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Gaming Gamma: Riders on the Storm of a Pandemic, Just Fold.It

04- Coaching Playbook COVID-2019 Gaming for a Cure

04-Coaching Playbook: Engagement Fueled by Gaming to Promote STEAM & Find a cure for COVID-19 @Lulaeducate

Disclaimer: This article was first written in 2018. I have since re-formatted in light of COVID-19. This article is not legal, financial, nor investment advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. As part of the release of my “Coaching Playbook,” each strategy is bifurcated into parents brief background info (to accelerate motivation of their new hybrid-homeschool student), and a student section — a few ideas to start students’ research journey. These are the pearls of wisdom I offer to my clients. Generally, I model these for parents with bidirectional feedback, because parents know their kids best, you know, the whole nature-nurture thing. Unfortunately, due to Covid, these are from my point of view only, not tailored to your specific child. Silver lining, you can adopt this any way you want! Second, I provide several resources for a deep dive into a specific topic. I rate them for their approximate audience. Feel free to jump to the deep dive. There is a separation between the two on my Medium Series. (Student activities are the Purple Cards.) Questions or comments? Message me @Lulaeducate

Learning: No Small Matter, Hard Sciences + Gaming, Winning!

The idea that gamers could solve HIV and perhaps even COVID-19, would seem to be mere science-fiction, the irony! However, Fold.it could be that tool. I first heard about Fold.it from a favorite professor in Anatomy and Physiology, Dr. Oba. I consider him a primary mentor in my quest to right the wrongs of education via engagement. His innovation was instrumental in my succeeding in Pre-Med course work. After leaving teaching myself, I knew a thing or two about teaching and learning, but I had previously overlooked the secret sauce, engagement, as it was frequently written off as ‘fluff,” due to NCLB and quest to test. Given that I had not taken a science class since Meteorology in 2000, let us just say, a lot had changed in ten years. I needed to learn a vast amount of hard science content in a very brief time.

How did I do this? I voraciously consumed all multi-modal resources, (Youtu.be, Khan Academy, an array of online resources, virtual texts/flashcards) I also built models out of play dough with my daughter, found songs for complicated biological pathways and drew on my patio doors, a lot, great for pharmacokinetics. Of course, I ended up coaching everyone in my class, because I am a social learner and verbal processor. I do not learn until I say the concepts outloud, sometimes you will see people whisper reading, these people are likely also verbal processors. There is far more to this nuance, to be discussed later. In sum, my learning profile is complex to say the least. I was not the brightest in the class; there were others far more intelligent, but not engaged. However, I was a relentless researcher, driven to absorb, educate, and learn everything, and teaching came natural to me, after all I had been in the classroom for 10 years. Moreover, anyone who’s ever encountered a kindergartener knows without engagement you’re not “teaching” anything…

By this point in my career as a teacher, I also knew how to empower learners to leverage their personal strengths. I became the resource of “mass destruction,” ending the traditional norms of teaching; I coached many within my classes to this end. In hindsight, this is what I love most about learning, engaging others.

Guide on the Side: A Coach Facilitates

Dr. Oba was a key mentor and his lectures were fascinating. He was an engaging bottomless pit of knowledge, which served as a jumping off point to dive into the concepts more deeply. While all that was required was rote memorization, given my graduate school studies, I knew that the reason I never particularly excelled in hard sciences prior, but rather avoided them like the plague, was because I am a “big picture thinker.” I need to clearly understand the overview before any details would even begin to make the slightest sense. What I had missed earlier in my academic career was this rudimentary fact was not only superficial checklist in the textbook, but rather it was the critical precursor needed for me to transfer information from my short-term to long-term memory; without such, learning does not extend beyond rote recall for me. Blah, blah, blah you think. On the contrary, I explain this process because you may see similar traits in your student/yourself. It may appear that your student is not paying attention, but it is a bit more complex than merely attention. The concept is better known as “intention for attention,” or “priming the pump.”

Another way to conceptualize this is to think of that boring overview as not only a space filler, but the scaffolding or infrastructure needed to process learning. See below. Stated alternatively:Achieving this level of engagement is the “missing link,” to transcend beyond the “50 First Dates” “Ground Hog Day” style of learning and achieve true educational Nirvana.

Educational Nirvana

Meaningful overview offers the infrastructure for students to fit the details. These later serve as the foundation for connections circa analysis & synthesis.

