Education Week 2016: Children Education

Here is some useful information about Education Week 2016 we want to share with you. Let us use the words of the people we interviewed:

Cerebriti

“Right now we are a startup. We started a year ago. We want to gamify the classroom, where kids feel more involved with the content, and engaged through something that they can control. We move all benefits from video games to the educational world. Our platform has two main pillars: one is cooperation and the other one is gamification, which means to apply video games techniques to content that do not belong to games.”

Cerebriti is a platform where you can transform any educational content in a game in two minutes and without programming. We have a platform through which, by very simple to use templates, normal content becomes digital content. They are like forms. We have ten different “forms”, for example, to create a game of “matching”, of “click on the right answer”, multi response test, mute maps, hot areas, diagrams…”

“What’s so special about this? Although the games are very basic, there are lifelong mini games, the content is totally customized. Because it is so easy to do, as it is so personalized, our idea is that the teacher will not be the one who generates the content, but the students themselves. When a student is generating his/her own game, he/she has to do a process: first, researching that topic; then internalizing; once internalized, he/she must synthesize to introduce it in the template fields, and applying creativity to turn it into an educational game. This whole process is a learning process.”

“It’s like when we were little and we made a “cheat sheet”. We were so focused on doing the small print that at the end, when you were finished, you already knew the content by heart. This is a bit the same: When you are in the process of creation, you are already learning”.

“The user decides what language to use at the content. There may be in English, Castilian, Catalan, Galician, or the language you want. We also have the option to bilingual schools for the platform to be shown in Castilian or English. It is customizable to 100%. We have elementary games, high school and college games too, even training games for adults.”

“The platform keeps the games that have been created by teachers and students. The author appears in every game, so that students feel it is their game and they get points every time someone plays their game. They also get points for creating games and correctly answering questions in different games created by other students. In addition, you can launch challenges to other users to compete with them (if a student challenges a classmate and the classmate beats him/her, that gives him/her points, and vice versa too).”

There are points obtained on recommended games (if the teacher sees a student who goes a little behind in a subject or a specific topic, he/she can throw him/her a particular game, and that game has double points). Thus the kid is being encouraged to play. ”

“All this is reflected in some rankings. In the view of the student, the ranking has much more relevance. On the one hand, he/she can see the classification referring to Spain; they can also see the average class, and then there is the subject league. What we want with the platform is not replacing the teacher, but giving more tools to monitor the kids in the classroom and to motivate them. Leagues and rankings can be used as incentives. These online tools are used in the face to face classroom. ”

“Right now, the game is fully adapted to the Education Ministry curriculum from first grade to second Bachelor’s grade. Within each course, categories are exactly the same as the subjects that are in that course.”

“Teachers can watch the games of the subjects they teach and keep track of all their students’ performance in real time. You can see how many games they have created, how many games they have played, etc. All this is valued because we think beyond assessing the academic performance of the average grade between correct answers and wrong answers, we also have to value the creative ability of the student and the social part to share, challenge, invite others to play… Hence, we value both games as the grade obtained from the correct answers as it has always been done in examinations. We think learning is important for the teacher, as well as the result of how students evolve. For the student, the important part is having fun, telling colleagues all about it…”

“Our idea is to make life easier for teachers. Teachers already know that gamification and games help kids to better understand the subjects given in the classroom. What is the usual procedure of the teacher? Going to Internet to search the interactive online games. What we propose is: First, we have a catalog of games that have been created by other teachers; if you do not find what you want, you can create it in two minutes; if you do not want to create it by yourself, you can tell your students to create the game, and not only you are saving time, is that they are learning while they are creating it.”

“Right now, we have released the free version of edu.celebriti.com until the end of the course. If now you walk in and request a test, you can use it for free until the end of the course. We only ask the teacher data, and then the teacher, through a tool, generates the username and password for each of their students.”

“We are working with 70 schools throughout Spain; ranging from primary schools to secondary schools, through all levels, private, subsidized and public, and we are now getting feedback from schools; we have a very good feedback. We did a test on January 8, 2016, and within a month we got to have 3000 games created by students, 100,000 games played and the average time spent is 18 minutes. In addition, children return constantly to the platform.”

