This subject has been an interesting foray into the world of educational games and gamification. Learning about theories of motivation and engagement (Evans, Jones, & Biedler, 2014; Richter, Raban, & Rafaeli, 2015; Zusho et al, 2014), and how digital games satisfy some basic needs (Richter, Raban, & Rafaeli, 2015) in order to encourage motivation and engagement in the game world, was really fascinating to me. As the partner of a very avid gamer, learning how and why gaming is so satisfying, so wholly engaging, and so beneficial to critical and strategic thinking was particularly interesting, and my understanding of the skills that can be developed through gaming was definitely improved.
Screen Grab 1: Assessment One, 2017 March 5 (Carroll, 2017)
The research here seems to be divided, from what I have read throughout the course, wherein some advocates see digital game based learning as a form of play and achievement in the classroom, reinvigorating students’ love for learning and motivating them to increase their successes, while other advocates, fewer in number within the game based learning academia, view digital game based learning as an extension of alternative media in the classroom.
Screen Grab 2: Assessment One, 2017 March 5 (Carroll, 2017)
The extent of my belief in digital game based learning at the beginning of this course was in its role as a replacement of traditional homework. While I see the benefits of this still, my understanding of the value of digital games has expanded to understand that for the right classrooms, it can be a whole new approach to learning and curriculum design. Exposure to schools such as Quest to Learn (Edutopia, 2013) and classrooms such as Biohazard 5 (TEDx Talks, 2012) completely changed my understanding of what game based learning really means, and what it can include. I would not argue that all students would suit this style of classroom, but I can see that it is revolutionary in the classrooms where it works. The biggest thing I took from game based learning literature is the idea that traditional education takes us from starting at 100% until we reach our grade at the end of the year, while gaming takes us from starting at 0 and keeping on trying until we reach the 100%. That idea, combined with the idea that failure is okay, really blew my mind with regards to ‘what could be…’ (TEDx Talks, 2012).
Screen Grab 3: Assessment Two, March 20 (Carroll, 2017)
This particular lesson was huge for me, as relates directly to my experience with my partner, understanding how marvellous it is that video games can bring such a rich world of sharing into a player’s life. Gee discusses how in one game the background physics of the game was explored, discussed, and dissected by communities of players of the game. This engagement with physics shows how gaming can motivate players to be learners outside of the game environment, and how gaming can open players’ eyes to a love of learning in a way that might have been lost through traditional education.
I never expected to be able to design some principals for a game, or to be able to imagine a world where job-seeking was supported through digital gaming practice, but my experience with this final assessment made me think about how normal aspects of the world could be gamified to make the mundane an engaging experience. Not coming from a teacher’s background to this course meant that I was constantly adjusting my understanding of this subject to fit with what could happen in a public library environment, and while my gamified job-seeking process will likely never be implemented, it let me explore the possibility.
Edutopia. (2013, July 30). Katie Salen on the power of game-based learning (Big Thinkers series) [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk_OfUHpCbM
Evans, M.A., Jones, B.D., & Biedler, J. (2014). Video games, motivation, and learning, In F.C. Blumberg (Ed.) Learning by Playing: Video Gaming in Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199896646.003.0019
Richter, G., Raban, D. R., & Rafaeli, S. (2015). Studying gamification: The effect of rewards and incentives on motivation. In T. Reiners & L. C. Wood (Eds.), Gamification in education and business (pp. 21–46). Cham: Springer International Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.meydalle.info/meydalle/ganit/9783319102078-c1.pdf
TEDx Talks. (2012, April 24). Classroom game design: Paul Andersen at TEDxBozeman [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qlYGX0H6Ec
Zusho, A., Anthony, J.S., Hashimoto, N., & Robertson, G. (2014). Do video games provide motivation to learn? In F.C. Blumberg (Ed.) Learning by Playing: Video Gaming in Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199896646.001.0001