Friday, January 10, 2014

You got game? Talking Gamification for this week's chat!

Ever played Angry Birds?


Honest teachers: Absolutely! I hate those little green pigs!

Why don't you try completing the 1st level of the game below:

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That's right—Vietnamese Angry Birds.
How many stars did you get? If you just got all the piggies, you probably earned one star; if you did a decent job, the game probably gave you two. However, for those of you who did exceptional jobs on level one, you might be able to earn all three stars for level 1.

Here's the interesting thing about this game (and many of its contemporaries): It's not just enough to complete level 1—you gotta earn those three stars. In fact, for most people, even if they complete level 1 but only earn one or two stars, they'll replay the level, just to get a higher score. See, for them, it's not enough to just go through the level—they must prove their dominance over it.

Or, as my friend +Philip Vinogradov put it, "That's mastery."

For some reason, putting the word "game" next to the words "classroom" or "school" seems to drive teachers mad. After all, we're the ones who have to keep those youngsters in line and on-topic, right? The thing is, many of the best teachers in the world are finding ways to incorporate elements of games into their classrooms:
For years, classrooms have been gamified... The Grade Point Average might be the most visible example of gamification in school. Knowledge is evaluated with a slew of assignments and tests, and a letter grade is given as a kind of trophy... Class rankings? This is a contest to collect as many... Student of the Month, Most Likely to (insert verb here), Cum Laude designations, “Lettering” in a sport, and countless other acts and icons.
So then, how does Gamification work? Does it work? Is it something that teachers should be considering seriously? Is it hard to implement? What does it look like? And will your administration get behind it?

These are the questions we hope to address this week on our #teachSDA chat. Join us Monday at 8pm ET to discuss this innovative classroom model! We'd love to know what you think!

Your homework? Check out the following three TeachThought articles about gamification in preparation for this week's chat: