Diving into Gamification

My love for video games has finally spilled over into the classroom. The idea of gamifying the classroom has stood around in my mind for years. Reading Explore Like a Pirate by Mike Matera a few months ago, provided the necessary nudge it needed to become a reality. I cheese at the idea of my students and I playing a game throughout the school year. Over the past month, I started to create/brainstorm the game I’ll implement for 2016-2017 in 6th and 7th grade ELA.

Rather than start small, I’m going to create a game that the students and I can play all year long. I’m in the process of creating the backstory and map for the game. I chose a futuristic genre. There will be four “houses” located in a fantasy world. Each class will represent a house. Within each house, students will be grouped in quarter long factions. I also have a few visuals created for each house.

I’m trying to create a sensible world, yet still be able to work in all of the concepts/skills we will learn in ELA. Overall, it’s fun creating a new world that my students have never encountered before.  My focus at the moment is to continue brainstorming ideas for the following elements:

  • Setting
  • Characters
  • Class/House Skill
  • Items
  • Achievements
  • Currency System
  • Rules
  • Leaderboards
  • Jobs

Despite the challenges ahead, I find comfort in knowing this is something I’m choosing to do. It’s not required nor necessary to have a successful classroom, but it’s something that has intrigued me for a few years. I’ve read plenty of  success stories with gamification, now it’s time to create my own.

With a few months to go, I can take my time and make sure everything is well planned out. While still keeping in mind that there will be plenty of failures and things will not always go as planned. This isn’t going to make anything easy for me or simpler, but in the end I know my students will greatly benefit. Plus, I get to embrace the geek in me!

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