Gamification: taking principles of game design and applying it to other activities and professions to make them more engaging/bearable/fun.

There is controversy and conflict about the topic and how it relates to students.  The Escapist’s “Extra Credits” video on the topic was used as an introduction (link for Video Essay )

Software for Digital Humanities using game design principle.  Game created by Michelle created level badges that equated to badge to grade.  Her game requires players/students to interact with each other via social media where they play roles of prominent characters and interact in character.  Scored based on liked and disliked posts.

This sounds like an actual game, rather than a limited use of “gamified” techniques

Might introducing game principles take focus away from other pedagogical objectives? Shawn Doyle raised concerns about the time needed to test and create games, rather than using their principles and ideas.

    • It is important that gamification doesn’t just provide a way to “game the system” (in which the game structure does not sync/fit with existing course goals
  • What happens when our students start hacking the game?
    • When there are no additional incentives, then the game is the only thing
    • Cheating is always a problem when students don’t see the value of the course content itself
  • What about examples of gamification in the humanities?
    • Working with gifted high school students, one approach is to give them “missions” that are focused on principles of positive psychology, as opposed to providing ways to “game the system.”  Also, this is not the core mechanic of the course; it is one element among several.
    • A Media Studies/Theatre team-taught course used several of these kinds of principles (drawing on Lee Sheldon’s course designs), and while some elements seemed to work well and engage some students well, others were either actively detrimental to learning or inconclusive.  More trials need to be conducted and reviewed.
    • Jane McGonigal has some examples in her book, Reality is Broken.
    • Katie Salen’s Quest to Learn pilot school in NYC
  • Thinking about student motivation, wanting to know “what my grade is” at any given moment is a powerful motivator. The “Bartel Test” is discussed; breaks MMORPG players into  social, achiever, explorer, and killer.  The test is used to explain why people play.  Could it help explain why students try or do not?
  • Gifted students often are hesitant to take on challenges where they might loose/fail.  Created missions to reinforce positives to provide motivation.
  • With teacher education, the feedback can be competency based, with the motivator pushing being that they know they’re preparing for a professional position after graduation.  Concerned, though, that if we make all the achievement focused on small gains, we might lose students’ attention and focus on the larger picture.  How do we balance those elements?
    • Making education a game changes what education is; removing the intrinsic value of why you’re participating in education removes something very important
    • Possible to create “levels” within content where passing/achieving a certain level or skill it opens up new levels, challenges, and skills.  They included a revision structure so students could revise and retry.
    • Concerns were expressed about grading and achievement solely based on XP points, game skills, and levels missing loses the personality and individuality.

    Gamification requires a carrot, lots of them for extrinsic motivation.  If this is used then there is never any intrinsic motivation.  We can miss the “why”  “why am I doing this?”

    • What about just doing work because it needs to be done?  Learning to work hard when you don’t want to?
      • A lot of games try to find ways to make meaning for drudgery.
        • Seinfeld’s calendar for work
        • 10,000 hours theory and The Dan Plan
      • McGonigal wants to imagine a world in which there is less drudgery
  • Games in education is not making education a game.  Where does the line between gameplay and work get drawn? Work ethic and stress do not need to go hand in hand.  Changing the meaning of work, changing goals is where games can help.
  • Instead of thinking about faculty making games, what about asking students to design their own games?
    • Global Kids
    • Geocaching: for many, it’s about the journey; for others, the outcome (racking up numbers)
    • Younger students (primary and secondary) are more likely to engage well with simple and/or black and white objectives in games than students in higher education
  • Have game design principles and game structures always been a part of education and learning?
  • It should be more about “what did I learn today?” than “what will get me the A?”
  • James Paul Gee’s 32 Principles
  • Game strategies are more than simple rewards and levels; practice, challenge, motivation, personalization all contribute to what make games engaging
  • Concluding texts
    • Gee’s interview for the New Learning Institute
    • Prof.hacker post on gamifying your course website
    • Ian Bogost’s critique of gamification
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