This week, we’ve moved beyond the exercises in which there are examples and solutions available. The students now have to do the thinking on their own. I’ve also expanded the path ahead of them. At the same time, I’ve found many fellow travellers on my own quest.
To date, there have been a series of quests students could choose from for the basic information unit, as well as another set of quests for beginning coding. They’ve been having fun with those, but the rubber is meeting the road now that they are leaving the fully developed solutions behind. It’s clear who understands a topic and who is struggling.
I love that I am quickly able to see which students need more explanations and spend focused time with them, knowing that the students who understood the concepts are also engaged, at the next level. Our classroom is quiet, although there are frequently private conversations in which one student is helping another. Almost no off-topic behaviour; everyone is busy struggling with code mobs.
In expanding the path ahead, I wrote new descriptions for the next several exercises, framing them as new regions to conquer in an imaginary map of a land. The section for coding with strings of text became the Caverns of Gnirts, and the logic section is now known as the Desert of Cigol. The students read those, and though the descriptions are (intentionally) a bit hokey and decades-old Dungeons and Dragons type fare, they found them amusing and intriguing.
I’m hoping to create illustrations of the land shortly…I’ll hang those around our classroom as teasers for the 2nd semester. I’m working on a website to make it a bit more immersive than our Moodle page. 🙂 For such a minimal amount of reframing, compared to a traditional class, this result has been very encouraging. I’m excited to see what will happen with a more thorough game storyline.
Along that line, I’ve been researching Gamification and other classes that are doing this same thing and found several really useful resources, starting with
- a Google+ community, Gamification 4 Teachers By Teachers. This is run by
- Michael Matera (@mrmatera), who has created a world history course game called Realm of Nobles that looks so cool I want to take the course just so I can play the game. 🙂
- I also discovered Rory Newcomb (@roryeileen), who has written a series on Gamification at her blog, as well as a guide to Gamification for those of us just starting out with this concept.
- Finally, via Rory’s series, I discovered the Epic Win Blog by Victor Manrique in Spain, which is packed with tons more cool posts I can hardly wait to read.
I have so much research material here, I know I won’t be able to read it all and instead of feeling overwhelmed, I’m thrilled! This is the experience I am trying to create for my students: the thrill of knowing there is so much to learn and excitement to get started.
What has excited you about creating a course game lately?