“Teachers need to care more about the [design] of things. There is a difference between a captivated audience and just a captive one.” Michael Matera, tweet 2013-11-18
Course Game is a record of the adventures of Matthew Miller, at Cairo American College, who is exploring how to redesign a classroom as a semester-long game and how to incorporate students’ work as a resource for current/future students to use. Part of the goal to integrate cross-class interaction will be using the course work we are already doing, not recreating the courses.
I am a teacher and instructional technology coach with roots on both the technological and pedagogical sides of the fence. I am fascinated by the potential of gameplay to inform educational institutions. I am teaching at Cairo American College in Ma’adi, Egypt.
In 2011, I ran across a TEDx talk in which Paul Anderson talked about turning his HS Biology class into a year-long game called Biohazard 5 (after a popular video game). He mentioned a few mechanics he used, such as a leaderboard and levels based on evolutionarily ranked organisms then spoke a small amount about how the class worked using a flipped model. But details on the actual game were quite sketchy.
I was very intrigued by the idea of framing a class as a game and started looking for more information. I bought The Multiplayer Classroom by Lee Sheldon, which gave me quite a bit more information. I started sketching out a course for Introduction to Computer Science and figuring out how I would design a year-long game around the curriculum (and incidentally, started this site). [Disclosure: the book link takes you to Amazon & if you buy with the link, I’ll make a few pennies for referring you. Thanks]
I kept looking for more details, figuring there must be many teachers out there using this idea. However, they’ve been a bit hard to find. There are some excellent examples, but this appears to be a fairly nascent field. There’s a lot of expertise in game design out there and a lot of pedagogy expertise, but the combination seems fairly new and less common. I have found a few outstanding examples. I’ve also been on the lookout for resources about game based learning design and, ultimately, game design.
Because they were so scattered around and thus a somewhat tedious task to assemble, I’ve been collecting them as I found them and putting them into this website for future reference. If you are interested in Game Based Learning or Gamification, or whatever it’s being called in your circles, I hope this is a useful resource for you. If you’re interested in helping to curate it, please let me know.