture by providing photorealistic virtual reality environments to students to talk, listen, interact, and ultimately play.
The application is fully compatible with Google Cardboard and is available for Android, IOS, and GearVR devices. You can find out more here https://virtualspeech.com/
Chen, X. and Chen, M. (2016). The Application of Virtual Reality Technology in the EFL Learning Environment in China. Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Sensor Network and Computer Engineering.
Dávideková, M., Mjartan, M. and Greguš, M. (2017). Use of Virtual Reality in Education of Employees in Slovakia. Computer Science, 113, pp. 253-260.
Jones, A.D. (2010). Science through photography. Science through photography. Science and Children, 47 (5), 26-30.
The gamification of learning is a modern, student friendly, efficient way of teaching and deliving content. This approach uses the elements and characteristics of video games to transform teaching in a way that will greatly affect students' engagement.
Νearpod is an extremely powerful presentation tool. It allows teachers to create digital lesson plans, share it with students during class, and track individual progress. Lessons are comprised of teacher-created slides that can include text, video, images, websites, questions, quizzes, polls, and assignments. Teachers can use Nearpod effectively in the classroom to support student learning in a variety of ways. Give students opportunities for interaction and immediate feedback by having them draw on a map, respond to a poll question, post to a collaboration board, or take a multiple-choice quiz. Besides, teachers can incoroprate virtual reality trips and 360° views into their slides using the build-in capabilities the Nearpod offers. By watching videos and reviewing notes students can review the key concepts of the lesson. In addition they are able to follow the lesson on their own devices at their own pace or teachers can lead a synchronized session where students can follow the lesson in real-time. This way the learners become active participants in their education while teachers get valuable feedback on student learning.
Nearpod augments the normal PowerPoint experience. Τhe presentation experience is enhanced by administering formative assessments to students as they work and allowing the teacher to monitor students as they take notes, draw or map concepts, answer quizzes and more. This is formal learning that uses the traditional classroom model and elevates it to include more interactive elements.
How to use:
To use this tool, the teacher must visit the Nearpod website and register.The teacher can either create the lesson from scratch or import an already made presentation in PowerPoint and then add the elements to enhance it. When satisfied with the created lesson, teachers can choose if they are going to lead the lesson or if students will complete the lesson individually. If they are going to complete it together, students will need to log onto the lesson by entering the lesson plan’s pin into the Nearpod app or website. If this option is selected, teachers will have the ability to monitor their students’ computer screens once they are logged in, which means whatever is shown on the teacher’s screen is also shown on the students’ screen. If students complete the lesson independently, they will be able to work on their own pace. If teachers include different activities and assessments, they will be able to view student achievement and work as students progress through the lesson. Teachers will be able to see student progress by clicking the group icon on the top left of the screen.
Side note: Not all the content on Nearpod is free. A teacher may have to purchase a subscription to access all the content. However, the educator can still make and use a custom lesson with the students for free but some of the options are limited. Also, teachers are encouraged to use the “Explore” option to view lessons made by colleagues and then use them or modify them for their own needs.
According to Gee's evaluation criteria (2003), educational video games must be pedagogically driven and appropriate to promote learning. These criteria refer to the motivation given to the student when using the application or game, the potential problems he / she will be faced with and his / her level of interactivity.
Johnny Grammar's Word Challenge is an application suitable for Android and IOS devices. It is really beneficial for students who learn English and want to improve their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. The aim of the game is to answer as many correct questions as possible within a minute, with the user receiving badges depending on his performance (Grammar Guru, Word Wizard and Supreme Speller badges). By winning badges the player is placed on a leaderboard competing with other players worldwide.
There are three levels of difficulty (easy, medium and hard) depending on the level of questions asked. In the vocabulary category there are 10 sub-categories related to food, travels, idioms, movies, hobbies etc. In the grammar category there are 12 sub-categories related to intentions, irregular verbs, auxiliary verbs, etc.
After completing quizzes, the application offers feedback so the user can evaluate the answers given. In fact, through this gamification process, the user indirectly aims at improving the cognitive knowledge’s capacity as this improvement will also lead to a better placement in the ranking board.
