22 december 2016

TeacherGaming Analytics

In mid November we did a field trip to TeacherGaming in Tampere together with the Finnish Swedish iLearning tutors. We had the honor to listen to COO Mikael Uusi-Mäkelä who talked about what happened after MinecraftEDU and showed us a very neat tool: TG Analytics!

To be able to monitoring your students while they play any game, connected to this analytic platform, would be like a dream come true. It will save so much time when following up students activities! Best of all, when you see what skills they have practice and which ones they have not, you should be able to push out that needed skill to their next log in. That was actually the feature that hooked me.

Back home I immediately contacted them and signed up as a beta tester.

And please keep this in mind; the platform is not ready!
You are a beta tester.

Some people might look at it and think it’s the complete product - which it's not - and leave it when they see something broken. When you see something broken you report it, that's why you are a beta tester!

With the experience I've got working with this kind of tools is, it has to fulfill mainly two things else teachers and schools won't start use it

1. The price has to be low.
With that said, usually 500€ sound expensive while 350 students which cost 2€/school year suddenly is affordable (even though the price just turned higher).

2. It has to be simple.
Teachers - or parents - learning curve has to be low. The tool has to be that simple so you could learn it within 5 minutes. Already to use tech usually stress teachers enough to avoid adopt them, no matter how awesome they might be!

However,  the games themselves can of course be advanced, Students and/or youth most often surprise the older generation ;)

Does TeacherGaming meets my requirements?
As they're in beta phase there's no price tag just yet, but what I've understand from my discussions with the dev team it won't be expensive. The tool itself will most probably be free but the games connected to the platform will cost some.

I just love how simple, clean and easy it is.

First I log in to the platform and I create my class 

Simple right? I name the class, an ID is generated and now my class is up! Next, we add a student, it's as easy as create a class. We write the students name, and we also get a student id. 

The skill tree is another awesome feature. You should be able to pick your "own" curriculumno matter if you're teaching grade 1-3 in US or grade 4-6 in Sweden.

The Dashboard, it's where everything happens and you can follow your students (or childrens) progress. But hey? No games added yet? Nope, students havn't logged in so there's nothing to see.

But as I started a code thinking course, I'd like my student to play Switch&Glitch. I've installed the game on the device and now my student log in, using the class id and her student id. As soon as she, my student or actually daughter, are logged in to the game, real-time information will start to show up in TG Analytics. How awesome is that?

When I click on my student I will get up more information about the skills she's learning while playing the game!

Sounds interesting? 
Why don't sign up as a beta tester you too?

13 december 2016

Healthy me, game on!

To our eSport course we got funding to improve the health among our participants. During the school year 2015-2016 we tried to use season tickets to the swiming hall but it turned out many of the gamers had such a bad self-perception they didn't had the guts to go there. Therefor, with funding, we wanted to try activity bracelets. Would it be possible to make our students aware of the every day exercise and 8 hours sleep if you use such a bracelet?

According to one of our lecturer, Jaana Wessman, the top three things to do outside of the game is (and I quote)

1. Sleep
  • regularly
  • enough
2. Exercise
  • preferably daily
  • preferably something requiring spatial navigation (walking/running outside) and/or complex co-ordination (dance, martial arts), or both (trail running, team sports)
3. Minimize unrelated stress
  • take care of your family obligations
  • take care of your school/work
  • have a Plan B
Serious competitive gaming requires leading a disciplined life.

And I end the quote (from slide 25/32) and Jaana's presentation about "Digital games and health" backed up with science can be found from here.

So, activity bracelets?
It turned out not only the eSport industry thought this could be a good idea but also Insmat.fi who gave us a nice price. Suddenly we could afford a reward system, with other words, use gamification on everyday exercise to make our students aim to walk 10,000 steps a day!

The system works as XP in every other game you play, you collect it and when you reach a certain level you ding one level. As the game cards wasn't in any other value than 10€ (LOL) and 20€ (STEAM/Battlenet) the distance is quite far but still realistic. The highest level is 6 and 2.100.000 steps as we'd like our participants to be able to get the rewards before summer. Between January 1st and May 31st it's 151 days, if you aim for 10.000 steps a day you need 150 days to reach 1.500.000 steps and level 5. To reach level 6 you need to walk 14.000 steps a day for the next 150 days and that's really a lot!

Also, if you start with LOL you ding the first and second level before you can change path and choose another game card.

