Apr 08

My #GBL & #Gamification #NCCE2015 Notes

115638541_a7be518950I took my Twitter Storify notes from NCCE 2015 and put together all the notes from the gamification and game-based learning sessions I attended.

– Kids who dropout in HS actually became disengaged in middle school! (It’s our job to stop that from happening so the question becomes, how do we keep our middle school kids engaged in their education?)

– Games match level of challenge to level of skill!

– All games share: “a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation.”

– “What is truly fascinating about games is that they occur in virtually every culture around the globe.” Even animals!

– What if all course where created like a game? Students decide their own path through the curriculum.

– Not really related to gaming but does relate in a way: Equity in STEM access for girls & underrepresented populations. Are we facilitating equity? Collaboration increases capacity for girls in STEM.

– Multiplayer games are PVP (Player vs Player) & PVE (Player vs Environment). PVE = Collaborative.

– “According to census data, even most poverty level families, have at least one gaming console.”

– Gaming provides immediate assessment data for the learner.

– In video gaming the scaffold of your peer network is important. Real life skills!

– Teamwork skills Leader/Recorder/Reporter/etc is wrong! Instead identify roles, then fill them based on task! (I got to work on a team developing games for education. It was a startup weekend and teams there were formed only when they had an educator, a business person (for marketing and selling), a software developer to program the app, and a designer to make the artwork for the app. We formed teams by filling the roles.)

– Differentiation: Create a single task with multiple “difficulty levels” aka “prompts.” Harder difficulty=easier grading. Blended learning means differentiated instruction. Not ALL kids move at the same pace or come from the same place. Repetition and volume increase does not constitute differentiated instruction.

– Text complexity had gone down in grades 2-12 yet has gone up in colleges in the last 50 years. Lots of text on WoW game screen, very busy! It’s qualitative factors like those that #ccss acknowledges. WoW in game text has a lexile of 890, whereas WoW Wiki has a lexile of 1260. Minecraft game guides and gamepedia range in lexile from 1160 to 1260. WoW, for example, also uses many tier 2 and 3, high utility, vocabulary words and has varied text structures. Whether you use lexiles or not the point is that playing a MMORPG game often includes text that is complex. And while kids skim a lot there does come a time where they will need to read closely either to get out of a level or beat a strong boss.

– When it comes to writing these games provide real life opportunities in game chats. Game chats require brief messaging, digital conferencing, note-making skills!

Games provide a lot of great opportunity for engaging our students in learning. Gamification also provides excellent ways to change the way we teach our curricula so that learners can be engaged, move at their own pace, and choose their own pathway through the curricula. More than that gamification offers solutions to the problems inherent in traditional grading.

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    • Aaron on April 29, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Hey. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, and I just want to say I really enjoy it. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. As a new teacher interested in weaving games and gamification into the school experience, it’s very helpful and interesting to see what you’re trying in your class. I suspect your projects take a lot of time investment on your part. Do you ever collaborate with other teachers teaching the same curriculum as you so you can divide the work load? Is that something you’d be interested in? Oh, and by the way, after waiting and waiting for ClassRealm to materialize into…. something, I was stoked when I found out about ClassCraft from your blog. Now I’m using it in my class! So… thanks!

  1. Hi Aaron,

    I’m so glad to hear my blog has been helpful! Thanks so much for reading! 🙂

    Classcraft is amazing! I only used it for one quarter and don’t know if I will use it with my regular Science classes. I already have 3D GameLab making my course truly gamified and don’t want kids spending all the time it takes tweaking their Classcraft characters instead of doing Science. It is engaging though. How has it been working for you?

    I don’t collaborate with teachers in my school aside from our PLC work because no one teaches what I do, which is really not a big deal, but also because no one does the stuff I do. I am totally interested in collaborating though!

    • Aaron on April 30, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    One thing I wonder about sometimes- as we all know, you CAN have “too much of a good thing”. Are you the only teacher at your school using 3d game lab? Have you tried convincing other teachers to use it or anything like it? And are you worried that if every teacher was using gamification in their class, that it would start to lose it’s charm? Most student have 6 or 7 teachers a day. If each one had their own instance of 3D game Lab ongoing, wouldn’t it get old? I myself usually only focus on one video game at a time. If I’m playing Batman: Arkham Origins, I go home and play that game every day. I don’t play Batman for 55 min, then go play God of War for 55 min, then play Shadow of Mordor for 55 min. Has “over use of gamification” ever come up at your conferences or in your discussions about it?

  2. Oh, Aaron, you bring up some excellent points here! I am the only
    teacher at my school using 3D GameLab and frankly, I have not invited
    other teachers at my school to use it. No one besides me is gamifying
    their course and when I talk about it no one shows any interest in doing
    it themselves.

    If other teachers at my school showed interest in using it I would fear kids getting “bored” or too used to 3D GameLab. Since 3D GameLab is not a game like Arkham Origins, the course is the game because by doing Science assignments kids get XP and earn badges when they successfully complete sets of assignments, labs, and projects. In Math they would be doing Math assignments and getting XP in 3D GameLab from their Math teacher. I do wonder what would happen if every teacher, in every class, were gamifying their course. Kids might get so used to using 3D GameLab that it would become like “school” to them. I wouldn’t like that and at that point I would be looking for something new.

    That being said when it comes to using an LMS with your class, and yes, 3D GameLab is also an LMS, schools that have a 1:1 program recommend having a school-wide LMS. They recommend that because then students would only be responsible for one login and password instead of logging in to a different LMS in every class (like you mentioned, playing one game for 55 mins then another the next 55 mins). Unfortunately, no matter which way you slice it, unless education changes, students will be and are playing a different game every period even though when they leave school subjects, contents, games, are all integrated and not separated.

    So when my school is ready to begin a 1:1 initiative I will work with my staff to see which LMS they will want to use. We will pick one for the school but I will still use 3D GameLab. Unless everyone wants to gamify their course I’m the only teacher needing a gamification LMS. And although I think using ONE LMS to rule them all, I mean one for all classes, is the way to go I’ve also seen that students can handle using multiple accounts. Well, by handle I mean they sometimes need reminders or need me to reset their passwords, but they don’t seem to mind doing that at all. All 81 of my 6th graders use their 3D GameLab accounts, they use their class blog accounts, they use their class online discussion forum accounts, and they use class GAFE accounts. I do have to reset passwords often for kids here and there but kids handle it pretty well overall and they don’t complain. I survey my students multiple times throughout the school year and no one has ever complained about having to use two or three accounts to do and submit work in Science.

    So although I will encourage my school to choose ONE LMS I do not think every class should be gamified. My fear is that anything we all do will become the norm and therefore become boring losing it’s potential to engage most kids.

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