Friday, February 07, 2014

A Different Type of Reflection

As a part of my own learning about quest design, I created a GoAnimate video about pedagogical considerations and quest attractiveness.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Designing My First Quest

"Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another."
~ John Dewey, Democracy and Education

After carefully planning my first quest 'roadmap' to use in 3D Game Lab, I was very keen to get started and develop the actual quests my students would explore. Then I began to learn more about quest attractiveness and the impact this will have on the success of the quest and student learning, and I realised that I have much more to consider.

Dr. Chris Haskell defines this attractiveness as, "...the operational relationship of three components: capturing one's interest, sustaining one's effort, and ... a meaningful, personally relevant (highly rated) learning experience (2012). Thinking about this definition, I immediately slowed down to consider what this means for my design process.

  • What can I do to catch students' attention? 
  • What will appeal to them? 
  • Once I have their attention, how will I sustain it? 
  • What will I build into to the tasks to ensure students will be able to complete them once started? 
  • How can I provide enough flexibility within the quest to support the different needs of different learners?
One of things I so appreciate about learning about quest-based learning in a quest-based environment, is that it allows me to think at my own pace; to stop and reflect at a time when it will be most meaningful to me. This was certainly one of those times.

I now feel better prepared to create a quest that will consider the student experience from beginning to end. Considering the three components of quest attractiveness will enable me to collect data on their effectiveness and to make revisions to the quests as I learn more from student feedback.

photo credit: tvancort via photopin cc

Monday, February 03, 2014

Whoo Hoo! Now the real learning begins!

"The journey is the reward."
~ Chinese Proverb

I've been exploring the world of quest-based learning through 3D Game Lab for the past few weeks and I cannot remember a time when I have felt so driven to learn and energised by what I am discovering. This type of buzz - the excitement of mastering new skills and striving to unlock the next quest, is exactly what I hope to provide for students.

Having teachers participate in this quest-based learning platform before being able to design their own quests for students is an excellent idea. By becoming a true learner myself, I now have a greater appreciation of the student experience in such an environment and I believe this is critical when designing curriculum. The tasks and reflections that were a part of the initial teacher training have prepared me to tackle the writing of my first quest ~ something that seemed rather overwhelming when I first began.

This is a short and sweet post - I want to get back to the game and begin designing my students' first quest!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Personal Passion Project: Let the quest begin!

"Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st Century."
Alfred Edward Perlman

I have been exploring ideas around the transformation of education through gamification for a couple of years now and so I am excited to finally have found something to really support this in my teaching and learning. In a nutshell, 3D Game Lab is a platform in which teachers can create quests that allow students to select their own learning pathways. Like a game, students can earn experience (XP) points and rewards as they work toward 'winning' a class.

As an educator who believes in the power of agency to foster student engagement, I have been trying to create personalized learning environments using a variety of digital tools to help. I've had blogs and class web sites; tried flipping my classes; used digital learning menus; implemented Genius Hour or passion projects; and created Edmodo groups - all to try and allow for my students to have choice in how they learn and how they share their new understandings with others. While these tools and strategies were a step in the right direction as my students were definitely engaged, it all felt too disjointed and it was difficult to manage so many different approaches. I kept thinking if there was only a way to bring all of these different elements together; some type of platform that would keep track of all the students achievements and accomplishments.

One of the things I loved about Edmodo was the ability to create and award badges for students when certain tasks or activities had been completed. The students loved receiving the badges, but they could only share them with their classmates or others they were connected to on the site. They were unable to share these digital badges on their WordPress blogs / digital portfolios, where they communicated about their learning with the wider community. This led me to look for alternatives and that's when I discovered the Open Badges Movement.

As I learned more about the philosophy surrounding open badges I became more convinced that this is the direction forward - that such a movement will support the transformation of education. I created my Mozilla Backback and began to explore. I loved it! So much choice and so many opportunities to connect with like-minded others. This was some of the best professional development I had experienced and I immediately began to think of my students and how much they might benefit from such choice and control over their learning.

It was through this exploration of open learning that I found 3D Game Lab. After trying a demo account I have now signed up to make the most of what I believe will provide the type of learning environment I've been striving to create. I am 'playing' to learn how to best use the platform as I complete quests about game-based and quest-based learning. Once I earn my 'builder' badge I plan to design quests for my students and colleagues and that's when the fun will really begin!