Strange, this is the outsiders biggest concerns but not the participants. Could it be more tempting to an outsider to fool the system? Ask yourself, what would they win with cheating? Another 20€? Is it really worth the risk of 20€ to be known as a cheater in such a small group (20+15 students) and also make the responsible teacher who fight for you and your interest disapointed?

Exercise motivation?
First our students got the activity bracelets and the game was on! It was not only the rewardsystem itself that started to motivate the participants but also the competition; "how far distance have you walked today?"

But when they saw the pictures of the bought game cards, they took a deep breath and whispered: "O h   m y   g o d !"

Yes, now it's not only talking but for real!

The game is on!

7 november 2016

Viking Village

So I have this math course inside Minecraft with a student who learn in a different way. He also fears math so we need this safe environment where to learn. 

I don't have to succeed with all these qualifications but some, the student should be able to
  1. can express relationships between variables with mathematical expressions
  2. can form and make up equations, expressions, tables and drawings related to their fields
  3. solve mathematical tasks required at work using equations, deductions or charts
  4. to assess whether the results are correct and the right order of magnitude
  5. can apply economic mathematics needed in everyday and working life, such as profitability, cost, tax and loan calculations
  6. to collect and group information related to their own industry.
The challenge is when it says "related to their own industry", luckily it also says "needed in everyday and working life" and that's an easy one. We're aiming for number 3, 4 and 5 as you can do that inside Minecraft and also have lots of discussions outside game how it relates to the everyday and working life math.

As my student could choose we now build a viking village. First he had to draw sketches, make a game plan, then start with the palisade and townhall. As my daughter - little_aquavera - every now and then joins me the village suddenly got a third tribe member. 

My daughter 8yo joined with the words "you can't fool me! I will not do any math!" and that might be true, but she needs to practice writing, reading and spelling and that's exactly what she's doing! During the summer semester she learned English just by watching YouTube and now she starts to write it.

Back to the math!
So here we suddenly have a guy, that doing math all the time with a smile on his face and as the world is vanilla survival he (or we) have to collect all the resources that's needed. We also need food and animals.

Suddenly we reached a breaking point and it was my daughter who started it. As she ain't that brave what comes to mobs she had started to think about what she could contribute to this village and came up with a book shop. She's now the poet of the Viking village. She also started to put pricetags on her work.

It was time to gather the village councils.
At the first council, in game, we agreed on what currency we should create and how to use it. 
  • 1 Emerald = 10 Lapis Lazuli
  • 1 Lapis Lazuli = 10 gold ingots
  • 1 Emerald = 100 gold ingots
At the second meeting, in the classroom, my student had to come up with an idea what everyone's work would be worth. Also, if some profession needed something extra as armor, weapons or tools. 

At the third council, now together with my daughter and in the classroom, he had to start think about taxes. And suddenly this was so fun so even the little poet was doing math, mental arithmetic and put notes.

They both agreed on planning and monitoring is vital and important. That includes also democracy (civics) and active citizenship (key competence for lifelong learning). Both also agreed it's in the realization phase they're learning.

For example; the soldier got paid with 20 lapis lazuli and 20 gold ingots. The tax is 1/5 (20%) and he have to give me (the Jarl of the village) that amount. Also, when he collects animals, he have to give me (the leader 1/5). 

With the evaluation, we're connecting today's lesson and connect it to the everyday and working life. And suddenly he understands.

2 september 2016

The product: the lustful learning

As a remedial teacher I usually gets those students who have one or more challenges (I refuse to say difficulties or problems!). Now I help one student and the more I talk with him, the more I start to wonder why we - the school system - insist on teaching like it would be 1980 and not 2016. Even if the Internet didn't exist throughout the teacher's life, there have been in our students' whole lives. 

This one student is judged by the 1980's methods and therefore he possesses not what the knowledge society requires. If you, on the other hand, use the methods of 2016 he actually master the skills needed more than many else.

According to traditional values, he has an abnormal and unhealthy interest in video games and no matter what he does, they consider it as dangerous gaming. Still, traditional thinking, he needs help and support in mathematics, physics, languages, social situations. He can't handle money (he doesn't understand the value of money), can't hold times, can't think logical, need a calculator and the list goes on and on and on...

When I first met him, the Fall of 2014, he was top 20 in the European league of "World of Tanks" and besides that also second in rank in his clan (including set up strategy's, handle price money and be the ambassador). Now, he has stepped down from the active gaming and instead run the whole clan by himself. 

