Game Based Learning Reflection of Implementation

After four weeks of learning and actually applying game based learning I have a new appreciation for educators who use Minecraft/MinecraftEdu in their classroom. I have a new appreciation for those that can build with these blocks and bring ideas to life. I have an appreciation for the kids who do what they do so easily. I basically applaud anyone who can do anything with Minecraft.

One thing that was reinforced to me was that with about 25-30 hours of build time in my world I spent easily 18 hours learning through doing things incorrectly. I learned so much from things that did not work or making mistakes. It was not always fun as there were times I became frustrated, but……

[Tweet “There is no formula for Minecraft. There is no formula for game based learning.”] The minute we try to craft a formula we have killed the spirit of what games and games based learning is all about. This is probably my biggest takeaway from all my learning and unlearning. I spent a lot of time trying to develop some formula to create this perfect world for teachers. In the end I was killing the essence of gaming and struggled to find this answer because it did not exist. It reminded me of my many conversations with educators where I shared that any time someone in education tries to sell you on a product that will solve all your issues you should run like hell. I was trying to do this very thing.

In the end I did create a world. It ended up being a hodgepodge world of ideas. I have plans to develop a new world moving the school idea to a separate world. My son and I are going to move the Jurassic World idea to another world that is not flat. However, this world we have started we are going to continue to build and develop for fun and see what comes of it.(see video below)

Looking ahead I have a few goals that I want to achieve before summer ends.

1. Figure out how to share my worlds so people outside of my local network can join. I have seen this done and want to learn how to do it myself.

2. Clean up my three project ideas and get them fully developed and ready to go. I have some lesson planning and project work to do.

3. Get a server up and running in our school so I can begin to train teachers in Minecraft so we can begin to utilize the tool when it provides a key learning opportunity.

Game based learning is an endless world of possibilities. I am glad that I have found myself finally tuned into the worlds and am slowly learning how to do things. The amount of connections based on Minecraft in the last few weeks has been huge and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow. Who knows where I will be by the end of the summer.

Perhaps I will learn how to do pixel art like my son is learning.

Here is my update on my world with ideas that I tried to implement along with my struggles. Suggestions are welcome!

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Book Review: The Multiplayer Classroom by Lee Sheldon

One of my current education interests has been gamification in the education setting. I know that there are many beliefs about this topic, but I really believe that if done right the potential for this mode of teaching is unstoppable.

I have joined many online sites, chats, webinars, etc. pertaining to gamification and just keep falling in love with what people are doing. I am obsessed with this topic with about as much obsessionness(if even a word) as I am about going global in the classroom.

Many people have referenced this book and I finally broke down and bought the book to learn a little more.

Here is the book description from Amazon.com

Discover how to engage your students and raise their grades and attendance in your classroom. THE MULTIPLAYER CLASSROOM: DESIGNING COURSEWORK AS A GAME is your detailed guide to designing any structured learning experience as a game. Written for professional educators or those learning to be educators, here are the tools to engage and excite students by using principles learned in the development of popular video games. Suitable for use in the classroom or the boardroom, the book features a reader-friendly style that introduces game concepts and vocabulary in a logical way. You don’t need any experience making games or even playing games to use this book. Yet, you will learn how to create multiplayer games for any age on any subject. Bring your classroom into the 21st century!

This book pretty much takes us through the ups and downs of Lee Sheldon as he tries to figure out a way to gamify his college courses that he has taught. This is not a how to manual. I think that is what I liked best. There is no cookie cutter method to turning your classroom into a game mode atmosphere. Yes, certain things must be put into place, but at the end of the day the personality of the teacher, the students, the classroom, and the goals and objectives of learning will drive the game system.

I found the personal story and journey of Lee interwoven with other case studies to be beneficial. I learned new tricks and ideas as well as what not to do. I began to formulate my own opinions and ideas.

I have about 20 places tagged with sticky notes to mark important ideas about education and how to gamify my classroom.

Gamification is not for everyone. Nor does it work for every class or unit. However, if it does fit the bill, then students are going to love it. This book has me started on my own journey as begin to devise a unit right now using gamification. I am excited. I am hooked. What more do you want from a book than to walk away satisfied and hungry for more knowledge. Lee Sheldon has done just that.

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Hunger Games – Education Gamification Brainstorm Idea –

Hunger Games Gamification

My whole purpose with this project is to entice and promote writing, reading, and thinking. Even more important to me is to demonstrate to teachers, parents, and other students how awesome kids can be when we create the right environment to learn and challenge ourselves

Options: I will always have three options available based on themes of book. These will be based off essential questions

Essential Questions:
• When is adversity an advantage?
• When is silence the best force against adversity?
• What weapons work against ultimate control?
• What do you do when you know you cannot win?


Badges

  • Training Badge – tutorial of Edmodo, Google Docs, and Wikispaces
  • Group Work – not sure of tasks(struggling with this aspect)


Level Up/XP

  • Survival of the Fittest – district that survives to the end
  • Survival of all Spectators – high level spectator will enter Arena at a given point in time.
  • Create a leaderboard
  • STILL DON’T KNOW HOW TO LEVEL UP PROPERLY


Overview:

Here is what I am thinking

Week 1: Signs and countdown timer to create excitement within the school

Week 2: In school announcements explain the story and backdrop and provide link to the project website. Students will then apply to join the spectacle if they so choose.

School will be broken up into 12 districts. 9 districts for each house. We are a middle school so each grade level is divided up into 3 houses. Students will apply to be a character for their house.
Another district will be made up of teachers. This leaves me with two more districts. I have considered add my 5th grade ELP class as the 11th district. Perhaps I could have an admin district. Another idea would be a mixed district of three grade levels(6,7,8). I still need to finalize how to structure the last three districts.

I will have a lottery system to announce the people chosen. I will either broadcast this live via Ustream or create a video to allow teachers to show during our TA(homeroom). These people will then have a meeting with me one day before or after school to go over the process.

The people not selected for the Arena will then become Spectators. Spectators will have voting power via polls to eliminate teams, add items, disturbances, etc. They will still have a role. Spectators will earn XP points as well. At some point in the game the highest scoring spectator will enter the arena.

Each week or every few days a district will be eliminated. We will utilize a Survivor TV show approach where the highest level District will not be eliminated. This will give them another week to survive and hopefully entertain the other districts to work hard to earn points to take the lead.

Districts will earn points through their writing of the story. We will develop our own situation/version of Hunger Games. Each character will create their own profile via Fakebook and will be uploaded to our Hunger Game website. There will be side quests to earn additional XP points. Spectators will earn XP points through writing, the side quests, and also giving feedback to the writing. Spectators will be just as involved, but just not part of the actual storyline. They are more like news reporters.

Here is where I need help
I will create videos along the way as President. 


I still need to develop disasters, disturbances, and elements to spruce things up.

I still need to think of side quests or ways for people to earn additional XP points.


I still need to figure out which website will work best to host all this info. At this time I am thinking wix for the beginning phase and overall gameplay, but the leaderboard, character profiles, quests, videos, etc. will be done on a wiki? 

Not sure about this yet.

What do you think? I would love any suggestions, ideas, and help. When I get this up and running I will share with all to use, follow, monitor, steal, etc.

The greatest thing is that I believe I can prove how awesome kids are without the threat of grades, detentions, common core, etc. This is going to be epic!

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