Free tools educators can use to take their class online!

In wake of the corona virus and any emergency, schools are looking into online options. This video will guide you through some of the best tools available (and are free!) to perform this task quickly and efficiently. This video is for K12, higher education, and anyone looking to teach online.

Check it out…

I have created a new website where I can share some of my interests outside of instructional design, esports, and education. This new site will focus on tech tips, health, fitness, finance, lifestyle, etc. I wanted to keep all of that out of my personal site (this one you are reading) where I try to keep it professional and focused on things around my career. Anyway, check it out:

Here is the new site – http://professorpractical.com

10 Reasons Elearning sucks and how to make it better!

ATTENTION! ALERT! – The following tutorial SUCKS! And you have to take it! – Sound familiar (minus the suck part)?

In the following video I discuss why Elearning sucks! Well most of it that is:) There is some really great training out there but for the most part, when I take a self paced Elearning tutorial I want to pull my hair out or fall asleep. I have outlined 10 reasons here which are discussed in depth in the video. I hope that the trend to develop boring training can change…

1. Untrained ID
2. Lack of investment
3. Nobody knows better
4. Rely only on tech solutions
5. Rely on simple dev tools
6. ID one stop shop
7. Solution before problem
8. Job aids vs training
9. Reinventing the wheel
10. Boring is acceptable

Video Game Addiction

I have been talking a lot about this topic recently so decided making a blog post and video was worthwhile. First, I want to point out that addiction to anything can be serious and if you found my post or video looking for help, please go to an addiction professional. I am a tech professional stating my thoughts on video game addiction.

We hear from the media that video games are addictive and causing a downfall in society. Is that true? Well it turns out we used to think the same thing about reading.

“Concerns about Lesesucht (reading addiction) had been at their highest in Europe during the 1700s with the rise of the entertainment novel. There were fears that society would go to wrack and ruin – women would neglect their housework, people would begin living in fantasy worlds, sexual excitement would be stimulated, everyone would become socially isolated, no one would get anything done. The noble pursuit of reading, for spiritual and scientific edification, was being debauched and degraded. Moral anxiety about new media repeats itself later with radio, then television, then video games and internet.” (Source – https://corpus.nz/curing-lesesucht-addiction-to-reading/)

In fact you can see this at the beginning of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast when the town thinks Bell is ‘crazy’ for reading!

So it seems as if there is a reason we are afraid of new media. I am not sure why but it does seem like there is.

But the question is still, are video games addictive? The answer is – no more than anything else (but this headline doesn’t make money). It turns out we can be addicted to anything. Food addiction, work addiction, exercise addiction, running addiction, internet addiction, texting addiction, sewing addiction, surfing addiction, etc. When you dig further in the research you find that there are mixed numbers but overall none of these are really more addicting than the other.

But did you hear that 87% of the population plays video games? So what. 100% of the population eats food and we are aren’t bashing food (at least the healthy kind) because of food addiction. What we are doing is encouraging healthy eating – the same thing we should be doing with games which is encouraging healthy game play. While addiction is serious there is no reason to be concerned about games being any more addicting than anything else just like books. My advice: teach healthy game play. See my video for more info:

eSports in Schools? Making a case for eSports in schools using research!

In this video I walk through research on learning, engagement, and retention as it pertains to gaming and eSports. This is part of a literature review I have done to help make a case for eSports at my university. It’s important for people to understand that eSports is more than just gaming – its a community that involves learning, teamwork, project management, and much more. For students, it can improve grades, increase motivation to come to school and participate, and give them a chance to get involved in their school and community.

Here is some of the research I highlight:

  1. Video games and learning (*This research focused on games for entertainment, not instructional games)
  • Strategic game play predicts higher problem solving skills and academic grades (Adachi & Willoughby, 2013)
  • Computer and video game play can lead to a higher GPA (Bowers & Berland, 2013)
  • Socialization that occurs within and around games can lead to social knowledge construction and scientific reasoning skills (Steinkuehler & Duncan, 2008)
  • There is compelling evidence indicating that action video game play engenders clear enhancements in an array of perceptual, attentional, and cognitive skills (Green, Bavelier, Daphne, 2016)
  • Playing action video games enhances several different aspects of visual processing (Green & Bavelier, 2007)
  • Large % of those interested in eSports major in STEM fields – double the national average (Reames, 2018)
  • Providing competitive eSports teams in schools satisfies the growing desire to train and educate students on the soft skills emphasized in STEM and Career Technical Education (CTE) education, as well as in programs such as English and Language Arts (Rothwell & Shaffer, 2019)
  1. Engagement and retention
  • eSports competition is a catalyst for the application of real world skills and problem solving ability (Baltezarević & Baltezarevic, 2019). This competition takes place outside of the classroom as an extracurricular activity similar to any other sport (Kane & Spradley, 2017).
  • Participation in extracurricular activities leads to school identities, behavioral engagement in the classroom, higher grades and test scores, higher educational achievements, more regularity in class attendance and higher self-confidence, leadership and teamwork abilities in students. (Im, Hughes, Cao, & Kwok, 2016; Tariq, 2018)
  • Participation in extracurricular activities decreases the use of drugs, alcohol and behavioral and disciplinary problems related to their use. (Legacy Healing, Delray and Tariq, 2018)
  • More than 80% of students in the High School eSports League were not involved in other extracurricular activities before eSports. (Schaffhauser, 2019)
  • Without a school esports club, passionate gamers often feel left out of mainstream school social life. Organized esports bring these kids into the fold. It can help them become accepted and respected members of their school community. Keeping them excluded can leave lasting damage. Being excluded is an invisible form of bullying (ViewSonic, 2019; Williams, Kipling & Nida, 2011)
  • Playing video games prior to learning can lead to higher levels of engagement, motivation and achievement (Kapp, Valtchanov, & Pastore, Under Review – Minor Revisions in ETRD)