Week 8: Which aspects of story and game mechanics will be useful in your class and how might you use them?

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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.

References:

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

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Week 8: Which aspects of story and game mechanics will be useful in your class and how might you use them?

  1. Gerald- That is a good suggestion to opt out of leaderboards. Some students may not like to have their name posted. I also worry about kids that don’t see their name get posted how would that make them feel? I like that idea to start small. That is what I need to do because they is so much that you can do it is a little overwhelming.

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  2. Gerald,

    You wrote:
    Liz Kolb suggests that I use gamification software such as GradeCraft, 3DGameLab, Classcraft, and The Virtual Locker. 
    https://www.edutopia.org/blog/epic-fail-win-gamifying-learning-liz-kolb

    So I went through and did a quick view of each of the software systems and bookmarked them.  With a Quick overview of each I found very valuable links.  This answers a lot of my questions about how do I set up a gamified classroom without a specific platform?  It is a combination of ways; and I am beginning to think it is just a way to get around the teacher-centered classroom and limited textbook only method.

    GradeCraft:  https://www.gradecraft.com

    I briefly visited this site and it asks “What is Gameful?” Then Earn Up; Increased Autonomy; Freedom to Fail; and Tangible Progress.

    3D Game Lab:  http://rezzly.com  took me to “over 20,000 quests” (showing a Coastal Manager:  Saving the Coho Salmon.  Great use of iPads!

    Our group Classcraft presentation from class was excellent; so I want to try this out now too!  

    The Virtual Locker:  https://thevirtuallocker.com looks like a class management system for gaming.  

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  3. Hi Gerald,
    Unlike you I found creating a story essential to my being able to come up with other elements. I think this highlights that there are multiple ways to implement. Matera is also a “story-inspired” guy. I’d love to hear what your students think as you implement. There was a math teacher at our local high school who flipped his classroom and implemented some elements of gamification, but he gave it up before a semester was over because his students (and their parents) gave him so much negative feedback. I wonder if it was the flipping or the particular elements that were poorly received. At any rate starting small avoids that awful feeling of investing so much time and energy and having a lesson or unit bomb.

    Keep us posted!

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  4. Hi Gerald,
    I agree, starting out with short lessons is a great way to build confidence in gamification. I’m impressed that you are currently implementing these strategies in your statistics class. Math seems to be one of those daunting subjects that have little wiggle room for creativity and disparity. It’s too bad that there are some parents that are not open minded about using technology in the classroom, but I can also understand their concerns. I think that there are several teachers that use technology to “teach” their students, but it isn’t meant to be used this way. Technology should not take over the teacher! Instead use technology to engage and immerse children in their learning path

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