Although I believe that Electrocardiogram is a great video game for the classroom, like most video games, I do believe that it has some flaws. One of the first things I noticed is that it provides very little information about what an electrocardiogram is and what the different types of electric wave results are showing/what they actually mean. With that being said, I felt like the game was lacking because I did not fully understand the results I was trying to interpret. I know that I would have gotten more out of the game if I had first received some background information about what I was looking at.
So this leaves me to wonder: should it be up to the game to provide this information for me, or is it up to me to seek out this information? I do not personally have an answer to this question, however I do think that this game has a lot of potential, and with a little bit of extra knowledge provided for the players, it could go a long way.
I also would have liked to see the game have sound. I feel as if sound would have really enhanced the experience. I would have even liked to see sound used to provide instruction “in time” and “on demand” as I played the video game. This would have been a great opportunity to provide background knowledge and instruction for the players as they participate in the game.
Aside from these flaws, I still found the game to be very beneficial for the classroom. However, if improvements could be made in the areas I discussed, I believe the game could be taken to a whole other level.
Prior to this video game exploration, my experience with video games in a classroom setting have been quite limited. Growing up, I rarely got the chance to play video games at school. If I ever did, it was most likely during indoor recess and the games had almost nothing to do with subjects I was learning about in class. Because of that, I always looked at video games as “fun” and almost never related them to academics. I never actually considered how much they could help enhance a teacher’s curriculum.
Now, after a few weeks of exploring my own video game and the video games of my team members, my eyes have been opened to all of the ways that a teacher can integrate video games into their lesson plans.
Now that I have gained this new perspective, I can see the potential that Electrocardiogram could have in an educational setting and would personally use it in my own classroom. From a more broad perspective, the game itself teaches students basic skills such as how to be curious about new topics and how to use this curiosity as a drive for exploration and learning new things. The game allows students the opportunity to practice exploring new topics and teaches them how to use what they learn through observation to make a prediction. As students take on the role of a doctor in this game, they are expected to explore their surroundings and use what they learn through observation to make a prediction about the patient’s disease. The more they take on the identity of the doctor, the more their interests and curiosity grows.
I can even see how this game would be great for a much higher grade level, such as in high school, when students are learning about the functions of the heart. The game could be used as a lab activity and could be introduced as an exploration prior to learning anything about the topic. It could also be used after a lesson as visual support to what the students have already learned.
After considering all of this information through more exploration, I would most definitely support the use of this game in my own classroom. It has many great qualities and allows students to build on their previous knowledge and use what they already know to make predictions and develop new skills.
I chose to play Electrocardiogram for my video game exploration because I was interested to see how a video game could make a complex topic about human heart conditions understandable for young children or people in general who may not be an expert on the topic. Therefore, I am excited to explore this game from a teacher point of view in order to determine its effectiveness in the classroom.
Learning How to Play the Game
Electrocardiogram is an educational game based on the electrocardiogram (ECG) itself. An ECG is used to record the small electric waves that are generated during heart activity. When these electric waves are out of norm, they can be used to display a heart condition for diagnosis. This game allows its players to explore the key elements of an ECG: how to place the electrodes for measuring the heartbeats, how to analyze the mountains and valleys that appear on paper in the ECG curve, how to compare results to other ECGs to make a diagnosis, and more. The player is given the task to diagnose 4 different patients. One is suffering from an arrhythmia, the other has a cardiac infarction, another has a normal and healthy heart, and the last one has a bundle branch block. The objective is to diagnose each patient with a heart condition based on their ECG results.
To begin, you will select a patient from the list and call him/her down for the ECG. Then you will be provided some background information about your patient, including age, blood pressure, pulse, etc. Once the patient arrives, it is time to place the electrodes!
As you move your cursor over each electrode, it will explain where each one is to be placed. This is a hands on way for the player of the game to learn about how to set up an ECG. For those of us who are novices in the health field, we are still able to engage in a hands on activity, learning about something as complex as how to set up an ECG. This step is simple and straightforward, but it must be done properly in order to achieve the desired results.
Once all of the electrodes have been placed, the player has the opportunity to watch the electric wave activity produced by each electrode. There is a lot of exploration to be done at this point which can afford for many new learning opportunities each time the game is played.
Once you have your ECG results, you must compare these results to the results for various heart conditions. Then you must take on the role of a doctor and use your observational skills and background knowledge to match your results to the ECG that looks the most similar in order to determine the correct diagnosis.
