Join a growing movement of innovators harnessing emerging technology to expand access to participatory, playful, and creative learning.
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Thursday, October 3 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Networked Collaborative Learning

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Are Your Students ‘Slack’ers?: Using Cloud-Based Communication to Elicit Peer and Instructor Feedback
Jason R Harron, Ryan Myers, Joan E. Hughes

Slack is a popular cloud-based communication tool that is increasingly being used for
collaborative learning in higher education. This study found that Slack was a viable tool for eliciting peer and instructor feedback as part of a face-to-face interdisciplinary project-based course. Students elicited feedback by directly requesting it from either their peers or instructors. Feedback was also provided via unsolicited advice or recommendation. Positive affirmations from both peers and instructors were the most common form of feedback. Slack provided a space outside of the learning management system (LMS) where students could post photo and video updates about their project while engaging in (a)synchronous communication. Members of the Slack learning community were able to participate at their own pace and could choose whether they wanted to reply outside of traditional working hours.

Designing for Group Flow in Collaborative Cross-Platform Learning Experiences                   
Meredith Thompson, Dan Roy, Philip Tan, Richard Eberhart, Eric Klopfer
Technological resources have expanded the goal of education from individual knowledge acquisition to include the development of critical thinking, communication, and collaboration (Griffin, McCaw, Care, 2012; Van Roekel, 2014). This shift requires a reevaluation of what students learn (e.g. content versus skills) and how students learn in formal education settings (Saavedra & Opfer, 2012). Thus, there is a critical need to find ways to create environments that help students develop conceptual understanding and develop skills essential to the work of the future. At the LAB NAME (removed for anonymity), we are exploring ways to meet this need by developing a cross-platform, collaborative educational game with a conceptual focus on cellular biology and a developmental focus on 21st century skills. In this study, we describe how the game is designed to enable group flow, an optimal state of collaboration when groups have a shared vision, equal ownership and contribution, and effective communication (Sawyer, 2007; Duncan & West, 2018). We examine how well our intended design translates into game experience through an in depth, qualitative pilot study of eight high school teachers. The results of this study suggest that the game design does scaffold some attributes of group flow, while some factors are controlled by the players in the game and are beyond the influence of the game design. This preliminary study contributes to our understanding of how to develop connected learning experiences that incorporate both collaborative and conceptual learning opportunities.

avatar for Dan Roy

Dan Roy

Research Scientist, MIT Education Arcade
Dan Roy is a research scientist at the Education Arcade and the Playful Journey Lab. He is the lead game designer on the CLEVR project, inviting high school biology students to explore a cell in VR and collaboratively diagnose and treat a genetic disorder. Dan is also the founder... Read More →
avatar for Eric Klopfer

Eric Klopfer

Professor, MIT
Dr. Eric Klopfer is Professor and Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade at MIT. Klopfer’s research focuses on the development and use of computer games and simulations for building understanding of science and complex systems. His research explores... Read More →
avatar for Jason R Harron

Jason R Harron

PhD Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin
Jason Harron is a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Texas at Austin specializing in Learning Technology. For the past four years he has been working with the UTeach pre-service program as a teaching and graduate research assistant. He helped launch UTeach Maker, a micro-credentialing... Read More →
avatar for Meredith Thompson

Meredith Thompson

Research Scientist and Instructor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
collaboration, virtual reality, STEM and STEAM education, K12 education, teacher preparation, experiential learning

Ryan Myers

Teaching Fellow, University of Texas at Austin

Thursday October 3, 2019 2:00pm - 3:00pm PDT
Doheny Beach B 311 Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697