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Metacognition, games (and preview on artificial intelligence)

Tech Talk for Teachers #1

Participants anonymized (DH, BL, FT, LW, GF, KH)

Metacognition and Games

Our team was very intrigued by how Nanite crunches (rendered on Unreal, a game engine) can be reduced to just millions of triangles!

What is Metacognition?

It is essentially thinking about thinking. For instance, going to MacDonalds to eat a cheeseburger. The act is just deciding to go and eat and the metacognition layer may involve: why cheeseburger?

Asking why is something that DH has observed to be lacking in Singaporean students during her time teaching Math in a secondary school. In pursuit of academic excellence there is a tendency to default to robotic routine practice instead of what is going on behind it.

As a Math teacher, Metacognition and Math Learning is something she has been very invested in. She is keen on helping more students become aware of metacognitive techniques with an element of gamification. Learning about the self also goes beyond anyone specific domain.

What elements of games/ gamifications stuck with students?

Typically, one that affords a narrative of progress tended to resonate better with students. For instance, a Tamagochi-style gamification element where students had to complete tasks to feed their pet helped to guide learners and increase their motivation.

BL also shared how a system called Cosmology was used to track points across a 2-year time horizon for his students learning computing at the Junior College (JC) level. It is the same system used in NUS School of Computing.

Setting up escape rooms

The three teachers on the call who tried escape rooms all used a slightly different setup:

  1. Used Google Slides for ease of integration with Google Classroom

  2. Used Twine (open source platform) that allows rich interactive narratives. Tutorial here

  3. Used Student Learning Space (SLS) and its in-built gamification functions.

Pitfalls in Gamification?

Some students get too caught up in the heat of winning and forget that learning is still the ultimate goal. This makes it tough to balance learning outcomes while keeping the game competitive and engaging.

Artificial Intelligence - context and preview

Some developments:

  • AI SG student club started since 2020/2021 by Jing Long

  • Since then AI SG has also offered TWA (with fairly rigorous requirements of having to complete an extensive course on DataCamp)

  • Student Learning Space has an AI Roadmap

What points of interaction do we have (as educators) with AI, if any?

Independent of such broad trends and developments above, what are some tools (leveraging AI) that could improve T&L or reduce admin?

Thanks to all the participants who contributed to the discussion above. We will investigate these ideas next week(:

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