Teachable Moments are the Key to Engaged Learning

Other students learn differently. Many of my Kindergartners were ‘gamers,’ and they only spoke gaming, e.g., Pokemon and Mario. They were also mesmerized my Science, but in Kindergarten, sadly, only reading and to a lesser degree math mattered. I missed multiple teachable moments due to the ‘test obsessed and metrics driven’ state of education. This realization, coupled with the state of education policy in Wisconsin, was ultimately why I left teaching and stayed home with my daughter.

Un-Civil War & Rider’s on the Storm

“What we have got here…is failure to communicate…”.

— Guns & Roses, Civil War

Ethics of Education: Stakeholders in Conflict

Doctors take the hippocratic oath, “First do no harm.” Teachers have the core ethos, “The students’ best interest,” while not an oath, it is similar. I knew the issues in education and sought to address same through educating parents with respect to child development as it relates to education including the ever-expanding expectations of learning that most had no knowledge thereof. I did so as I saw the vast number of students growing disinterested as our “seat-time” increased exponentially and “fluff,” was outlawed. [3] My bachelor’s education degree is different than many, pedagogy and cognitive psychology were interwoven deeply. My specific degree is Early Childhood Education, I was certified to teach Pre-Kindergarten — Grade 3, the foundational years of engagement and also the years many critical windows in neurological development close. This fact alone substantiates why both Birth to 3 and early intervention models are cost efficient and sentinel to education reform. [5][6][7][8]

Policy Predicament: Trends Speak Volumes

Each year, as I met with the four-year old Kindergarten teachers, a program where I served as a founding member of the 4K Steering Committee, the lists became more grim and an increasing amount of five year olds were flagged as ‘disinterested learners who can be a handful.’ As the trend became even more pronounced, I had to question why, what were we doing to our children? Let me expound, children are sponges, they love learning when they are young, why does this not continue? My hypothesis, they were bored/frustrated with too much direct instruction versus engagement and inquiry. AKA: Our instruction was not developmentally appropriate.

Failure to Communicate: Stakeholders Misaligned

When children are bored, they are less than compliant. Perhaps it is not about the kid, per se, but more so, it is about the curriculum? Ever the researcher, I pondered why, but I was not at the point in my career that I had 20+ years in the classroom and could simply say, “What evs, I know how children learn.” Rather, I was at the point in my career where I was under a microscope, not only for my drive to facilitate technology adoption to optimize learning, an unwelcome view initially, and the topic of my thesis, but also for my creative, yet highly academic nature that did not match the direction of ever more standardized testing on the horizon. While some colleagues may have had enough clout to ignore these directives, I did not. Moreover, if my theory was correct, we were doing an injustice to our children. The phenomena of excessive and meaningless testing is crushing the professionalism of teaching as it misaligns stake holders against one another. [7][8]This phenomena is what I constantly refer to as No Child Left Untested. The disastrous policy where we track students from baseline and project their fixed ability. The effects are evident in both the College Admissions (Varsity Blues) and the Atlanta Teaching scandals. Each of which demonstrate the adversarial nature of vested, but misaligned stakeholders who fail to communicate.

“Rider’s on the storm, Riders on the storm

Into this house we’re born; Into this world we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone; An actor out alone; Riders on the storm…

Take a long holiday; Let your children play…” — The Doors

In sum, I facilitated the passage of several referenda, but I was not a 25 year teacher, my mentor was, after all she was 896! (It is a Kindergarten thing.) I came to a crossroads in 2011, where many teachers exited the field and I questioned how so many forces could be at odds. Ah, yes, I am speaking of the requirement to test Kindergarteners 10 times in a year one on one as the testing mandates and curriculum simply became compressed.

If you have not figured this out yet, I do not believe in simple ability. I believe that Ability is an algorithm of interest, effort, and cognition.

Family Affairs & Engaged Learning

If you have watched my earlier videos with my daughter within my Coaching Playbook, you see I am not the traditional parent, nor teacher. I have always spoken to my daughter as if she were a person, not a puppy. She, like every child, is a sponge when it comes to things of high interest. Occasionally, I even brought my daughter to Dr. O.’s class, as he had an amazing knack of engaging every student, even three-year-olds, with a pinch of this, a dash of that, and lectures that mesmerized.

But, the magic of the good Doc was not in what he taught but how he taught; it was here that I began to realize how the Educational system could be fixed at every level: Engagement!

A Case For Engagement: Proteins & Dysfunction

When sitting in lecture after lecture, one can only handle so many richly detailed dissertations on the significance of proteins before severe cravings for peanut butter, overshadow the content at hand. I simply did not understand the big picture, therefore, I could not fathom how pathogenesis, up-regulation, nor down-regulation, let alone spores, spikes, and polysaccharides had any significance thereof, until…Fold.it.

