Essential Question: Which aspects of story and game mechanics will be useful in your class and how might you use them?
When it comes to building a gamified classroom, knowing and understanding the needs and motivators of your students is critical. Gamification is certainly not a one-size-fits-all form of improving class participation and engagement, so addressing the needs of the individual students through careful selection of game mechanics and aspects of story can make or break the experience. As John McCarthy (2016) points out, “Gamification can create this opportunity—and can allow for differentiation as students choose which of the additional elements they will take on. The key is to gamify learning experiences with the right combination of game mechanics.”
Social studies is the content area in which I would most likely use gamification. As a class, we could be time travelers, accidentally stuck in a time that did not belong to us, stopping at a random points in history, and setting off on quests to discover as much as we could about what was happening at that point in time, hoping to get clues that would lead us back to our present time. A certain number of class points could mean another trip in the time machine to another destination, possibly our own.
In order to gamify my classroom, I know that I will need to appeal to some very different player types. I can see all the different player types, as defined by Bartle (n.d.), in my classroom, so engaging them all would take some doing. For my achievers, I see micro challenges and mini-games as strong possibilities to foster curiosity and further learning. For my killers, player-vs-player would allow these students an opportunity to engage in the learning process while fulfilling the need to destroy or conquer. Guilds seem like a nice fit for my socializers, and a great way for them to interact with the other player types. Achievement might be an option for my explorers, as this would allow them an opportunity to earn rewards for exploring and discovering more in-depth concepts. I like the idea Matera presented (pg 97) of having certain paths that can only be unlocked with certain badges that need to be earned by completing certain tasks. This motivational tool could prove to be helpful for those students who prefer not to focus on the task as much as figuring out what is behind the next turn.
Bartle, R.A. (n.d.). Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades: Players who suit MUDs. Retrieved from http://mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm
Matera, M. (2015). Explore like a pirate: Engage, enrich, and elevate your learners with gamification and game-inspired course design. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. San Diego, CA.
McCarthy, J. (2016, October 20). Gamifying your class to meet the needs of all learners. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/gamifying-your-class-john-mccarthy