The main piece of advice about gamification that I’ve learned so far is to layer the gaming elements on top of your existing curriculum. I wasn’t sure how that would work, but once I got going, it really does. I decided to gamify our passion project unit since it would be contained inside the parameters and time frame of the unit itself. Michael suggests a storyline, characters, side quests, and more. Since this is my first shot at it, I don’t yet have all the elements in place, but enough to generate interest.
Let’s see what we’ve done so far.
As I introduced PKP, each student received a game board. (I created it using Google Drawings.) The concept of the board is that students receive stickers on the inside of the board when they complete regular classroom tasks. The outside sections are for side quests (double point value). Side quests are completely voluntary. The ultimate goal is to earn points for privileges during our student-led edcamp. Basically, the more points you have, the more options you have during edcamp such as location of your table, which session you want to present in, or likelihood of attending the sessions you’re interested in. Here’s a link to the game board. Feel free to make a copy and remix it.
Here are some of the required tasks so far:
- Interest Survey here
- Finding Your Passion here
- Bonus for sharing orally
- Entry in our Curiosity Journal here
- Cardboard Challenge individual design
The side quests have been really fun. The best piece of advice Mr. Matera gave was that not all students will participate in side quests. And, students will gravitate to quests that meet their talents and personalities. He suggested a balance of quests that are academic in nature and others that involve relationship building and empathy. With that in mind, I developed the concepts for the side quests.
We’ve had one Kung Fu Panda Blackbelt Throwdown. Once we get started with our actual collecting of evidence, writing, and creating, students will be asked to reflect on their journey. My dear friend, Jessica Ortega, has a phenomenal digi journal. Follow her @JessOrtegaEdu. For the challenge, I planted a link to a bitly that took students to an instruction page that Jessica created to make the digi journals. When students came back the next day, I asked students that were doing the challenge to meet me at our table. There were about 7 students. One student completed the task, one student started it, and the other students were interested but hadn’t started yet. I asked the student that completed the challenge to share with the group. She gave us a detailed walkthrough. (She earned her black belt sticker that day.) I let the group know that we’d come back after the weekend to see the other digi journals. On Monday, only one other student completed the challenge. She shared with the first student and me at the table. I ceremoniously gave her her sticker. My daughter works at Disneyland and we had just visited. When I was there, I bought pieces of “magic” as prizes. The two girls were able to choose a piece of magic. One girl chose happiness and the other chose generosity. I then closed the challenge. Side note . . . I’ve decided to close challenges at a certain point so that students have to strike while it’s hot.
Oh, oh!!! Shhhhhh, don’t tell. Students shared their group design for the Cardboard Challenge on a flipgrid. Students that reply with a video response will be earning a Care Bear sticker. ❤
Soooo, I felt like I was doing a pretty good job with layering the gamboard on top of our PKP unit. But, I wasn't sure what to do with the points. I reached out to the #XPLAP community for suggestions. @KimSnodgrass graciously let me pick her brain. After getting a better handle on XP, I had a plan. As part of our PKP unit, we’re participating in the Cardboard Challenge. I have an office FULL of boxes, odds and ends. We have 10 teams creating games. Each group was given an index card and asked to total up their combined points and divide by how many team members they have. (Sneaky, sneaky!!! Pulled some math into the challenge.) Teams lined up from the most points to the least. Each group was allowed to get three items from the “warehouse”. It was absolutely brilliant! The excitement was off the charts. At that moment, we had a game!!!
If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toes into gamification, I highly recommend starting with Mr. Matera’s book, following the #XPLAP hashtag, and ask your students to take the journey with you. They are gamers!!! They will help you and energize you to create engaging learning experiences for them.
I won’t be posting next week. But I’ll be back the next weekend to share our experience with Caine’s Arcade and the Cardboard Challenge.