Creating effective classroom experiences through game-based mechanics and community, it works for children as well as adults.
How I turned my classroom into a ‘living video game’—and saw achievement soar
Teacher : Joli Barker
Students : second graders
School : Earl H. Slaughter Elementary School in McKinney, Texas
I began the transformation of my classroom by looking at the curriculum and writing storylines that would challenge students to solve science, technology, engineering, and math-related scenarios. For example, one such storyline under the reading content area is, “Explain how two given scientific conclusions are similar, and identify which of the scientists we’ve studied might have written these conclusions based on textual evidence.” A math example storyline is, “How are fractions connected to the concept of multiplication?”
I use QR codes and augmented reality codes to help students move independently from one activity to the next. Kids use cell phones or tablets to scan the barcodes, which take them to websites or instruction pages with directions for the next activity, or to “cheat codes,” with strategies to help them solve the “boss-level problem.” I even decided to forgo the usual grading system in my classroom, so that as far as the students knew, they were either “Leveling Up!” (proficient) or they needed more practice with “Game Over: Try Again.” They stopped defining themselves by grades and saw “try again” as an opportunity to do just that.
The results of this innovative approach to learning have far surpassed my expectations. After only three months of the gaming concept, student scores on the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress test showed a 71 percent improvement in reading fluency, 58 percent improvement in reading comprehension, and 76 percent overall improvement in math, particularly in problem solving.
Understanding Quest-Based Learning from Boise State University
QBL-Whitepaper_Haskell-final (pdf file)
Teacher : Chris Haskell, ED.D.
Students : Pre-‐service teachers
School : Boise State University
Teachers in a quest-based approach do not assign letter grades to completed quests. Dismissing the industrial paradigm approach in favor of a digital age sensibility, teachers either approve a quest because it meets all expectations or return the quest to the student for revisions and resubmission. Just like video games, quest-based learning supports multiple attempts without punishment to promote learning from mistakes.
Successfully completed quests earn experience points (XP). Like videogames, XP contributes to progression through levels and ranks, as a prerequisite for other curriculum, demonstrates progress across standards and competencies, and accumulates toward course completion or “winning condition.”
- Quest-based learning incorporates game mechanics, and gamer-like learning communities.
- Game-based feedback tools like experience points, progress bars, badges, and achievements are motivating and meaningful to students.
- Students in a quest-based course received higher grades overall when compared to traditional course.
- Students do more work on average using quest-based learning.
- On average, students complete quest-based learning design courses in less time than traditional courses.
- Over 65% of students remain persistent in quest-based learning, continuing to quest beyond the minimum required to receive a “A.”
- Free Resources to Support “Quest to Learn” Model (classroom-aid.com)
- World of Classcraft Turns Classrooms into Adventures ! (#GBL) (classroom-aid.com)
photo credit: Dunechaser via photopin cc