Just to check if he was aware of what he's doing I showed him the school's organizational chart and asked him to tell me, based on this, how his organization looks. Hardly surprising, he placed his organization in the right places; CEO, deputy CEO, management, economy and so on. He also explained how he pay wages (in game money) to his whole clan (approx 75 people), the bonus system he use for unsocial hours (if they get attacked for example 04:00) and more. "doesn't understand the value of money"!? What a rubbish nonsense!

So, as you all understand, this is a guy that learn in a different way but in a way I think will be only more common. And just because they do learn a different way it's not because they are stupid.

But today, 2016, the school ain't ready for those students so therefor we're back at square one. Here we need the remedial teacher (me)...

According to regulations I should ask the owner of the course (who use traditional methods) about course content to use on this student to help him understand the things in an outdated view. To clarify: it is not up to me to interpret the curriculum. 

But now it felt so wrong, I over ruled the regulations and went to my supervisor and asked; do I help this guy as the individual teacher wants or can I interpret the curriculum myself? 

For the record, it's very clear in the curriculum what you need to know so there's no law broken, but different interpretations juxtapose.

I got the decision: interpret yourself as it won't work otherwise.

Now, to my lot, I have math and physics. I would actually have to have even the language, because if you're not from the start English-speaking, you become it through computer games.

And here's the funny thing; when you use games in education, you not only teach one course at a time. You can combine, you can do both, you can learn more, you can learn faster and suddenly you also have the lustful learning. The desire to learn and the desire to understand. 

Because it's fun. 
The environment is safe; therefor you can relax and start to learn.

So math and physics. 
And Minecraft. 
Because Minecraft is "AWWSOME!"
Even if you're 18 years old.

To be able to solve the physics we have to start with math. And survival (great choice!) as it's more fun. Yes, more fun and math is present all the way!

"1 coal smelts 8 blocks of iron ore. Burning time of one coal is 80 seconds while burning time of one lava bucket is 920 seconds more. What is the burning time of one lava bucket?" (from the Gameplay Publishing "Minecraft Maths")

It was an easy one; 920+80=1000 seconds.

Next examples are my own, not from the book!
But next one, according to the reports, he would need a calculator: How many minutes is 1000 seconds?

In his head he calculated 16 minutes.

And he had to explain.
"60 seconds multiplied with 10 is 600 seconds. Then I know I have 400 seconds left. 60 multiplied with 6 is 360 seconds. That's 16 minutes. Then of course you have another 40 seconds, so 16 min and 40 seconds if I have to be exact!"

He continued: "if we assume I can fill/empty the furnace constantly I will get 100 iron ingots after one lava bucket, as the burning time for one ingot is 10 seconds"

Now the idea is that we should do the physics part: velocity calculations and for that we have created racing tracks. We will measure how long it will take to walk, run, ride horse, swim, use boat and use minecart for 100 blocks (100 metres). We have already talked about cars speed, your walk speed and so on, but next week we'll figure out how to also do the calculations.

20 april 2016


I start slowly land from our eSport project and the final, March 30th. It has been a fairly stressful project year to be the first school in Finland to test e-Sport in education. Not least because it has felt like walking in a combination of marsh and uphill. Around Christmas Finnish media realized we have started, that you actually can learn e-Sport in school in Finland from the fall of 2015!

We have circulated in both Finnishswedish as in Finnish media; newspaper articles, radio programs and national television. We have started to collaborate with three Finnish e-Sport organizations, a PhD Student at Helsinki University (Game education research), The Finnish e-Sport federation (SEUL) and there is also a master thesis coming up on the health aspects connected to our e-Sport project.

We have been on a field trip to Sweden and Arlandagymnasiet, an upper secondary sport school where they also started e-Sport last fall. It was both interesting and educational, and we realized two things: 
  • we're on the right track
  • we've managed our first year better
Both Sweden (and upcoming Norway) uses the sports curriculum while we use a vocational curriculum. Contrary to our neighboring countries, our students actually not game in school, they do it in the evenings and home (as they anyway do it) and then it is counted as school days.

We also have all participants to sign written contracts, they are not legally binding, but we want both parties (the school and the students) agree on a contract. All experience so far has also been written down.

Like any construction project that takes the first sod to fundamentally we have done the same. Though instead of a shovel, we have used a Minecraft pickaxe and all collaboration partners we have come across has signed it!

