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I am a Marine Corps veteran pursuing my career in education. I am currently a student at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). I am all about positive motivation and helping others achieve their max physical and mental/intellectual potential. I love to think "outside-the-box" and believe in looking at things from different perspectives. I enjoy the many arts of life: music, film, literature, aesthetics in the art of the anatomy and physique (i.e. bodybuilding), etc.

I am always open to learning from experience, whether it be my own or others... Good or bad... We will learn regardless...

Andres Reyes

Simulation? Game? Either or... We're learning!

3 min read

“I’m Learning… And it’s fun!!!”

            After reading and watching all the recent readings and videos on new literacy and comprehension of media, I can’t but help but reflect on my own learning through modern technology and media sources via the web.  Upon transferring to Southern Connecticut State University from Housatonic Community College, I have had the pleasure in participating in a political science class called International Studies.  This class requires students to participate in an online simulation called “Statecraft”.  International Relations is one of the first classes I have taken (besides ) that actually deals with how I interact with the media and tech; and combines that with how I interact with students in ‘real time’.

 

(Statecraft World Map)

            Statecraft is a simulated world of multiple countries.  Students are assigned to a country and get to determine its regime type.  From there, students have to act as ‘leaders’ of a country and make diplomatic decisions.  It is a lot fun and it is a definite example of using tech, gaming and media in literary comprehension. 

            Coming from a ‘gamer’ background, I am kind of verse in games like Age of Empires, Command and Conquer and other simulation style games.  This has giving me advantage to some in my class and a sort of leadership position in my country (I am the National Security Advisor; in charge of my country’s military happenings and gathering intelligence on other countries.  I also have to come up with “what-if” scenarios and contingency plans.

(Command & Conquer)

            I can see the combination of “real-world” and simulated play having a tremendous effect in how the other students are earning in class.  The gaming effect of Statecraft makes it seem like it is a game, but gives the students a set of roles and responsibilities in certain positions as leaders of a country.  As quoted from another student in my 'country': “I never play video games or anything, but this is really fun!”

 

            Statecraft is an awesome example of what was discussed in the Big Thinkers Video of Sasha Barab and the Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture reading.  I recommend any student that needs a political science class as a tier requirement to take International Relations that uses Statecraft, as a class.

Andres Reyes

Let Them Play and Create!

3 min read

Reflection on Big Thinkers: Sasha Barab

    In the Big Thinkers video, Sasha Barab talks about media and its role on shaping literate comprehension in students.  Barab explains how media standards, even though well intended when first designed, are very uninteresting to students as well as being very limiting.  Barab explains how modern virtual learning spaces with slight gaming metrics grabs more of the student’s attention and excitement than that of mundane media. 

 

  

 

 

 

        Barab explains how society is at a different time and how textbook resources are, in a sense, outdated.  He tells how it’s really not about getting the information, but more about using the information.  Games give students a purpose from the get go.  The student has to think: “What are the rules of the world?” “What laws affect the world?” and “What happens when I do this, what happens?” He gives examples of different games like:

Trauma Center   ,

Pokémon            

 

and Quest Atlantis                                                                 

 

                                                                                                                                                                       as games that require students to learn a bunch of information so they can accomplish certain goals in a game (save a life in surgery, level up a Pokémon or save a town) even better than previous attempts.  In this model, failure is a motivator and not something to be avoided.  An awesome quote by Barab is that if we limit students to be ignorant vessels to be filled with things, we are not creating futures for them at all.  A mantra said by professor McVerry and heard multiple times in our class. 

 

 

 

 

        According to Barab, we as future educators need to let parents know and have our voices heard that there are additions to the “old ways” of literacy and that this new media literacy will be determining the students’ future.  Memorizing facts is old-school…  We can find more information on our cell phones in 5 seconds than we can remember in our entire high school careers.  Educators need to advocate for ourselves and for what students do outside of school.  We can’t stay out of the “tech-game” and miss opportunities to transform the old institutions of academia into newer advance institutions where students are allowed to manipulate media and use games as a way to learn and create…

 

 

Phenomenal site for educators or future educators...

Andres Reyes

Connected Learning Through Gaming!

4 min read

(This is a group essay my good friend Cesar and I did for our class....  Enjoy this collaborative goodness!) 

(P.S. Shout out to Google Docs... A great tool for collaborative group work...) 

 

Andre Reyes, Cesar Escudero

Sep 25,2015

Edu-106

Professor McVerry

 

GameFAQ’s and the Bigger Picture

            For those who are not aware GameFAQ’s is an online forum that provides information on today’s video games and how to progress through them with peer guided ease.  GameFAQ’s fan base consists of gamers and those who are more interested what makes a game, but the majority have a common purpose to help their fellow gamer with any particular part of a game that is rather complicated.  The site (Gamefaqs.com) consist of boards and forums that are utilized by gamers, and at times, non-gamers alike.  Content for these forum boards are constantly being posted and updated around the clock.  With so many post being added to the numerous boards the site has to offer, many gamers have a chance to read over the comments and write back positive feedback.  Other than the game being played, a variety of topics are discussed such as game mechanics, story/plot, graphic engines, etc.  There are also boards dedicated towards non-gaming material as well; such as anime, movies, TV, etc.  These types of discussions allow for gamers and non-gamers alike to find each other and discuss their common likes and interest all while discussing their common interest in more depth.