After you have made your prediction, you get to find out if your diagnosis was correct. Once you receive your results, you can move onto your next patient.
My Overall Experience Learning to Play the Game
When I first started playing this game, I began to realize how little I actually knew about electrocardiograms or heart activity related to heart conditions. My video game exploration was therefore a huge learning experience for me. Here I was trying to complete a task that I knew absolutely nothing about. Starting off, I struggled to find the exact spot to place the electrodes and then had an even harder time interpreting the electric activity as it was shown on the screen. I later struggled to come up with the correct diagnosis for my patient. However, as I continued to play the game and my level of frustration grew, I became more invested in finding the correct diagnosis for my patient. Just as Gee discussed in his article Good Video Games, the Human Mind, and Good Learning, over time I found myself taking on the identity of a doctor, focusing all of my attention on finding the right answer. I found this to be helpful because the more I identified with the process itself, the more invested I was in succeeding. I studied the specific wave patterns and similarities between my results and the example papers and slowly I got better at it. With practice I kept improving.
Incorporating This Game in the Classroom
This game was unlike most games I have played before. It is great because it is centered around a very complex topic, yet it provides a learning experience that is do-able for everyone, no matter their background or experience with science. With that being said, this game could be used for a wide range of grade levels depending on how in-depth the teacher decides to go with it. At as early as grade 3, a teacher could use this game as a supplement to their teaching and use it as a visual demonstration for their students, allowing their students to compare and contrast ECG results. At the same time, this game could be used in high school as an additional lab experience when they are learning about the human heart. A teacher could go in great detail teaching about this topic and use the game as additional support for their teaching. However, all in all, is quite versatile and can be molded to fit many needs for student learning.
1. What is your first name? Please use your preferred name, nick name, etc. Do you have preferred pronouns?
My first name is Taylor. Most people stick to calling me Taylor.
2. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Westlake, Ohio, which is about 45 minutes West of John Carroll University.
4. What are you into; what makes you special? Share a few “unique” aspects about yourself that would help our classroom community get to know you a bit. Are you on an athletic team? Sing in the choir? Are you trying out for a play? Painting? What are you planning on doing this semester in your life that is noteworthy?
I really enjoy anything that involves creative thinking. Over the past few years especially, I have grown to love cooking and baking. It is something that allows me to relax my mind and think outside of the box. I also love anything that involves the outdoors. I love hiking, biking, running, etc. The list just goes on and on! Being outside is one of my most favorite ways to spend my days, which of course is dependent on Ohio’s unpredictable weather! I also really enjoy yoga and have been working on my practice over the past few years. Anything that allows me to find peace and happiness is what brings me joy!
Learning Style and more:
5. Being as specific as you can, what must be in place for you to feel comfortable taking intellectual and creative risks in a course?
What is most important to me is knowing that everyone is respectful of other people’s opinions. If I know that I can share an opinion, even if it might differ from what other people believe, and no one will judge or respond negatively, then I will feel comfortable to take creative and intellectual risks in the classroom. I will also feel more inspired to take academic risks in the classroom if they are encouraged and supported by the teacher.
What have you been reading?
6. I want to know what matters most to you about education. To this end, please share with the class an essay that is essential to your interests/concerns as a preservice teacher. (Include the reference to the essay [chapter, article, website] and a few sentences about its significance to you).
Many Languages, One Classroom: Supporting Children in Superdiverse Settings
This article is incredibly important to me because it focuses on some of my main interests/concerns in the classroom. It discusses some important strategies to support dual language learners in both English and their home languages. Balancing both English and a student’s home language can definitely be a challenge in the classroom, but there are a variety of strategies that can be implemented to partner with families and create a responsive environment that supports and encourages each child and their learning.
About Dr. Shutkin:
7. Write down a question or two that you would like to ask me about myself or the class.
Dr. Shutkin, what do you like most about teaching the topic of educational technology?
No Child Left Behind, or NCLB, is an act signed into law by President Bush in early 2002. Its objective was to give all public schools proper teachers, close achievement gaps in the classroom, and make sure that each individual student reaches a level of proficiency. It therefore puts pressure on schools who have bad teachers and/or weak administrators and aims to ensure all children to receive a good education.
The NCLB provides students in failing districts with the choice to attend other schools where they might best succeed. The intention of School Choice is to make sure no child has to attend a school that is under-resourced and lacking good teachers or education. Being able to pick a school without being bound to where you live is quite powerful. Ideally, the goals of NCLB would be incredibly beneficial to school systems. However, I believe the policy’s good intentions have led to many failures in the school systems.