Just Le Chatelier (Just Chill) & FOLD.IT

In my quest to understand, I created a repository of awesome videos, flashcards I drew, and other resources like play dough molecules. Below are some of my faves to offer your nomad student a way to get lost in academia, gaming, or in this case, BOTH!

I have rated each according to the context needed, and the probable audience that would enjoy. Given all that you now know about engagement, and given that the COVID-19 Virus is what has throttled you into the role of parent, today’s suggested deep dive is Fold.it

Fold.it, which uses the love of gaming to predict the intricate protein folding of the receptor site, where therapeutics and other molecules bind. These three links discuss @Lulaeducate

ACTIVITY

Fold.it, which uses the love of gaming to predict the intricate protein folding of the receptor site, where therapeutics and other molecules bind. These three links discuss:

You don’t have to be a scientist to do science! Download and play Foldit and you can help researchers discover new antiviral drugs that might stop coronavirus! The most promising solutions will be manufactured and tested at the University of Washington Institute for Protein Design in Seattle. Foldit is run by academic research scientists. It is free to play and not-for-profit. To get started, download Foldit and create a username!

Proteins: A Very Brief Overview:

Proteins are ‘macro-molecules.’ All proteins are made of 21 amino acids. Each amino acid is comprised of a an amino group, a carboxyl group, and a side chain. They may also contain other molecules. Proteins have structures, which determine their coordinating function and how they may interact via bonding. There are four types of structure: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, & Quaternary.

Tertiary is the 3D shape due to chemical properties of the molecules and Quaternary is how proteins themselves assemble. Below, I have included a variety of resources that you may enjoy. Conversely, you may simply want to go right to the Fold.it website.

When you play Fold.it, you assist scientists as they seek to decode the spike protein that is found outside of the virus. The protein structures or receptor will need to bind with any therapeutic.

In short, scientists need your help to save the world!

Taken from the article in Scientific America, Foldit Gamers Solve Riddle of HIV Enzyme within 3 Weeks: The online game poses protein-folding puzzles, and participants provided insights recently that solved the structure of an enzyme involved in reproduction of HIV,

“When video gamers armed with the world’s most powerful supercomputers take on science and its most vexing riddles, who wins? Sometimes, it’s the gamers.

Humans retain an edge over computers when complex problems require intuition and leaps of insight rather than brute calculation. Savvy programmers and researchers at the University of Washington have tapped into this human “supercomputer” with Foldit, an online game that poses complex puzzles about how proteins fold, one of the hardest and most expensive problems in biology today.

“Foldit attempts to predict the structure of a protein by taking advantage of humans’ puzzle-solving intuitions and having people play competitively to fold the best proteins,” the company explains on its website. “Since proteins are part of so many diseases, they can also be part of the cure. Players can design brand new proteins that could help prevent or treat important diseases.” [2]

Since school is closed due the the Pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, here is a brief draw to know video that explains same:

For my proprioceptive friends, this is a draw to know video, this resource helped me in the most difficult course I have taken Neuropharm. BIO 596 (Sic)

Fold.it is looking for gamers to solve the COVID-19 receptor puzzle of the spike protein of the receptor protein. See here. The protein needs to bind in the proper manner to interact with efficacy.

Check out the newest Coronavirus Binder Design: Round 3 puzzle! This video features Lexi Walls, Ph.D., who recently published important research on SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

Links

Website https://fold.it/ Wiki https://foldit.fandom.com/wiki/Foldit_Wiki Youtu.be: https://www.youtube.com/user/UWfoldit

Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/foldit ; Twitter https://twitter.com/Foldit

Only Scratching the Spiked Surface

In future articles I will offer more resources on PCR, Epigenetics, Vaccinations, herd immunity, anti-virals, anti-retrovirals, epidemiology, social distancing, and compliance and clinical trials, virus hunters, poly- pharmacy, immunology, innovation, & supply chain technology.

Taken from the article in Scientific America, Foldit Gamers Solve Riddle of HIV Enzyme within 3 Weeks: The online game poses protein-folding puzzles, and participants provided insights recently that solved the structure of an enzyme involved in reproduction of HIV,

“When video gamers armed with the world’s most powerful supercomputers take on science and its most vexing riddles, who wins? Sometimes, it’s the gamers.

Humans retain an edge over computers when complex problems require intuition and leaps of insight rather than brute calculation. Savvy programmers and researchers at the University of Washington have tapped into this human “supercomputer” with Foldit, an online game that poses complex puzzles about how proteins fold, one of the hardest and most expensive problems in biology today.

“Foldit attempts to predict the structure of a protein by taking advantage of humans’ puzzle-solving intuitions and having people play competitively to fold the best proteins,” the company explains on its website. “Since proteins are part of so many diseases, they can also be part of the cure. Players can design brand new proteins that could help prevent or treat important diseases.” [2]

In future articles I will offer more resources on PCR, Epigenetics, Vaccinations, herd immunity, anti-virals, anti-retrovirals, epidemiology, social distancing, and compliance and clinical trials, virus hunters, poly- pharmacy, immunology, innovation, & supply chain technology.

Resources Consulted

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv8GW1GaoIc; see also https://www.lyricsfreak.com/d/doors/riders+on+the+storm_20042656.html

[2]https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/foldit-gamers-solve-riddle/

[3] https://youtu.be/XvZDaYJoo3Q

[4] https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/reports/2017/05/03/431766/cuts-medicaid-harm-young-children-disabilities/

[5] https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/ct-abn-early-intervention-state-budget-st-0913-20150915-story.html

[6]https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget20/summary/20summary.pdf

[7] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1437364/

[8] https://www2.ed.gov/programs/find/title/index.html

Videos of Awesome! DNA & Chemistry Overview

Overview of Chemistry & What Chemists Know Chemists Know is a song that hypes the amazing innovations of chemistry, the foundation to understand biochemistry or the interaction of biomolecules and chemical properties. Rating: Fun
Proteins- Science Rap Academy is my favorite so far as it is by students and offers a lot of information on proteins. It mentions the Krebs or Citric Acid Cycle. When studying my favorite for this is found here. Rating: Educational Overview
Cellular Respiration sung to the the tune of Katy Perry T.G.I.F., I ran to this for a solid semester as I needed to know it in its entirely and draw out the molecules of oxidation. Rating: PreMed Worthy song; great for those that like to draw to learn. I nailed that exam. As an aside my 3–4 year old danced to this all the time.
DNA with Lula Raising a Writer, my daughter’s DNA video, featuring a favorite song by They Might Be Giants. Sometimes the in-depth studying produces a music video, which may provide more efficacy depending on their strengths.
DNA: my favorite song. I used this all the time during play time and indoor recess. From the illustrations to the information and melody, this is one for anyone. Rating: Basic.
Different Organic Chemistry Hydrocarbons Nomenclature. This is important to understand as it relates to the chemical properties that impact protein due to their bonding structures. Rating: Fun & Basic.
PH, acids and bases may be a difficult concept, but these basic chemical constructs explain many of the properties of biochemistry. Our bodies are amazing in that they always seek to achieve homeostasis. When studying Diabetic Keto acidosis or ABG’s and arterial gases, I sometimes had to go back to the basics. Rating: Fun and a bit more than ‘Basic’
There is a lot of discussion in the news on mRNA, RNA, & DNA. These differences can be difficult to understand. This is a brief overview. Rating: Basic.
To understand how beautiful proteins can be, see these molecular motors in action. Rating: Basic good for those that are inspired by art.
How DNA bonds is discussed here. Rating Basic + The cartoon nature makes it basic, but he content and details of 5 prime v. 3 prime and double bonds versus triple bonds are a bit complex.
Full Crash Course, need I say more? I love Hank!! Crash Course is a product of PBS. Hank is engaging and has countless videos on everything. He is relatable and engaging. Rating: Intermediate.
More indepth and dry, this video is more like a typical video found in class. It is lovely, just. not as engaging as others. Though, the illustrrations are beautiful. Good source when you want to move beyond the cartoons. Rating: Inermediate
Trasscription and Translation are very difficult to understand, the content presented is offset by the cartoonish nature. This video makes it easier to dive into the biomechanisms of life Rating:Intermediate.
For PreMed Students, Transcription & Translation: After you have mastered transcription and translation. Here is a video I used as Pre Med to understand and map. out the biological pathway. I needed to understand this so that I was able to understand the mechanism of action of the various drug classes. Rating Advanced
COVID-19: SARS Corona Virus-2 for premed. A visual summary and good to share for any and everyone. Rating: Intermediate.

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Jenny Balliet

Jenny Balliet

Frmr. Dir. of Presentations, Athena.Trade | E Media Group | Educator|ADD/ADHD Coach |M.Ed. |Writer | MLAW |Founder of MinED & Lula & CO|Mom (14yo Gmer./Writer)