Assessing the "Johnny Grammar's Word Challenge" application with Gee's criteria for mobilizing the student, this game is structured in such a way that it makes the user feel that his action have a meaning (Gee, 2004). Problems in the application are well organized as there is a scaling difficulty so the learner can easily start from the lowest level of difficulty and reach the highest, making the challenges easily manageable (Gee, 2004). Another advantage is the immediate feedback given as the student quickly acquires an image of his level and knowledge. This is a valid update on the processes that should or have been applied, which serves in understanding and building new knowledge. After all it is widely known that people learn skills, strategies and ideas better when they see how they fit into a more general frame which is meaningful for them. In fact, every experience is reinforced when we understand how it fits into a more important set.
Gee, J.P. (2004). Learning by design: Games as learning machines. Interactive Educational Multimedia, (8), 15-23.
Socrative is a tool primarily designed to evaluate the learner. The application (response system) allows the educator to create several kinds of quizzes: Multiple Choice, Right or Wrong, Brief Response, etc. Those quizzes are accessible by the tutor who has access to view the responses of each student (Kokina, & Juras, 2017). There is also another option called “Exit Ticket”, which provides a direct insight into the students' understanding of the main points of the course. (Tretinjak, Bednjanec & Tretinjak, 2015).
Socrative is also a tool of gamification since it is a virtual environment which is full of challenges that pupils have to respond to. Unlike other applications it doesn’t embed a reward system but through its leaderboard option students can recognize their weaknesses and improve their knowledge. After a quiz is done, the teacher receives a report which records individual performance. Then the educator can share this report with the learners and process the results of their responses.
An other useful option is the “Space Race”. When using the “Space race” option, the answers are given by groups of students, thus enriching the group-work spirit and the element of competition between the different teams. As stated in an article by Ferrándiz, Puentes, Moreno, & Flores, (2016), Socrative allows group collaboration and competition. As a result the students become more motivated compared to the usual quizzes.
All in all, it can be said that the use of Socrative in class strengthens the metacognitive processes of learners while promoting learning at the same time.
Kokina, J., & Juras, P. E. (2017). Using Socrative to Enhance Instruction in an Accounting Classroom. Journal Of Emerging Technologies In Accounting, 14(1), 85-97. doi:10.2308/jeta-51700
Tretinjak, M. F., Bednjanec, A., & Tretinjak, M. (2015). Interactive teaching with Socrative. 2015 38Th International Convention On Information & Communication Technology, Electronics & Microelectronics (MIPRO), 848.
Ferrándiz, E., Puentes, C., Moreno, P. J., & Flores, E. (2016). engaging and assessing students through their electronic devices and real time quizzes. Multidisciplinary Journal for Education, Social and Technological Sciences, 3(2), 173-184.
The integration and exploitation of technology in in recent years takes place through pleasant environments of learning, collaboration and authenticity. Such an environment is the Quizizz. It requires the student's active engagement and the emergence of a learning experience that no longer relies on the sterile knowledge of the content. The use of such tool keeps students' interest and commitment to acquiring new information (The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017).
Quizizz is a free learning application designed for mobile phones that uses wireless handhelds to collect student responses and then show the results in the classroom while collecting direct feedback by answering questions posed by the educator (Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017). The teacher selects a quiz that has been structured for the particular subject of interest and then provides a pin for the students. Students then use the pin and the questions appear on their mobile devices. They are required to answer a timeframe predetermined by the teacher. Questions appear randomly to each student, and then the learner observes the results of the choice he/she made (Boulden, Hurt & Richardson, 2017). The total results are also shown at the interactive whiteboard with the help of the teacher’s computer and a projector.
Students play together, but each at their own pace. Gamfication elements like avatars, leaderboard and funny memes add to the fun. At the end of the game, the educator receives detailed class and student-level reports to understand where the pupils need help.
It is a tool based on behavioral learning theory as learning through quizizz is done with specific activities to achieve goals that are designed by the teacher (Learning Theories, n.d.). Thus, the student is not in control of the application since the teacher is the creator. As far as the evaluation of the learner is concerned, the behavioral patterns are also followed, since the results of the quiz appear at the scoreboard.