In January 2016 we thought it would be cool to arrange a CS:GO school tournament (Insomnolence16) and when asking we should have at least 30 teams. Turned out we got seven and have to open it up to other Finnishswedish upper secondary schools as well. Then we got 12 teams. All groupstages would be played in evenings from home but the final, would be played daytime in school on stage. As we wanted this event to be a happening we also invited lectures, other educator's (schools) and parents. To document this, we thought we could take advantage of our media assistant education. Suddenly national television was eager to stream the occasion and our media students found themselves in the position to make national TV... 

Lot's of education connected to a gaming project, that's for sure!

We got caster's from the Finnish e-Sport stage, actually the same guy who usually cast in national TV (Teemu "wabbit" Hiilinen) together with a former female e-sport pro, Jenny "NapuliX" Kåla. Except the national TV stream we also had their TV show "Sportmagasinet" making a reportage about our project and the final. If you download the app (outside Finland) you would be able to see the show and e-Sport starts after approx 19 min.

With such a limited time (53 schooldays all in all) our students truly made a masterpiece. But to next year we need to start to plan right now.

8 mars 2016

I'm alive! but a bit stressed...


I feel a bit bad for not blog that much at the moment, believe me; I have loads that need to come out.

It turned out last fall our students needed help with lots of missing course points, that they somehow havn't taken or havn't been offering. To put together an aid kit of 200 lessons just like that takes energy.

Because I'm the Minecraft teacher I see a lot of benefits with gaming, I teamed up with our sports coordinator (old guy 55+ with a son who played way too much videogames). And together we're trying e-Sport in education.

Or actually, together with Team Menace, ENCE eSports, 100k eSports and SEUL we're building Finnish e-Sport in education! 

It turned out we're the first school in the country to use e-Sport in education! As we also do the "sharing is caring" we're a major hit in the national news. But time? I have really no time to blog about it.

My colleague by the way is an impressive guy, he's the national handball coach for the guys born 1998. He has also started a one of the kind possibility for our top athletics: combine your sport with a vocational degree (google translate works!) Now he/we have students training for the Olympics.

He also convinced me, we should start an e-Sport school tournament! Yeps, so now we're in the middle of that one. But as it's lots of learning possibilities with that, it will be arranged by students and so far we have been able to connect the tournament to four different courses!

As there is so much learning involved when you are about to arrange a tournament we want the students to do as much work as possible. We now have them collaborating with four other students groups/educations. 

Business Information Technican (Swedish: datanom)
These are the students we test the e-Sport concept with, they also arrange the tournament. They also take care of all the matches and the servers.

Electrician (Swedish: elmontör)
We'd need a lot of power to do this!

Business and Administration Clerk (Swedish: merkonom)
Product demonstration of sponsors goods and maybe selling collaboration partner's merchandise.

Media Assistant (Swedish: medie-assistent)
We wanted them to do a "TV-production" of the event. Turned out the national TV is very interested to stream it out via their channels...

Waiter/Waitress (Swedish: servitör)
Will take care of all guests and also our players!

Today we also started to think what if we could get another education envolved
Practical Nurses (Swedish: närvårdare)
As e-Sport more and more turn out to be a wellbeing project, what if we could have some information about nutrition and why not a first aid group?

How do we connect e-Sport in education? 
Well, besides having them in gym every week we also can use the magic of e-Sport and teach different subjects which they otherwise wouldn't be that interested in. They have all installed servers in virtual box but not for real. Last week one great learning opportunity came across.

Our students asked what if the rented server goes down? 
what if the ping isn't good enough in the final? 
Would it be possible to set up one own? 

I replied, why don't you list what's needed and ask my colleague in the lab? 
Turned out we didn't had the parts, but my foreman gave us a go to invest in one because we anyway need one, but only if the students could pick the parts and also explain WHY and WHAT benefits we would have of that server except as a game server.

They started with that task and managed it well. The server parts was ordered and yesterday the rented server actually went down in the middle of one match. But our serverparts came this morning so our students have been sitting on overtime (my lessons stopped 14:45 and they ran home at 17:15) trying to config the server. I'm very impressed and very proud of them!

Just when today's matches should start our own server went down and the rented server got up... So they are highly motivated to come back to school tomorrow and fix the server! And also document the process, as they were too stressed to remember that today :D

Here you can find our experiences so far about e-Sport in education.

4 februari 2016

Learning that occur in HayDay

Someone said that it is doubtful whether HayDay really can be used as Game based learning, but well, this is what happens when I use it with my 7 yo daughter.

For you new readers, a summary:
A couple of months ago I started to think what you can learn of HayDay so I come up with some thoughts about it, this post and this post.