School Choice is not 100% positive. When a student uses their school choice and leaves the public schools for a charter or voucher school, the public schools ultimately lose valuable resources. If a child uses their choice for another charter or voucher school, they are actually hurting the chances of all of the other students in public schools to have a good education because they are competing for resources. As a result, the public schools are losing money. This is one of many issues related to School Choice and NCLB as a whole.
With NCLB, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures the academic performance level of schools in the country based on information gathered from standardized test results. With it, there is a minimum level of improvement that a school district is required to reach each school year. These targets are set by the state. Students are required to be tested in reading and math from grades 3-8 and then once in high school. Then each year, schools are given a report cards, where schools must publicly report on the overall performance of these tests to the state.
I believe that testing requirements of No Child Left Behind place restrictions on teachers based on what they are allowed to teach and how they are allowed to teach it. Too much emphasis is placed on test scores, leaving other improvements of students unnoticed and under appreciated.
Personally speaking, I have never been the best test-taker. I get nervous taking tests because I am worried about the grade/score I will get. This causes me to perform poorly, ultimately leading to an inaccurate representation of my school performance level. A few years back, I dealt with a lot of stress in the college application process because of ACT/SAT testing and how big of a role it plays in the chance of getting into a good college. Because of this pressure to perform well, I struggled to reach my fullest potential. My nerves would get to me during the exam, causing me to lose focus and forget information I was normally confident in, and it was all because of the pressure that came from knowing how important it was to do well. The amount of the knowledge I actually know, and the amount of knowledge I am able to show I know on standardized tests often do not correlate. This is common for many students. Standardized tests assess a limited amount of information and are not able to test a student on their full knowledge.
Although I believe the No Child Left Behind Act does have some benefits, a lot of good intentions have really led to a lot of failures in the policy. School Choice seems very important, but the effects it has on public schools is not helpful. Also, standardized testing regulations only seem to limit teachers and force them and their students to do well on a test, and not actually learn. Although it is important to measure a student’s and a school’s overall achievement, standardized tests are not always the most accurate. Some students are simply not good test-takers and are not able to show their full capabilities because these tests only examine students in specific areas. As a result of these reasons, I see No Child Left Behind as more of a bad thing than good.
Although I have not had experience as a real teacher in the education field, I can only imagine how hard it might be to make sure a classroom is inclusive for all regarding gender and sexual identity, mostly because everyone interprets these terms in a unique way. It can hard to be conscious and inclusive about something that everyone defines differently. However, although it may be difficult, I believe one of the best starts to adapting to a more inclusive teaching environment is by becoming knowledgeable about the topics of gender and sexual identity in general. Also, if students wish to disclose, it is incredibly important to be aware of how students identify themselves based on gender and sexuality. Knowledge is power, and with this power, you can at least attempt to understand what will make a student more comfortable in a classroom.
As mentioned in the class reading, “‘But I’m Not Gay’: What Straight Teachers Need to Know about Queer Theory, ” heterosexuality is so invisibly woven throughout school systems today. Heterosexuality has become so ingrained as a norm in school structures today that often times, people do not even notice that it has such an effect. For example, think about all of the pictures in school textbooks. Never do they show a homosexual couple in any of these basic books. Also, it is not too often that a school allows for there to be anything but a prom king and a prom queen. This is because it is so ingrained in our society that a couple is normally viewed as a boy and a girl. The same thing goes for gender and gender binaries. Just for a moment, think about all of the things at school that are separated or labeled based on gender. School systems often unknowingly structure things so that they must be split up or assigned by a gender. For example, growing up, some schools have a boy’s or a girl’s bathroom pass, and at some graduation ceremonies, the colors of the caps and gowns are separated based on gender. Sometimes schools will even have students break off into collaborative groups based on gender. This puts students in a box who identify outside of the binaries and it limits them from expressing their true selves.
Therefore, we must be knowledgeable about these topics and issues in the school systems and learn how to work around them. With that being said, maybe teachers could avoid assigning things in a classroom based on gender like with separate bathroom passes, separate lines for boys and girls that little kids must walk in down the hallway, or separate, gender-specific uniforms for boys and girls to wear at private schools. Teachers could also be careful and make sure to communicate with a student if they feel they are making them uncomfortable in the classroom, or maybe want to be referred to as a different pronoun. With that knowledge, the teacher can then refer to a student how that child feels most comfortable.