Effects on the learning process:
By studying the positive results in the learning process, many pedagogical benefits are attributed to Quizizz. Students perceive commitment and acquire a different perception of learning as their motives multiply (The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017). Studies show increased collaborative learning and engagement as well as increased learning outcomes (Boulden, Hurt & Richardson, 2017). Then the concentration of children in the process increases as well as their active engagement (The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz, 2017). As far as the teacher is concerned, the contribution of the tool is to control the level of understanding or lack of knowledge through the feedback system provided at the end of the process.
In conclusion one could imply that the inclusion of games and technological tools offers all the resources to students for communication, contact and collaboration. In the context of teaching, the tools that technology has provided us, ensures a more extensive and cost-effective exploratory work on the subject of teaching (Cardet, 2013).
Create your own Quizizz at http://quizizz.com
Boulden, D. C., Hurt, J. W., & amp; Richardson, M. K. (2017). Implementing Digital Tools to Support Student Questioning Abilities: A Collaborative Action Research Report. I.E .: Inquiry In Education, 9 (1), 1.
CARDET (2013). Authentic Learning. Report within the project Developing Authentic Learning Environments through School and Business Collaboration. Nicosia: CARDET Press.
The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz and Google Forms on student perception in the classroom response system. (2017). 2017 International Conference on Digital Arts, Media and Technology (ICDAMT), Digital Arts, Media and Technology (ICDAMT), International Conference on, 178
Classcraft is a free e-learning system that transforms class into a role-playing game, based on the theory of the gamification of learning which attempts to make the learning process even more accessible to students (Analysis of Factors Affecting, 2015). It is basically used as a means of managing the classroom and the behaviors of its members (Sanchez, Young, & Jouneau-Sion, 2017; Bicen & Kocakoyun, 2017). Classcraft transforms school by taking the video game mechanics that provide rich and interesting play experiences and applying them to the classroom setting.The teacher is responsible for coordinating the game since he is the game master.
A computer and a projector are required for viewing the statistics of the students, while students can view their progress and interact with the content by downloading the application which is available for IOS and Android devices.
The game runs in the background during the lesson and it normally takes place simultaneously. The teacher chooses to switch to the game whenever he or she sees that fit or whenever (2015) .
In-game students create an avatar and then are divided into small groups that will compete with one another. The student has the option to customize his own avatar with a number of predefined characters (mage, warrior, healer) each of whom has his / her own powers and weaknesses (Brettton, Sim, & Read, 2016)
These powers represent behaviors and processes that occur within the classroom. For example, the healer's "Ardent Faith" power enables him to confirm a response to a test by asking the professor. In addition, students earn points by answering questions, participating in classroom activities or helping another teammate or even the teacher (Sanchez, Young, & Jouneau-Sion, 2017).
Through a variety of activities, students acquire experience points and improve the level of the hero they have chosen initially, thereby improving their own cognitive ability and behavior.
It is a tool based on behavioral learning theory as learning through classcraft aims to modify the student's behavior. Additional features that classify it in behavioral learning tools are the specific activities to achieve objectives that activities are designed from the beginning by the teacher (Learning Theories, n.d.). Thus the student is not in control of the application since the teacher is the creator and the one who moves the strings and directs all the parameters of reward or punishment within a course context. As far as the assessment of the learner is concerned, it can be said that it follows the behaviorism model as well since the teacher attributes the possible positive or negative reward with the experience points.
Within the framework of classroom management strategies and actions, teachers build a positive ethos within the school unit by recognizing and commending positive behavior and discouraging the unsatisfactory and unacceptable. According to Bretherton, Sim, & Read (2016), Classcraft plays the role of a new behavior system, transforming the traditional responsibility of the teacher.
The positive effects on the learning process include the encouragement for learning, cooperativity and student-to-student communication and effectiveness (2015; Bicen & Kocakoyun, 2017; Bretherton, Sim and Read, 2016). Worth mentioning is the flexibility the students have and the freedom of decision-making given due to the fact that the information that is provided to the users about the consequences of their choices can alter their way of behaving (Sanchez, Young, & Jouneau-Sion, 2017).
Finally, with the adoption of classcraft as a regulator of the appropriate behavior, students' performance is expected to reach higher standards, aiming not only at the optimal learning culture but also in the improved social life and the extended teamwork that follows (Bretherton, Sim, & Read, 2016). Two different elements are extremely worth mentioning regarding Classcraft. On the one hand the tool is shaped in such a way that it contributes to the improvement of an individual level of the pupil and on the other it introduces social skills and interactive actions, which encourages the establishment of learning communities that can help in achieving common goals.
All in all Classcraft, cultivates the development of critical thinking in students, underlining those who believe that games are not just a tool for mere entertainment but they also have huge educational potential (Sanchez, Young, & Jouneau-Sion, 2017). Applications of this type transform the traditional classroom into a learning environment where activities make sense to the pupils and thus create a sense of pleasure under fun situations.
Gamify your own classroom by visiting https://www.classcraft.com/
Analysis of factors affecting user acceptance of the implementation of ClassCraft E-Learning: Case studies faculty of information technology of Tarumanagara university. (2015). 2015 International Conference on Advanced Computer Science and Information Systems (ICACSIS), Advanced Computer Science and Information Systems (ICACSIS), 2015 International Conference on, 73.
Bicen, H., & Kocakoyun, S. (2017). Determination of University Students' Most Preferred Mobile Application for Gamification. World Journal On Educational Technology: Current Issues, 9(1), 18-23.
Bretherton, W., Sim, G., & Read, J. C. (2016). ClassCraft in the Primary School Classroom. Proceedings Of The European Conference On Games Based Learning, 167-74.
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Games in education are the teacher’s weapon to try and involve students in activities that combine the element of fun and learning with a meaning. Mobile devices have reshaped the way of teaching and have created new opportunities towards this approach.
This article will present one of the most useful tools, Kahoot! which combines beautiful graphical representations and sounds, turns the classroom into a playroom, with the teacher being the "show" coordinator and the students to be the contestants (Fotaris, Mastoras, Leinfellner & Rosunally, 2016). Students are asked to give the appropriate answer to the current question they are dealing with using their mobile devices and according to their responses they earn points that rank them in a rating scale (Wang, 2015).
A Kahoot! is a collection of questions on specific topics. Create a fun learning game in minutes – called ‘kahoot’. The format and number of questions are entirely up to you. Add videos, images and diagrams to your questions to amplify engagement and make learning so fun that your students will literals beg to be assessed
The benefits that Kahoot offers! in the learning process are many, but in summary, one could claim that it transforms the learning process into a more efficient and productive one (Katyshev, n.d.). The ease with which students receive feedback individually on their devices promotes self-evaluation, while the teacher's report on the distribution of student responses gives him the opportunity to identify potential gaps, make further analysis as well as explanation of the right choices (Katyshev, nd; Wang, 2015; Dellos, 2015; Fotaris, Mastoras, Leinfellner & Rosunally, 2016). Besides, as Dellos (2015) points out, creating the conditions for a comfortable environment for feedback in their responses without the stress of evaluation is critical to assimilation of knowledge. The user-friendly interface is also enhanced by the fact that there is no need to download a separate application, although there is such a possibility, since the game can be played through any web browser (Katyshev, n.d.). Even the existence of the scoring system exploits the innate tendency of man to compete, effectively giving players an incentive to improve the position on the ranking board (Katyshev, Wang, 2015; Fotaris, Mastoras, Leinfellner & Rosunally, 2016)
Being a system of responding to student choices in a pre-created game of questions by Professor (Dellos, 2015) and according to the foregoing, it is concluded that this application is largely a behavioral tool in which the right options have been set beforehand and students are asked to identify them, ultimately leading to the reward of this desirable option. Of course, if used in ways other than the above, it has the potential to become a tool of social constructivism
If used properly, It has the potential to create a social, fun and game-like learning environment.
Visit http://create.kahoot.it to make your own quizzes using Kahoot! or discover Kahoots! made by others
Dellos, R. (2015). Kahoot! A digital game resource for learning. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 12 (4), 49-52.
Fotaris P, Mastoras T, Leinfellner R and Rosenally Y (2016). Climbing Up the Leaderboard: An Empirical Study of Applying Gaming Techniques to a Computer Programming Class. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning Volume 14 (2), 94-110.
Katyshev, V. (2005). Effective Educational Use of Kahoot. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://meantechtools.wikispaces.com/file/view/Kahoot%20description%20of%20use%20new.pdf/541271970/Kahoot%20description%20of%20use%20new.pdf
Wang, A. I. (2015). The wear out effect of a game-based student response system. Computers & Education, 82, 217-227.