            Peer support is an essential key to the forum boards.  Majority of publishers on GameFAQ’s are masters at gaming and thus they impart their wisdom onto novice players or more popularly known as ‘noobs’.  The relationship is like that of a student and master; where the student tries to duplicate similar tactics of the master who is the original creator of the tricks.  These types of forum discussions are filled with opinionated people who debate the quality of a game, walkthrough, tip/trick, etc.  This creates two-sided debates where everyone displays their point of view to see whose resolve is stronger.  These types of discussions and debates are also valuable input for game developers to try and make better games.  This all stemming from GameFAQ’s original intent in having veteran gamers assist other players with in-game challenges.

            When it comes to publishing content on the site there are no restrictions.  Any valuable input is worth putting on the site.  All comers are welcomed to GameFAQ’s and  are welcomed to take advantage of all that the site has to offer.  One feature GameFAQ’s offers is the ability for veteran gamers to record their gameplay and publish it for all to see.  This allows for step-by-step instructions, via a visual guide, that allows for learning to occur within ‘noobs’ .  

            The community is also rather large.  With games of today becoming rather complex, gamers need all the help they can get in defeating certain levels, bosses, goals,etc.  “Squad” and “clan” based connection is an essential element towards accomplishing these gamer goals.  Gamers can meet on GameFAQ’s as part of an online community where they support each other and then expand that connection onto all gaming platforms.
           Ga
meFAQ’s is the ultimate peer-to-peer, collaborative environment !   With boards directed specifically towards gaming and other boards for other interest, GameFAQ’s is a great example of how society is now conducting modern collaberative learning amongst ourselves.

 

 

Andres Reyes

Blue Bird Chirping

3 min read

Twitter Chat Analysis

I experienced my very first Twitter chat the other day.  While perusing around in my newly created Twitter account and utilizing the Tweetdeck application I saw professor McVerry use in class, I was invited by professor McVerry to join the chat that was occurring at 8pm on 23 Sept 15. 

 The Twitter chat was about integrating the arts to help student learning.  The chat consisted of multiple teachers and educators with whom professor McVerry considers to be the thought leaders of the state.  

 

The chat was organized via the and a google document that depicted some questions the moderator would ask.   The moderator being Amy Traggianese who is co-facilitator of and an elemntary art essentialist amongst other attributes.  She would post one of the questions and the other particpates would answer them.  

It looked something like this:

   

Many of the participates were very much expert in the dynamic of Twitter chatting.  They knew how to answer each question at lighting fast speed with links to examples, videos, pretty much anything you can imagine.       

 

            I tried to participate with a "wow! How cool is that!" or an "Awesome!" every now and then. I think even      professor McVerry tried to showcase the Timeline I did for , but I felt like a definite total noob... 

 Storify link to chat

Andres Reyes

"You want to learn? Come on in! We're open and it's free!"

4 min read

Reflection on Working in/at Public by Robin DeRosa

 

            While reading the journal by DeRosa, I couldn’t help but agree with her sentiments on how what we post on the web through social media can cause avalanches of opinion and in some cases, backlash.  I also strongly agree with her opinion on how we as educators should not be only willing to work in the public, but work at it as well.  Her blotter/journal shows not only a cautionary tale of working in the public, but also a means to how and why we should be willing to work with the public as well.

             

                                                Robin DeRosa

                                                                     (Robin DeRosa)

 

 

 

 

DeRosa told a story of a professor whose tweet caused a backlash against her and her profession.  She uses this example and others as a way of showing the risks educators take while talking on happening issues publicly through social media or just publicly at all.  An educator doesn’t even have to be an activist for free speech or tenure protections when it comes to having your opinions and remarks on social media analyzed and critiqued.  The irony with the Goldrick-Rab’s specific case is that she was an activist for public schools and her “public” engagement through a tweet kind of ruined her work for the public good.  Her research and work pushed aside because of a tweet.

 

                                   
                                                               (Got that post-tweet regret)

 

 

 

 

While some participates in the Digital Pedagogy Lab were frightened by the Goldrick-Rab example in DeRosa became empowered.  She explains that the challenge of being a scholar is not just in being accountable for your words to a diverse audience; it is being responsible for demanding that the diversity be preserved in the face of pressure that stems from profit driven, comfortable elitist.  Her work on OER (Open Educational Resources) initiatives are trying to pave the way for more free and openly licensed content that would allow students and educators to ‘remix’ or ‘hack’ (ala Professor McVerry’s term) knowledge.  One student even brought the environmental aspect of the OER movement; explaining how digital textbooks increase the access for students and decrease the impact we have on the environment in order to make paperbacks.  (This even elicited a response from DeRosa herself!)

 

         

                                          (Trailblazing literacy comprehension!)

 

 

 

 

DeRosa explains how we must “stand-up” to oppressive structures.  These exclusive digital structures are all to exclusive and oppressive and by carving out public digital space in which all have access, the public can all benefit from the open learning occurring in the carved out digital space.  The OER movement is a great weapon against these structures.  We need to keep the “public” a product-less environment and the digital world a place of nondominant expression.

 

                                 

                                               (Standing up to the big dog!)                      

 

 

 

 

 

Working in/at public can be like walking on eggshells, but we must keep the public an accessible and open space for creativity and knowledge sharing!

                    

                                          (Demand a free and open web for all!!!)


 

Link to Working in/at Public