The gamifying ed session was full of good ideas and concerns.
We started with a few links from ProfHacker about gamifying websites and homework, respectively, and the definition of games from Jane Mcgonigal as “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.” My big question was how to emphasize or introduce the “voluntary” part, since we already give students obstacles in the form of assignments.
A few people had already tried gamification in classes, and had stories of success and frustration (I apologize for lack of attribution here – I don’t remember who said what. If you want to claim it, put it in comments). Some of the the frustrations concerned pushback from more senior students, who had already mastered the game of “School,” and didn’t want to learn new rules for another class.
We discussed leaderboards, and the fact that students like them because of the competition and comparison, but that one must be careful with names on leaderboards for FERPA compliance. There was also some concern about competition, the fear being that students who are less familiar with games may feel excluded, or that the class may break down on gender/sexuality/race/class lines as a result of competition.
It was also brought up that much of what we call gamification (quick feedback, clear markers of progress, an evaluation system) are things good teachers do anyway. We also discussed tying assignments to the “real” lives and interests of students to create more intrinsic motivation, and finding ways to brand gamification differently to connect it more to the world students will be entering and to avoid the stigma of games in the administration.
As we talked , the following links came up: