Assessment item 1 – Blog Task #1

I am employed by the largest vocational education and training (VET) provider in NSW as a learning technologist. A VET teacher myself, my students are now the very VET teachers I have worked with and for over the last eight years, supporting, inspiring and training them to increase their digital literacy and incorporate educational technologies into their lessons when appropriate.

For the last few years I have fostered a strong interest in gamification, undertaking a number of short online courses on the topic and even conducting a field trial of a microlearning, gamification app called Quitch for staff development in November 2018 at work. Walking into this unit I felt completely confident of the distinction between game based learning and gamification, the latter being the application of game principles and features in a non-game situation as confirmed by Edurevolution (2014). However, the reading from Kapp (2012), someone I follow closely on Twitter and LinkedIn, completely disrupted my understanding of the term gamification. Kapp (2012) addressed every preconceived notion I held about my narrow definition of gamification and claimed that serious games fall into the category of gamification. I am still processing this reading (Kapp, 2012) and the implications for my own understanding of the terms gamification, serious games and game based learning. I realise I need to start to reconstruct my understanding and am very excited about the prospect of having my definitions essentially erased at the start of the unit so I can be receptive to new information and learning on this exciting topic.

I am incredibly interested in game based learning and keen to explore how it might be appropriately applied to both vocational learners and teachers of VET. I currently hold the view that it will be challenging for both groups but have always weaved elements of competition, humour and interactiveness into my teaching and facilitating so very keen to explore game based learning opportunities.

I like games. I grew up playing and loving cards, Monopoly, we had one of the first Ataris, then a Sega and I was right into PC games in my 20’s. As life got busier, I stop playing PC games and would never consider myself a gamer. I tried to start playing World of Warcraft a few years ago but it was way too complex for my limited time and online games for me have been the mindless, yet relaxing jewel-matching type games. But my 14 year old son is certainly enjoying online games and I have watched the influence games have had on both of my children from birth through to now and their use both at home and at school. What I learnt from observing my son play an online game last year was something I detailed in a LinkedIn article (Lehman, 2018). This contribution of online games to 21st century skills in our students has been well documented (Extra Credits, 2014; Posso, 2016; Wall, 2019).

This unit has inspired me to return to online games. For the last five years I have been experimenting with augmented reality, virtual reality and simulations for vocational educational content and the synergy is not lost on me. I feel like I have permission to explore this world again and just today have created a Steam account and downloaded a number of games to try. Topic 1  of the unit highlights the importance for teachers to be familiar with games in order to be able to understand how best to use them in education (Becker, 2011; Wall, 2019).

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