Ok, so I’ve always been a gaming nerd. Yes, I’m that 32 year old who plays video games in my free time because I love it! It also makes me super relatable to my students (+)! I also understand why students love working towards advancing a level, or accomplishing the 10 hour mission, or earning enough game credits to adjust the avatars personalizations (+).
So yesterday, 2/15, I had a discussion with my students about playing a game with me (gamifying the classroom). They would become the characters and school would become the game setting. I began by introducing a challenge that I wanted them to accomplish (using iReady 45 minutes per week at home and/or school) in order to earn points, 20 XP! Oookayy! I presented that I will choose three students a week who were the top iReady users, and, if a top iReady user was in their homeroom, the class will receive a bonus 10 XP per student. Cool!! Because the iReady data is something extra on student’s work load, I promised 10 extra minutes of recess if all of the students complete their 45 minutes, earning the class XP for the week. Cheers erupted!! Now, this will ultimately become a friendly game competition between the VIP session (my partner teachers homeroom) and the Goonies session (my homeroom) to see who can “level up” the farthest during a nine week period.
At this point the students were in, leading to some further discussions about how to earn points and XP, and more importantly to them, how can they can use the XP.
One very interesting topic of discussion was “what are you going to give us?” Whatever do you mean? “Well in our games we can buy stuff or upgrade our characters.” Well, I don’t think we can upgrade you uniform or shoes, but maybe we can trade XP for panther cash so you can buy from the Panther store or purchase classroom rewards? They were SOLD! So was I, because this PBIS is already in place school wide so they can still utilize the Panther cash; we are just amplifying the system.
Most of my fourth grade kiddos are VERY extrinsically motivated, probably due to age and maturity. However, I compared this to playing games at home. I asked “when you’re playing video games at home, and you complete a level or mission, does your family come flying into your bedroom/gaming area with brownies and a cake celebrating you success?” Obviously not. This was a great way to discuss intrinsic motivation with the students. This game was something we are doing because we can, because we want to, and because IT WILL BE FUN! They were surprisingly ok with just that! “Cool!” and “Ohhh.. ok!”, they replied!
Next step for me (the teacher/game moderator)… is I am going to create XP point conversions for the tasks the students suggested in order to earn points or loose points (the kids wanted it!). Badges or no badges for leveling up? Where am I going to keep track of it? Game board for completing lessons (quests/missions) for the next Math unit?
Next step for students (the characters/first person players)… is to suggest or create a “story” for our game and Design a visual in which we can track the levels. Continue to think of was to earn XP (possibly for behavior- this has been an ongoing goal)!
I look forward to updating the progress we make next week! Leave a comment to give us suggestions as a begin the GAMIFICATION process!