It was really great to see the video interview our instructor Lee Graham did with Alice Keeler, former high school math teacher turned educational technology advocate. The interview was conducted in 2014 and Alice describes what gamification is, and the possibilities it provides educators willing to introduce this method to the classroom. It was different from other examples of gamification because Alice breaks it down to 6 basic elements.
First, the classroom environment should provide low risk failure, in fact, we should celebrate failure. Without failure, we cannot grow and learn. The second element is to offer choices. This is the same idea as quests. Provide students a way to learn the same content, but in their own personal way. The third element is leveling. As students go on quests and do other activities, they will accumulate points to level up as they progress. The fourth element is creating a mastery model. It doesn’t make sense for students to move on in content without mastering current content. In learning math, this makes perfect sense. The fifth element is to provide students with immediate feedback. This relates to assignments, assessments, projects, and activities. In order for students to gain mastery and increase achievement, it is important to give constructive feedback quickly. The last element is to provide opportunities to collaborate. In fact, Alice describes giving students complicated, vague directions to assignments/projects and having them struggle with it. It’s important to provide multiple opportunities for communication, creativity, and different pathways. The point is to work together and solve problems.
This video was a flare for me to see what is expected in gamification of a class. She also challenges teachers to play games and see what it is about games that gets them to want to play. Use those same elements to create a gamified class. Get the students hooked and allow them to play. Failure is important and expected in games. We don’t learn otherwise.