Friday, September 2, 2016

Gaming and Gamification in Education Part 1- Resources for Teachers

I have spent the last few years of my career, really digging into and exploring how gamification principles that are employed mostly by video games, can be successfully integrated into K-12 Education.  As I have found valuable resources I have collected them on a Symbaloo Mix.  I have Linked the Mix HERE.  I will take some time over the next few posts to talk about how I organized my resources.


The first grouping of my resources are resources for teachers that can be used right now!  If you are looking to start using badges in your classroom, keep in mind Badges aren't just stickers.  They need to have meaning behind them.  Whenever I talk about badging and education I ask teachers to think about how the Boy and Girl Scouts use badges.  Each badge, button, or ribbon that is earned in these groups has important criterion behind them.   Your students should know the criteria going that will be used to earn the badge.  It is very motivating to earn a badge that you have earned by accomplishing something.   The badge itself then represents a level of accomplishment.  Much like your teacher certification or Diploma.  They are meaningful, because there was real achievement behind these goals.  Displaying your diploma on a wall or displaying a badge on your dashboard is a measure of accomplishment and not a way of bragging.  This should be understood clearly about badging.  Early in my teaching career, I used to give out homework stickers thinking they were motivating.  I didn't really establish a strong criterion for earning the sticker so the motivation level really wasn't compelling for students long term.
For teachers wanting to start with badging, I can recommend Credly and Classbadges for creating a badging Dashboard or Suitcase for your students.  They are both pretty easy to create and award badges for your students.  To create a quick and easy badge as an image, I highly recommend using Makebadg.es Website.  Very quick and easy to create and download your own personal badges.  For some places to create a more high powered gaming interface for levels and badges I would definitely check out ClassCraft and 3D Gamelab.  These have Freemium versions that are very workable.  If you're not familiar with gaming protocol, don't be afraid to give these a try.  Your students will help you!
Last, but not least, I want to talk about a couple of ready to go gaming packages that are fun, AND highly engaging for students.  Kerbal, a paid for program, is an amazing SpaceShip creator gaming system that will amaze parents and teachers with the level of physics knowledge children will get tangentially.  (More on Tangential Learning later) The other program which is free, is the Mission US Game.  This is perfect for teaching US History for grades 4-8.  There are various missions that engage students through problem solving, historical music, and primary source documents.   The document list and resources for educators is one of the best I have come across.  Please tell your elementary/ middle social studies teachers about this game.  I can't recommend it enough.
I hope you will enjoy my resources and take some time to explore them.  Of course I would love to learn some more about resources for gaming that educators can use so I can add them to my list.