Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gamifying the Classroom [VID] Sp14

I'm a gamer and video games are one of my areas of expertise in research.  In terms of research, I am interested in game design, (particularly something that I call the 'deduction engine').  I also do research on the depiction of race in video games.  Ask me about these areas of research, if you are curious.

So, the idea of gamifying my classroom is not so foreign to me.  It makes perfect sense.

So, what is gamification?  It has been defined as
"the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service" (Oxford Dictionaries).
Gamification is used in the business world and is beginning to be used in the classroom environment.  Let's take a look at a short video about gamification.

If you are curious for more about gamification see my gamifying-the-classroom YouTube playlist and my gamifying-the-classroom bookmarks.

How would games work in education?

The idea of gamifying the classroom fits well with the idea of flipping the classroom that I mentioned in a previous post.  They go hand-in-hand.  In a flipped classroom students cover course content before a class and during class-time they do activities.  Some or all of those activities could be games.

Since in most courses students are learning a terminology (i.e., new words), I'd recommend starting with some standard word games (word scramble, word search, crosswords, etc.) and then move into some game-show games (e.g., "Jeopardy" and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"). Two good resources for building these types of games is Jeopardy Labs and Puzzlefast.  Socrative and Quizlet can also be used to help gamify the classroom.

While word game and game-show games are helpful, I would like eventually (next semester?) to use open-world video games in my courses.  Open-world games like Minecraft could be integrated into a course with some work and potentially resulting in some learning and some fun.  To get things up and running, it would require some hardware, some software and some technical support.

I have over 200 hours in Minecraft and have some great ideas for integrating it into the classroom. I'm just needing a little support (financial, technical and otherwise).

Here are a few books that I've read (in whole or in part) and that I recommend on gamification.

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See more about me at my web site WilliamHartPhD.com.

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