Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tonight I will be co-moderating #isedchat with Jon Cassie, Head of the Upper School at Sewickley Academy - the topic is "Gamification of the Classroom." Join us at 9 PM EST to learn more!  

In his book, Reinventing Schools: It’s Time to Break the Mold,  Charles Reigeluth discusses these fundamental shifts needed in education: 

  • A move to customization from standardization
  • Increased diversity of ideas, information, and perspective rather than uniformity
  • An emphasis on collaboration rather than adversarial relationships
  • Work characterized by teamwork/shared leadership rather than bureaucracy
  • A focus on individual empowerment and accountability rather than centralized control
  • A reliance on worker self-direction rather than compliance
  • Increasing prevalence of self-service as opposed to a reliance on professionals
  • A holistic world view rather than compartmentalization
Enter gamification (as opposed to game-based learning which uses actual games in the classroom).  What gamification can add to education is that it provides students with enhanced opportunities for:
  • Engagement: making students more interested in what they are learning
  • Flexibility: allowing students to develop increased mental flexibility and problem solving
  • Competition: playing on the natural human desire for competition
  • Collaboration: In a hyper-connected world building collaborative skills is essential
Game designer Jane McGonigal sees four additional attributes that gamification can help learners develop.

  • Urgent Optimism: Gamers are characterized by extreme self-motivation. They act immediately and decisively to attack an obstacle and always believe that there is a realistic chance of success.
  • Social Fabric: Through game play, individuals develop an affinity for the other gamers they are playing with, trust that those individuals will support the collective effort, and nurture a strong understanding of cooperation and its benefits.
  • Blissful Productivity: Game play makes the gamer happier while working hard than people generally are while relaxing or doing nothing. During game play, the individual is optimizing their productivity and enjoying it.
  • Epic Meaning: The problem-based nature of games allows players to feel that they are part of something larger than themselves, and people love feeling like they are a part of something big. This feeling motivates and inspires them to keep playing to solve any problem they encounter.
While these objectives can be accomplished through a variety of pedagogical methods - gamification offers a fresh approach. Join us tonight to discuss gamification. I will post a link to the archive on  my blog for those who can't make it! 

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