This semester, I have been working with Dr. Shah in his IST 110 course. Last week, we did social networking (another post to be written – didn’t go as well as I would have liked) and this week, we are doing emerging technology. He told me yesterday that he needs more time in class, so I can have about 30 minutes – There were many things we wanted to accomplish – from Google Apps to gaming to SecondLife and things in NMC’s Horizon report. I did a lot of trolling around Ted.com for videos on emerging technologies as well and came across some really interesting stuff on gaming that I now knew I wouldn’t get a chance to do – then it came to me… how about trying to build an educational game for students to do after-the-fact – that would encourage them to explore the things in greater depth? So I put my mind to it and I was really excited by the outcome – Let’s see how it plays out in reality.
The essence of the game – to explore the topics that Dr. Shah asked me to cover – students are put into teams – teams earn points by individual effort(totaled for the team) in 6 rounds (each round focuses on 1 item – Google Docs, Google Forms, Second Life, the Horizon Report, gaming, and a last thought-provoking item based on a Ted.com film on innovators). The team with the highest point total in the end gets 5 extra credit points towards their grade.
In each round, students are given tasks to complete and can earn points. In each round, they can choose levels of completion – more points for more complex tasks.
I found a free Leaderboard software that I plan to use to let them know daily how the teams are doing. I am very curious to see how it goes – will they participate? Will the team competition spur them on, or are 5 points not worth the effort in the end?
It is my first game design, so I am very curious about how it will go. I’ve asked for feedback from the folks at UP in gaming. I am using Twitter (with hashtags), a blog, and ANGEL drop boxes and discussion areas to gather their work so I know how many points to assign. They have a week to complete the activities.
I know people sometimes feel conflicted about using “games” in educational settings – as if we need to entertain students – I wish we could call it something else – not games – what about challenges – or a K-12 term – webquest – because it closes minds I think – it trivializes what really goes into the thought behind the game – how to engage students (active learning + motivation – Barkley’s definition) and also use what psychologists know about human behavior and flow – we like to solve problems – and perhaps that is what is missing in my game – there are tasks to complete – but no real overall problem/quest to solve – other than winning the game… hmmm – so there are game-like qualities to my design – but not everything. yet. OK – time to try it out!
Let the games begin!
The leaderboard will be visible from 4/13 – 4/21/2011 at http://socialnetworkingpsy.wordpress.com/leaderboard/
Interesting article on gamification – http://www.hideandseek.net/cant-play-wont-play/ – Best quote – “Games set their players goals and then make attaining those goals interestingly hard – that’s interestingly hard, as opposed to just arduous.”