In terms of sexuality, I believe by exposing students at an earlier age to all different types of sexuality, students will not just assume heterosexuality as the norm. Censoring happens a lot in classrooms where teachers feel the need to avoid talking about any other sexuality besides that which is heterosexual. If teachers are open to all sexualities, they can easily be implemented as a norm in the curriculum. For example, with something as simple as a math word problem, a teacher could give their students a problem like, “Sally’s girlfriend Jen gave her a 2 boxes of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. If each box had 10 chocolates, how many chocolates in total did Jen give to her girlfriend on Valentine’s Day?” Something as simple as a word problem can easily go beyond norms in a classroom and promote an environment that is more inclusive. Therefore, students who identify as homosexual would not feel so outside of the “norm” of heterosexuality.
In the service learning article written by Dunn-Kenney, there are several examples of cultural bias. Although there were several students part of the service that achieved a positive learning experience and benefitted from their time at Rolling Meadows, there were three students, Jamie, Mary, and Theresa, who only strengthened their social and cultural biases. What they all had in common going into the experiment was the idea of wanting to help the children. Jamie specifically wrote about her sensitivity to rejection from business owners and her emotional shock of the conflicts between the children and how they could possibly be happy living in such poverty. Jamie immediately assumed that this poverty meant the children came from violent homes and were not cared for. These assumptions only strengthened her cultural bias and the connections she made between poverty and individual/family failure. They prevented her from seeing the resiliency and resourcefulness in the the families at the program or from noticing the social structures that could have played a role in the children’ behavior/mannerisms. Mary in a similar way missed out on the benefits she could have obtained at this program by focusing too heavily on the role of the families in the children’ behavior. Her cultural bias grew stronger by thinking the families were the problem and that they needed to improve their home environments, even though these people could not control their state of poverty. Theresa also added to her cultural bias by thinking that her service at Rolling Meadows was some kind of a charity gift from the fortunate (herself) to the weak and unfortunate (the children and their families). In turn, Theresa failed to understand and see family strengths. Theresa was upset about the lack of recognition for her “great sacrifices” and felt that she was being under appreciated. However, this mentality leaves no room for understanding what the whole point is of this service learning experience: to be exposed to different cultures, backgrounds, economic statuses, etc., and learn to understand them in a way that leads to acceptance of all students in a teaching environment.
For my own personal service learning experience in ED 253, I have been helping out with the Homework Center and 123 Read at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Cuyahoga County Public Library. The Homework Center is all about helping children from grades 1-8 with any of their homework that they are struggling with. This program runs from 4:15 to 6:15 and is organized in a way that each student is given a tutor to help them with their homework, flashcards, reading out loud, typing on the computer, and more. This program is important because it helps kids in school who may be struggling and need some intervention, but are not seriously at risk of falling behind. Therefore, the Homework Center helps keep students up to date with their assignments and to understand it well. 123 Read goes from 4:30 to 5:45 and is set up with a certain amount of time for the kids to read out loud, then to work on reading games on an iPad and play other reading games. Each child is given a tutor and they work together to overcome reading struggles. It is a very positive learning environment and kids are able to exercise their reading abilities and learn new things, so they do not fall behind and are where they need to be by the end of 3rd grade.
Although it was not easy, I went through my own personal reflection and experienced moments of consciousness raising at my service. It is sad to say, but growing up I was never exposed to much diversity. Therefore, at my service site, I found myself reflecting on this, especially because the population at my site is of predominately African American people. I will admit that I, not purposely, came into the situation with some cultural bias. I felt slightly uncomfortable being the only white person in the room. It immediately made me feel like I was out of place, and as a fault of my own, had felt like I was not as welcome. This was an interesting perspective because no one was actually unwelcoming to me, but because of my own insecurities and feeling different, I pushed that feeling on myself. This was a moment of consciousness raising for me because it brought my attention to these social and cultural issues that exist relating to race and feeling out of place. It made me think of my own white privilege and also what it might feel like to be a person of color in society who feels out of place.
By becoming more awake to the world, I am learning at my service a lot about how to embrace diversity and differences. Everyone comes from a different background and it is so important to be aware of what these differences are and understand that everyone is unique and special, no matter what they look like, where they come from, how much money they have, etc. My service has taught me this and also how I can personally embrace difference. I have learned that I am capable of reflecting on this topic and remaining aware of the issues that relate to cultural bias and understanding diversity in today’s world.