Gamification and Open Education EDET679 with Dr. Graham
Week 10 Reflection
This week I started to consider how the rubric would work for me by starting a draft of my plan. This led me to weaving two websites together for the students; the platform Classcraft and Vocabulary.com. I am still exploring the opportunities for using both.
After reading blog comments, I too realized that the story / narrative is such an enormous part of trying to pull all of this together, I wanted to find a way to tame it down. Yes, I see the importance of a storyline / narrative in that themes seem very cohesive. Yet, I believe this takes time and development through ongoing learning. Therefore, finding a way to narrow this down would really help.
Reading posts from people in class this week also seemed to bring about a great review of learning thus far. I needed this week’s blog post to help me with reviewing the various structures and importance of many elements to make a successful project.
I also noticed that coming from the perspective of a multiple subject teacher is different than that of teachers whose topics are more mastery based. Yet, there are some areas of every subject that must be mastered; so finding fun and meaningful ways to accomplish mastery as much as possible, before the spiral “waits” for another day to revisit that topic in a deeper way, is also important.
Apparently, some of the question in a gamified classroom is how much deep learning needs to take place at this fork in the road for this topic versus, how much mastery through fun practice needs to happen? There is always some overlap, but one or the other usually presides.
Comments I made to blog posts:
I think your point about number 5 is well made. One thing I considered here when I read it though, is that we are building a gamified environment in the classroom; so the focus is not on the game only. The way you divided this up into components, mechanics and dynamics, including many examples for each, was very helpful to me. It looks like you not only summarized the entire book we read for class, but added so much more support for your points here. A point can be made for drawing students in initially by something that is familiar for them; games and leveling up; then drawing them over into quests and discussions as well.
In your first sentence you brought out that you really don’t care about storyline or narrative. I think you are making a good point, in that I need to reconsider different player types and what does or does not motivate them as learners in class.
One thing about Minecraft is that it has the potential for being used to express comprehension of a story / narrative students are reading about. Maybe the story or narrative is for bringing together a theme in a classroom. However, this is no small task and teachers, in my view, need time to develop this aspect as he/she tries out different gameplay elements and mechanics.
One thing I notice is that students who are using a reading program, called Imagine Learning, are filling in skills they missed and that the badges earned toward playing games that practice words they need review on. This is motivational—but would be more effective if there were units of theme that tied the different section together—especially for those game player types that do learn from the emotional and social aspects in a story line.
Yes, exceeds does look like a lot for being new at this. I believe that the nature of beginning small and developing connections begins with a plan. On the other hand, I also believe that a plan develops along the way as we observe student learning. Maybe gamifying a classroom can be viewed as an overarching theme that ties together centers across the classroom. Gamifying includes technology but also doing a lot of the normal activities; such as, developing think-pair-share, inside/outside vocabulary practice, and other discussion or physical movement activities that lead students toward deeper thinking.
I have struggled with many of the same thoughts you are describing. As I write, I am thinking that gamifying is one part of the story of developing student engagement. There are so many learning strategies right now coming at us as teachers; such as for sheltered instruction for English Language Learners, that we become the artist and start creating.
I like that you reminded us that Matera’s four aspects of gaming are theme, setting, characters and action. This presupposes that there will be a narrative connection. Maybe the development of a gamified classroom can take another direction. When I though of a gamified classroom as I wrote my thoughts, I started to consider including more than one subject area for elementary levels.
The idea you gave to us in setting up an XP grading system is a very nice and simple framework; which students need in order to set their own goals, and teachers need in order to avoid getting too entangled in picking apart grades and discouraging students.
It is certainly a tempting focus to think of this “final project” as something that needs many details. I considered this as I started to write a draft. This project can get very big, very fast. Maybe the rubric needs to have more generalized alternative statements—the details are helpful in many ways, but if we are also permitted to follow each section of that rubric in more general terms, we will have a framework with some details.
I do remember stories being the favorite part of one of my college classes. One teacher introduced many classes with a related story as an example to draw in in and prepare us for the following topic. My concern is that while developing a storyline, I am spending much, much time trying to pull every aspect of the gamified classroom environment together—almost as if I am writing a novelette for the class.