Remember The Oregon Trail? Caulking the wagon, floating it across? Think back to that gem gleaming green on your Apple IIe: a signal for a break from school. No more learning!
Oh, but what trickery! At least since that era of the early personal computer, teaching and learning have taken to the screen unbeknownst to captivated little learners. And in recent years, a more complete integration of games has even begun to transform classrooms, for all ages, in the hope of improving education with the logics that govern self-directed virtual adventure. Some game-based learning platforms challenge traditional teaching models. Some threaten the objectives of standards-based assessment and give students freedom to pursue their own interests. Some do both.
One of these platforms is 3D GameLab, a classroom management system that organizes learning around the concept of the role-playing video game. Students don’t complete exercises in 3D GameLab, they choose their own quests. Students aren’t graded, they earn experience points (XP). Students level up, earn badges, and chase the leader board. 3D GameLab jettisons grades in favor of incentive-based learning: start at zero and move your points up infinitely, instead of down from 100. Instructors provide feedback and guide their students along self-directed learning paths.
Does gamifying the classroom really work? Watch this Vialogue about one 3DGameLab implementation at the University of Alberta. Join the discussion.
Excerpts from the discussion:
@00:55 YogiP: I like that the teacher is very active throughout this process, it's not just "here, do these things and I'll meet you back here at the end of the semester." The teacher is actually giving feedback for every "quest."
@02:19 melAIL8: This is a good way of teaching but I think some students will get carried away and just pay attention to the gaming part of it.
@02:33 JordaJean: Giving students multiple chances to learn seems so much more humane than testing them once (or twice in the case of midterms and final exams) and writing them off based on a bad grade.