So what happened?
During the Christmas holidays my daughter AquaVera started to play HayDay as well. Seven years old, wanted to have an app we could play with together and as I'm HayDay addicted she wanted to see what makes me play it. 

When she earlier hijacked my game she had used both all my diamonds as gold to buy stuff. Suddenly with an own game she starts to be careful how to spend her cash and she also saves the diamonds to something special. She also starts to learn you can't buy everything you want, you have to save money to afford wanted items (bakery, grill, jam maker and more).

So the first learning occurred was the ability to deal with money.

In HayDay and at level 18 you can join a neighborhood and she joined the one I'm in. Every week you and your neighbors participate in a derby, you choose and pick missions and when you have completed them you'll get points. The harder challenge, the more points.

Our racing horse getting as far as our points get him and it didn't took long until she understood, wanted to get the missions with most points and also compete with the neighbors. No one wants to be the last on the score table.

The second learning occurred was collaboration, even though you compete about the internal ranking you do help each other to fulfill those missions so you win the derby. 

The third learning occurred at the same time: languages, while decode text and write own sentences. Same as in school, but now when there's rewards involved she challenge herself to the limits (it's a game!)

To some of the challenges, like the river boat, you get a hint what you'll need to the next boat. 

Now you have to practice your skills in foresight and planning: can I prepare for the next boat? 

This is hard for a 7-year old girl, it's usually something you should learn later in school and what my students, 10 years older, still struggle with.

The forth learning occurred was therefor math and the three mathematical operations of addition, subtraction and multiplication. Now the operations didn't stop at 10, as in school, but as far as she had plots to plant. Every plot gives also the double amount when you harvest.

And just as you this classic example of understanding multiplication you can create it visual by yourself inside HayDay.

In HayDay she has 
  • 5 (fields) * 2 (plots in each field) = 5 * 2 = 10
  • 2 (fields) * 5 (plots in each field) = 2 * 5 = 10
  • 4 (fields) * 3 (plots in each field) = 4 * 3 = 12
  • 3 (fields) * 4 (plots in each field) = 3 * 4 = 12

Our next learning project is the magic skill of foresight and planning. 

Let's stay there at foresight and planning...
I had a discussion with a work mate the other week, as we both have connected our games to Facebook we're neighbors. I asked him what he have learnt of playing HayDay. Of course he hasn't learn a thing! 

But when I had him to have that important second thought he actually came up with something brilliant: 
Production chains

Hay Day actually teaches all the steps in the production chain! All small steps to a finished product, all steps are equally important. And, just as in real world, if you are unable to produce one or more steps, you can purchase that service.

Three months ago we were out on a field trip, we met a CEO that was looking for workers with the right mindset. Among other things: a positive attitude as well understand the importance of being a team player

Team player with this example: 
Even though you are hired to do one thing you have to be flexible enough to also temporarily jump to another spot in the production chain if it will be needed.

Where can you learn to understand the production chain for free and when it's fun...???

12 januari 2016

I don't want to do homework!

What homework do you have?
OK, reading and writing...
Have you done it?
I'm finished!
Show me!

So how fooling her to practice writing and reading?

What are you doing?
Building what?
A play field.

But I got her interest.
Our own Lego monopoly.

When she understood she started to invent rules.
One dot = one step.

Two dices so you have to walk at least 2 dots but maximum 12 dots. You can buy a plot in different size from where you get.
  • 1 x 6 dots = 1€
  • 2 x 6 dots = 2€
  • 4 x 6 dots = 3€ (also what needed to build a party house)

The rent of a plot when an opposite player visit was half the dots of the dice you've rolled.

To build a house you need 1 door (2€), 1 wall (1€) and 1 roof (2€). To buy a plot and build a house cost 8€ and she counted first in the head and then tallied with notes (doing math as she didn't want in the beginning).

It started to be complicated.
Since she was the first to go around once, she was also the first to receive pay. As she was broke she needed some extra money and therefor come up with a new rule: if you're broke for an additional contribution and your salary is 8 instead of 5

Yeah right.
I'm serious dad!
Write that rule down too.


  • One floor building, roll one dice and pay as many euro as dots.
  • Two floor building, roll two dices and pay as many euro as dots.

Lucky for me she wanted more houses rather than skyscrapers!

Learning outcomes:

  • Languages (as usual she combines Swedish, Finnish and English)
  • Writing & Spelling Finnish
  • Math (mental arithmetic)