26 april 2018

The seppo.io experience

This morning I've been "out in the wild" (a recreation area close to our school) with some colleagues to experience what an awesome education tool seppo.io could be. No matter how good the educational thought is with seppo, my colleagues still needed a real case to experience before they could truly understand the power of seppo! They also needed to act as students in order to understand the game mechanics and the different possibilities (or obstacles students run into).

As schools and educator's are so afraid of step out of their comfortable zone, it's very hard to try something new. They are often so locked in their mindset, even if they are allowed to use the device to both play as google, it's too much information and too much out of their comfortable zone. 

Research has proven that walking at least 30 minutes a day, with an activity level that is higher than an average stroll, has an effect on the general condition and general well-being. Also, the activity should preferably be performed in continuous periods of at least ten minutes. The activity should be so intense that you get easily breathed and get a bit difficult to talk at the same time. 

I have my students out walking for at least 30 minutes, and every 10 minutes they will have a short break. During that short break I want them to answer some questions with seppo.

First my players (the teachers) had challenges to log in to the platform. Of course they hadn't read through the walkthru I made for them. The sports teachers were the ones who was most suspicious about seppo but eager to go out exercise. 

Next challenge, chrome and Samsung seem to be a lottery. Suddenly chrome stop answer, the teachers didn't know how to access the settings (of the work phone) and were almost about to give up. The problem occurred when we tried to reach the camera to do selfies.

All controls had different examples of seppo solutions to answer a question; text, movie, audio, photo, check boxes, missing words. After each question we went through each question by edit it, and they slowly started to realize it's their own imagination that sets the limits. 

The board we used had the wrong layout, it should be more of a circle, else the students take the nearby controls first and in wrong order. They will get exercise in order to answer all questions but the educational idea of have them walk for 10 min, take a pause and answer a task then repeat fails.

Same experienced as when I tested with my daughter and her friends. It very soon turn into a competition, even if you discuss and collaborate you want to put in individual answers. And if you were skeptical at first to really do the faster walking it only takes a control before you actually walk a bit faster.

The more controls, the more variations of how to answer a question the more they started to see the possibilities of using seppo and how to design the question (change the traditional questions) so they fit the audio/photo/movie option.

To chat was too hard, they couldn't multitask even though the girls was in majority.

To be able to light up a question first when you're on a certain distance was surprisingly positive, as they many times thought they were in the right spot but now have to understand you can't cheat.

Even though we had challenges, the overall experience of this was very positive. Our sports teachers changed their opinions 180 degrees and understood the limits are their minds, and all that they now need is creativity and think differently.

Thumbs up seppo!


20 mars 2018

The Esports in education journey

For the last three years I've been working with esport in education and how to implement esport courses into an existing vocational program. Therefore, from this very beginning, you should be aware of there's (at least) two different ways and mindsets when you bring esport to school and education. As Finland for about 750 years (!) belonged to Sweden, Finland still compete with Sweden and of course, everything that happens in Sweden sooner and later comes to Finland. Therefore, Finnish media nor the federation, could believe the fact we were at the same page with Sweden in the Fall of 2015.

I'm working as a remedial teacher at Yrkesinstitutet Prakticum, which is the only upper secondary vocational institution in the Greater Helsinki area where the language of instruction is Swedish and that offers initial vocational education for young people and adults.

Anyhow, the news of the (school) year 2015 was that you could study esport, just as any other sport, at Arlandagymnasiet in Sweden. No matter if you were a football- handball- or icehockey-player, now you could start learn to be an esport pro at this sports college. Later we understood they got 7 students this first year and in the Spring they had 4 left, they have later been struggling with the in gaming motivation. Also, one important thing to notice. First you have to have good grades, then an esport talent.

That Fall - 2015 - we had another situation: We had the third year's student who misunderstood the meaning of freely elective courses. It was never free-if-you-wanted-courses but courses-you-have-to-choose-freely. I started to wonder, do they have any knowledge or interest that we can make into knowledge and study points?

All said: esports!
What the heck is esports?
In school???

There my esport in education journey started.
I soon teamed up with the school's (traditional) sports coordinator (also national handball coach for youth players) as I soon come to realize students need physical exercise in order to be able to stay focus and handle stress in game.

That esport journey is well documented.
The course content was the worst part to make a sketch of as we had no idea. What we roughly sketched up in the Spring of 2016 and what we planned to do the schoolyear 2016-17 sure helped but what the Finnish esports federation (SEUL) really wanted was course contents like this (including scope, objective, content, method and assessment).

As the Finnish vocational curriculum changed 1.1.2018 we also had to change our course. Or actually and more exactly, we - despite Sweden - have a possibility to make an exam part of a vocational education local. Therefore we can offer 20 credits out of 180 about esports

The difference between Sweden and Finland is quite simple.
  • Sweden have former esports professional coaching students inside mainly two games: CSGO and LOL.
  • Finland have teachers, experts in different subjects, teaching life skills needed in esports.

With that said, our course content is suitable for all those who now and in the future plan to work in the field of esports, but it isn’t limited to just playing. Possible professions in the field of esports are for example
  • Professional / Semiprofessional player (there's a difference in Finland)
  • YouTuber
  • Streamer
  • Blogger / vlogger 

Even though we now will start to be online ingame, it's not to coach the students in their game - in fact, the choice of game is not important! - but focusing on the personal development of the player. Of course, individual training must be both goal-oriented and significantly more than 5 credits in time, but we think it is realistic to demand 5 credits from the school or the educator to promote the players of tomorrow.

This esport journey finally ended up in the Educator's handbook to esports, which you can find here. Please be aware that as any instruction manual, all three languages (Swedish, English and Finnish) is in the same book! As I assume you want to read the English version of the handbook, scroll down to page 37 something and you'll have the English version.

In the same way as it's a handbook, it's also a textbook to students who wants to learn languages!

Finally, esports as a learning environment. 
Each year we - Yrkesinstitutet Prakticum - host a CSGO tournament: Insomnolence

It's an esport event arranged by students who, of course, get supervision of teachers. We have "business clerks" make the event, "hotel receptionists" that welcome the guests, "business information technican" who handle the twitch and matches, "ICT assemblers" doing the network and power supplies and "media assistants" that makes the production that streams out in the world via national TV!