Now that Matera has given me the information about the mechanics of gamifying a class, as well as creating a story to accompany gamification, I decided to read other teachers’ experiences with gamification in their class. Liz Kolb suggests that I use gamification software such as GradeCraft, 3DGameLab, Classcraft, and The Virtual Locker. (2015) I don’t know any of these, so I will have to do some research before implementing one of them. She also suggests not having too many quests, it overwhelms students and they don’t know what to do or start with. Another suggestion is to have students opt-out of leaderboards because, as she stated, it was “uncool” to be at the top. (2015). I think the best advice I read about came from John McCarthy. He stated that I should start small like gamifying one lesson, and recommends starting with some achievements and badges, and establish experience points and levels. (2016). I like this idea. Interestingly, these two individuals don’t discuss a story line like Matera does, they just focus on game mechanics.
So here is a plan to gamify one lesson in my Statistics class. I will use the game mechanics of achievements, badges, experience points, quests, and levels. An achievement is anything that is unlocked by gameplay and can take the form of badges or items. Badges are earned after successful completion of tasks. Experience points (XP) is a unit of measurement used to quantify a player’s progression through a game, and are awarded for completion of tasks. Quests are missions with objectives. Levels indicate player’s position or rank, and can refer to a player’s current stage in a game.
The lesson will be to learn about measures of center and measures of spread for quantitative data. I can give badges for those students that complete a definition of each. They can also be awarded XP for the definitions. The next play would be to have students choose quests. There would be about 7-8 mini assignments that utilize measures of center or measures of spread. As they complete each quest, they can gain XP, and if they gain enough XP, they can level up.
This seems simple enough! In order for this game to continue, I would have to develop other lessons in the same manner, and if I feel confident, I can begin adding more game mechanics. I can see how other game mechanics such as power ups, currency, life jackets, leaderboards, time events, punishments, easter eggs, and farming can increase the value of the gamified class.
Kolb, Liz. (2015). Epic Fail or Win? Gamifying Learning in my Classroom. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/epic-fail-win-gamifying-learning-liz-kolb
Matera, Michael. Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, Enrich, and Elevate Your Learners with Gamification and Game-inspired Course Design (Kindle). Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. Kindle Edition.
McCarthy, John. (2016). Gamifying Your Class to Meet the Needs of All Learners. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/gamifying-your-class-john-mccarthy