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INSTRUCTIONAL MEDIA

ASSIGNMENT 2: INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES

 
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ACTIVITY 2-1

Dana Huff
danahuff@vt.edu
31 January 2009

Review a game or simulation related to your own teaching interests and prepare an appraisal report. You may use the "Appraisal Checklist: Simulations and Games" found in your book, or you may develop your own. If you develop your own be sure to describe the purpose of the resource, the intended audience, objectives, and ratings similar to those addressed in the Checklist. Please remember to also provide information about the user interface (navigaton, aesthetics, etc.) in your review report.

TITLE

Grammar Ninja

SOURCE/LOCATION

http://www.kwarp.com/portfolio/grammarninja.html

Downloadable versions of the game exist, which may be found at the same Web site.

SEARCH TERMS

A colleague I follow on the social networking site Twitter shared the link to this game in mid-January 2009. I bookmarked it for review later.

DATE

31 January 2009

COST

Free.

SUBJECT AREA

English Language Arts

GRADE LEVEL

Upper elementary (grades 4 and 5)

PRIMARY FORMAT

Game.

PRIMARY USER(S)

Students

INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
  • Drill and Practice
  • Games
BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Grammar Ninja is a Web-based game (although downloadable versions exist) which tests students' knowledge of the parts of speech. The game has three levels. At the beginner level, students identify only nouns and verbs. At the skilled level, students identify nouns, verbs, pronouns, articles, adjectives, and adverbs. At the master level, students identify all parts of speech. Students are guided to select the part of speech required by the game using the computer mouse to point and click. If they select correctly, a throwing star lands on the word and the word is circled in green. If they select incorrectly, a black mark like an explosion appears on the word, and the program identifies the part of speech for the student.

STANDARDS/OUTCOMES/OBJECTIVES

ELA4C1b:
The student demonstrates understanding and control of the rules ofthe English language, realizing that usage involves the appropriate application of conventions and grammar in both written and spoken formats. The student uses and identifies four basic parts of speech (adjective, noun, verb, adverb) (Georgia Department of Education, Grade 4 ELA Standards, 2005-2006).

ELA5C1a:
The student demonstrates understanding and control of the rules of the English language, realizing that usage involves the appropriate application of conventions and grammar in both written and spoken formats. The student uses and identifies the eight parts of speech (e.g., noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, conjunction, preposition, interjection) (Georgia Department of Education, Grade 5 ELA Standards, 2005-2006).

PREREQUISITES

Students should be able to read basic sentences. The vocabulary level is second grade level. Students will enjoy the game more if they have prior knowledge of the parts of speech and use this game for practice, although it could be used as a teaching tool as well.

STRENGTHS

The game gives corrective feedback through identification of errors. For example, if a student incorrectly identifies a word, the game identifies the selection as incorrect and also tells the student what part of speech the misidentified word is. At the end of a short game, the student's score is tallied based on the time the student took with a penalty for incorrect answers. The student is awarded a title based on that score. Students are then invited to play again. The graphics, music, and sounds effects are also inviting and appealing.

LIMITATIONS

The game only tests basic parts of speech. It could not be used to help students identify complex parts of speech such as verbals. I also identified errors in the game. For instance, in the sentence "Grammar Ninja is not very easy," the task was to identify the nouns. The game said there were two nouns in that sentence when technically, there is only one: Ninja. The word "grammar" in that sentence is being used as an adjective to describe the kind of Ninja, but the game identified that word as a noun. While the word "grammar" is a noun, it is not being used as a noun. This problem could cause students to become confused about how words function in sentences.

SPECIAL FEATURES

The game has three skill levels, which makes it appropropriate for use at different grade levels based on Georgia state language arts standards. The graphics, music, and sound effects would be appealing to upper elementary students. The scoring format encourages students to compete with themselves or perhaps their peers.

RATING
  • Alignment with Standards, Outcomes, and Objectives: High Quality. Standards/outcomes/objectives addressed and use of game should enhance student learning.
  • Accurate and Current Information: Low Quality. Information is not correct (see note in limitations above), although it is not out of date.
  • Age-Appropriate Language: High Quality. Language used is age appropriate and vocabulary is understandable.
  • Interest Level and Engagement: High Quality. Topic is presented so that students are likely to be interested and actively engaged in learning.
  • Technical Quality: High Quality. The material represents the best technology and media.
  • Ease of Use: Medium Quality. Material follows patterns that are easy to follow most of the time, with a few things to confuse the user.
  • Bias Free: High Quality. There is no evidence of objectionable bias or advertising.
  • User Guide and Directions: Medium Quality. The user guide is good resource for use in a lesson. Directions may help teachers and students learn the material.
  • Practice of Relevant Skills: Medium Quality. Some practice of the skills to be learned.
  • Winning Depends on Player Actions: High Quality. The actions of players determine their success in the game.
  • Clear Descriptions and Debriefing: High Quality. The debriefing directions are clearly stated and easy for users to understand.
ASSESSMENT

Recommended for classroom use as skill-and-drill practice after learning parts of speech and for review prior to testing.

REFERENCES

Georgia Department of Education. (2006-2006). English language arts (ELA) standards. Retrieved January 31, 2009, from the Georgia Department of Education Georgia Standards Web site: http://www.georgiastandards.org/english.aspx

Smaldino, S. E., Lowther, D. L., & Russell, J.D. (2008). Instructional technology and media for learning (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall, 48-49.

 
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