In my post that featured a TED talk on Classroom Game Design, I mentioned the interest that I have in trying to use the interest that my students have in gaming to engage them in the classroom. Rather than having them play video games in the classroom, I am considering making the classroom, itself, into a game-type environment. I found this wonderful post by Mr. Daley that gives some great tips on trying to “gamify” your classroom. I have a grand scheme to integrate Mr. Daley’s ideas, Genius Hour, and Teaching with Tournaments into my 5th grade Gifted and Talented class next year. As usual, I am biting off far more than I can teach, and it will probably dissolve into a sort of semi-controlled chaos. But, I guarantee that the kids will have fun and they will learn! (You might also be interested in this case study, by Peter Ross, about a teacher named Kate Fanelli who successfully used “gamification” to engage her students.)
2 thoughts on “Gamification of the Classroom”
I happened on this post while reading about educational gaming and I’m really glad to hear someone local who’s over the taboo of games in the classroom. There are lots of games with fun/addictive mechanics now that can teach kids/teens complex lessons:
It’s kinda old news to say Minecraft (http://www.minecraft.net), but a multiplayer experience in construction for a GT class can teach a lot of skills that are hard to explain verbally. Try to get a group of 10 kids to build a house or a skyscraper – it’s pretty neat to see what they can learn about communication, teamwork, sharing, even sustainability just from attempting to work together. Also, no one has to call the nurse when they inevitably kill each other. (Protip: Turn off the nighttime zombies before using Survival mode to teach a classroom lesson. Don’t ask me how I know.)
Another one that comes to mind (if young kids can get past the title) is Sleep Is Death (http://sleepisdeath.net). It essentially makes one player an invisible storyteller (in a sandbox kind of way) and the other player an active participant in that story that interacts using natural language. It’s turn-based – the participant responds to the situation by moving around and speaking through their character, and the storyteller manipulates the environment around them. Honestly, it’s hard to do it justice but a couple of sessions with it and the crazy potential becomes evident.
The best artistic/educational experience in gaming for older kids (I think) is Braid (http://braid-game.com), I think. Not only do the changing game mechanics make for a very challenging puzzler, but each of those game mechanics has literary significance in the short story. The ending, too. If you’re a lit nerd, it’s a quiet but hair-on-the-neck twist that really drives the whole experience home. Plus, it’s not too long like some of the current gen’s 20, 40, 60-hour monsters.
Games have such a short shelf-life given the growth of technology – artistic gems like Pathologic (http://www.pathologic-game.com/eng_index.htm) are nearly unplayable now after even just a few years just due to aging graphics and gameplay mechanics. We should appreciate each of them while they’re still relevant!
Anyway, thanks for keeping gaming in your classroom!
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are badges the next diplomas?