Friday, April 20, 2012

GameLab Beta Teacher Badge   

I finished the quests to learn the GameLab interface.  I still have a lot of other things to do and I have just barely begun to plan my quests.  This summer will be very busy organizing the lessons and developing the quests.  I've had a couple of other teachers give me resources but not too many.  Maybe once I make a presentation in June there will be more ideas.

I'll keep you posted as I continue to develop the quests. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Transferring Game Characteristics to the Classroom

There are eight characteristics that have been identified for a good game. They are:
  1. Choice
  2. Failure-lot of it in games. You learn from it by going back and trying again until you succeed.
  3. Progress Bars-you see what you have completed and how much further you have to go
  4. Multiple long and short aidm
  5. Rewards-all successful efforts are rewarded with experience points (XP)
  6. Prompt-feedback is meaningful and quick
  7. Element of Uncertainty/awards-there are know rewards to work for but there are also additional rewards and are give randomly. Rewards ignite and sustain engagement
  8. Socialization
One of the easiest game characteristics to implement into a typical classroom is choice. What is covered in class is mandated by standards but teachers usually have freedom in how they teach it and the projects students do to support the learning process. As schools are adopting the Universal Design for Learing (UDL) model they are encourages to provide choices that meet each student's learning style.

Students with Special Needs benefit the most from this. Deaf students often have below grade level reading and writing skills. Giving these children the choice of writing a report, making a poster or a video or doing a presentation allows them to show what they know without bogging them down in the process. Just moving this single component of games into the classroom allows students success at proving what they know.

Monday, April 09, 2012


I spent a couple of hours between today and yesterday trying to layout a roadmap for the Gamelab project. I came up with badge names that work well with my activities (well actually there are no activities right now-just a concept) but for the life of me I cannot come up with experience point (XP) level names.

Here's the roadmap visually and in a spreadsheet.

There's still a lot more to do. I have found some great resources that are new to me but there's a lot more to find to actually develop the quests.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

One Week Down Two to Go

It's been a week of intensive computer time. I'm living on my anti-inflamatory to keep my hands from hurting too much. One thing I'm finding a challenge is dealing with the non-linear method of learning. I'm in two sections Academy and Teacher Camp. I complete the preliminary quests in The Academy which opened Teacher Camp. I was working in there and at one point I went back into The Academy and discovered that a bunch of new quests had opened up. Working in both areas at the same time is a challenge.

So far I have earned 4 badges, 16 achievements, and 2 awards. Not bad. I've explored different kinds of games-simulations, action etc. I'm getting a refresher in copyright and Creative Commons information. I've also been exposed to new online Web 2.0 tools through the Tech Integration badge. Next I plan to tackle the Immersive badge. I'm in Second Life but I don't do much there-partly because of graphic card issues. Tablet PCs do not come with the most advanced card. I had finally gotten things adjusted but last login required I do an upgrade to the SL software and I was back to being a blob. Thanks to Miss B-a fellow quester I found Imprudence which isn't as rich as the SL software but it is working for me.

I'm just at the beginning of learning how to create my own quests. I saw the overview of how they are set up. Next up is learning more about Universal Design (UDL)-that will make work happy since we had a whole day workshop about it. Work is picking up the whole tab and I promised my supervisor that I would have something ready to show at our staff meeting in June. No pressure. Thought I would use the summer to work on the project. Oh well.

I've sent out an email to my co-teachers asking what their favorite resources are for the topics I'm planning to work on. No replies yet except from my supervisor. I think I may go futher afield and take advantage of those Google Docs we learned about and create a form to be sent out statewide to collect information.

Heading back in for the UDL quest. I'll keep you posted as I continue working in 3Dgamelab.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Narrative Games-Graphic Adventure

I am currently working on a quest about narrative games. I thought that would be a good choice to get an idea of different kinds of games before I start planning my own quests.

I was playing the game "Peasant's Quest" It's a pre-Zelda kind of game. Players have a story to follow and puzzles to solve. It would be good for students who like to think things through. It also requires good memory skills or the ability to map out details as they go along. It is fun going to the different places-I met a woman with a baby who was willing to help me out if I did something for her. I also succeeded in getting squashed a couple times although I got better at getting out of that screen without getting squashed.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

3D Gamelab

It's been a long time since I posted. Last summer I discovered 3D Gamelab and really liked the concept of gamification. I couldn't afford the training at that point in time, but when they announced they were going to offer another session I jumped on the chance to participate.

3D Gamelab is a way to add a gaming overlay to the educational curriculum. It allows the use of standards when creating the game. Students are able to complete quests, earn badges, rewards and awards. The quests can include many different activities both online and offline.

As a teacher of the deaf among other things I work with students helping them to understand their hearing loss, the equipment they might need, and a big emphasis is on self advocacy skills. If they don't learn to advocate for themselves-life can be pretty tough.

My goal at this point, and of course it will be refined as time goes on, is to create quests for students to follow to learn these things.

One of the coolest things about this training is that we are learning within the framework of the Gamelab. We complete the quests, earn experience points to level up, gain badges, awards and achievements. Once I complete the training I will be able to start building my own game.

As in the past when I was into developing different technology projects, I invite you along for the ride. I'll post information about the design process, the quests, badges etc.