“One way to represent this data in the case of a teacher of Leon, who called us recently to tell us that students are so hooked to Cerebriti, that the other day she played a movie in class and the students requested her to see if they could stop watching the movie to play with Cerebriti. It is a way of viewing the hitch generated by this platform to educational games”.

“When we launched the application, we began to receive very positive and constructive feedback from the teachers, in the sense of requesting us a more quickly access, because a teacher who had two courses, wanted to access much more quickly to those two courses he was teaching”.

“Then, for example, we have been asked to implement some improvements in gamification: There were students often playing the same game and getting so many points, so the ranking was being detracted. Then, we introduced an improvement so that once a child had played a game, no longer that game would punctuate that child any more; He/she could obtain better grades, but he/she still would not be scored to play that game. That kind of feedback, which are little things, in the end are bringing improvements to the platform.”

“In special education, we have nothing. Yes you can make games like associating a color with a figure; in that sense, yes those can be used, for autism, for example, but currently we do not have something concrete to special education.”

“The next step is to work on the mobile application, because the platform works on mobile, tablet and computer, but it is not a native app. We are creating the mobile application, so that the parent can subscribe his/her child and see his/her evolution, monitoring it, and that students will be able to play from home too.”

“So far, in the short term, we don’t see the augmented reality application to the platform, as our maxim is that it is the user himself who generate the content, and to generate that level of technology, you need programming, which is another super interesting leg, but that’s independent”.

Parents

1. Ceapa (Confederación Española de Asociaciones de Padres y Madres del Alumnado – Spanish Confederation of Associations of Parents of Students). 

“Our job is to train parents to have a good criteria about what happens in schools, problems that may arise and that children may have within schools, and also at the family level. We try issues such as awareness of important issues, such as different families, communication between parents and children, building self-esteem… Extracurricular activities are carried by federations. We’ve been running since 1975. There has been much development: Before, they did not listen to us, but still they have to listen to us more…”

“We head to federations; we have 43 federations, which in turn, among all, are more than 11,000 Parents Associations. Our information is sent to federations, and the federations of each territory send it to the Parents Associations. We are in all the national territory, we are mostly public institutions, although some federations include concerted schools”.

“In training, the first thing we do is asking for a grant to work on that topic. Once we receive it, we look for professionals that create the materials we want to include in such training. When the materials are ready, we edit it and we create training for trainers, so that one person from each federation comes to Madrid to get trained and then they have an obligation (they sign a contract with us) to train more parents in their territory. It is a cascade training: One of them comes to Madrid, then in Granada, he/she trains 25 parents more, for instance, and in Granada, those 25 train 25 other more each. Then, this goes top-bottom.”

“In some grants, we need to talk about specific issues. Grants determine what we have to convey. We also discuss several topics. If not, we collect the needs we are seeing within the Parents associations, what they request us. There is a subsidy that we are dealing since the end of March 2016, related to bullying, where we work because we see that there is a need, we have been requested about it”.

“Besides this training provided in Madrid, we have training in which the speaker goes to give the training someplace else. We call it “Travelers Courses”. Then we also have a distance learning platform, where people also get trained.”

“We belong to the European confederation (COFADE), where France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, and I think that Portugal belongs. Some time ago, there were more joint activity; everything is now very quiet due to the crisis. Now we have started to appeal to the European Parliament, because here in Spain we are not heard much. We have come all together to take an action there.”

“We are volunteer parents. I’m from Ceuta. The confederation encompasses all federations of the country and on the board there is a representative from each territory. So we are all volunteers, we all come here based on our own will and effort, we spend many hours here and we take hours from elsewhere to be here.”

Education Week 2016 Cofade

Education Week 2016 Cofade

2. FAPA Giner de los Ríos (Federación Regional de Asociaciones de Padres y Madres del Alumnado Francisco Giner de los Ríos – Regional Federation of Associations of Parents of Students Francisco Giner de los Ríos). 

“We are collecting signatures because what we want is to get permission to open school canteens during non-school days for children who only have that meal a day, to avoid child under nutrition. We need 50,000 signatures, which is outrageous for the Community of Madrid. We struggled a lot to get there. We’re almost getting it. Our goal is that: to open school canteens, so it won’t depend on who is in government, but that there will always be a monetary item there to avoid relying on municipalities or the community, but on the needs detected at any time. We must leave the signatures at the Community of Madrid to record them and the see if they pay attention to us! “

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