#gamifyedet635 — Math Land

In Lee Sheldon’s book, Level 11 turned out to be an extremely valuable piece of literature.  With gamification, Sheldon explains “players can feel they are heroically picking themselves off the grimy floor of a dungeon to try and try again” (Sheldon, 2011).  I took the opportunity to read Sheldon’s Case History 5 on a seventh grade multiplayer math classroom.  I felt as though I had hit the jackpot!  I not only scored on finding a game that was both my grade level and content area, but it was complete with a website.  Reading about how the game creators, Matthew Baylor and Charles Souza, were implementing their game, Knowledge Quest, got me thinking about many similar classroom aspects I use.  The website outlines the game and could spark creativity for any classroom teacher.

I think math could certainly be presented as a game, but creativity will prove to be key in representing everyday tasks as part of the game.  I currently group students heterogeneously, just as Baylor and Souza did, which might serve as guilds.  They also mention naming routine tasks or objects to emphasize the gaming theme.  For instance, pencils could be called swords, dry-erase marker wands, whiteboards as shields, math problems monsters, etc (Sheldon, 2011).  This may prove to be a very engaging aspect in my own classroom.

I also love the idea of using XP points in both a positive and negative fashion.  Baylor and Souza had a conflict with laptops being damaged when students left them open.  So to curb the behavior, a guild was given 50 negative XP points.  The behavior immediately stopped, and the rule now stands in place.  I can see this being effective in my classroom to make sure supplies and calculators are put back in their designated locations before the bell rings.  Often students step-in to clean up after others, which if not done in a timely manner students are held after the bell.  Instead of holding students after the bell, a quick fix would simply be to substitute negative XP points.

I really liked the idea of awarding guilds based on their academic performance too.  For example, Baylor and Souza would reward each student XP points as follows: A’s-300 XP, B’s-200 XP, and C’s-100 XP.  This helps guilds gain points from yet another standpoint.  Although some may argue they are supposed to be getting assessed, why award?  It may provide another dimension of motivation to perform well and prepare for assessments in hopes of earning the maximum value of XP points for group contribution.

 

References

Sheldon, L. (2011). The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game. Boston, MA: Course Technology/Cengage Learning.

Baylor, M. & Souza, C. (n.d.). Knowledge Quest. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/a/rlsms.com/knowledge-quest/ on July 8, 2014.

#gamifyedet635 — It’s All Fun & Games

Gamification, as I understand it, does not necessarily have to include technology.  It is simply the act of incorporating gaming aspects and mechanics into a setting such as a classroom, business or corporation.  Through the implementation of gamifying the classroom, students inadvertently gain life-skills such as problem solving, perseverance, collaboration, communication, and a work ethic.

Gamification, not to be confused with game-based learning, is different in a sense that the creators are given the freedom to design the gaming aspects and mechanics of the game.  Game-based learning on the other hand has predefined outcomes and balances learning simultaneously with game play.  Gamification is a powerful tool where there is no top end to the game (GamifiED OOC, 2014).  It allows participants to keep making forward progress even if they’ve achieved an A+ on a letter grading scale.  But as Lee Sheldon points out in The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game, finding the right balance between entertainment and education is important to get the best of both worlds (Sheldon, 2011).

The depth and creativity of the gaming dynamics and mechanics can prove to be the captivating factor for gamification success.  For instance, displaying a leader board, which creates an additional competitive aspect, can generate student motivation.  The use of badges and items also brings a whole new realm to the game.  As Michael Matera mentions in the video, creating a tactile badge is so much more effective with certain age groups than say something electronic.  Putting a little imagination into the presentation of material, for example the introduction of a new unit, hooks the student audience and helps with student buy in.  Gamification also offers an authentic way for students to collaborate.  Inadvertently it creates a driving force where students like the challenge provided by assignments and at the same time they feel supported in the assignments (GamifiED, 2014).

 

References:

GamifiED OOC. (2014). Entering the Realm of the Nobles: Michael Matera. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFG3Vk-MCf8 on July 7, 2014.

Sheldon, L. (2011). The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game. Boston, MA: Course Technology/Cengage Learning.