This year I’m adding a new element to my gamified courses. I’m developing a fully gamified course based on the Science I’ve been teaching for years. The goal is to add a level of fun and engagement to Science both for those who love gaming, gamers, and for those maybe aren’t intrinsically motivated to learn Science (yet). For those who love Science and don’t like gaming or aren’t gamers, they can still learn and love Science! I’m working at making my course accessible to ALL my students.
Last year I improved my gamified Science courses by using an awesome learning management system (LMS) for gamification called 3D GameLab.Â 3D GameLab really streamlined some of the elements of a gamified course for me so that students can enjoy things like gaining XP (experience points) while making my life easier so that I can keep track of what my students are doing and learning. And on top of all that I was also able to give each student individualized feedback on any or all of the assignments they submit for me to review.
So this year I’m adding a storyline to the “game” that is 6th grade Science. I chose Star Trek as the theme for the story because I’m a trekkie/trekker. I was going back and forth between Star Trek and Star Wars because they’re both so cool and fun but Star Trek won out because it’s more Sciencie and Techie than Star Wars and fits my physical science curriculum better. Here’s how I introduced it to my students:
I got the idea for this at NCCE 2014 from Jeff Crews and Dean Phillips from Beyond the Chalk. By using Google Docs with parts of the main story and linking those bits of story to QR codes kids can immerse themselves in the story.
As I place new QR codes somewhere in the room kids will bring up the next installation of the story! Sometimes it will introduce characters, sometimes it will give information or specs on the starships in the story, sometimes it will be part of the story to read, and sometimes it will be part of the story with choices as to what happens next (choose your own adventure)!
I was worried about coming up with the story so I read some Star Trek novels this summer and am totally using those stories instead of having to create my own!
While introducing this new aspect of our gamified classes a student asked me if this was like a Live Action Role Play (LARP). I hadn’t thought of that but totally loved it and said, YES!” I thought it was more of an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) and it is kind of like both, isn’t it?
Here is the presentation from the above video in case you want a closer look at how I’m starting: