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Gamify Your Classroom

A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning – Revised edition


Matthew Farber

This completely revised and expanded field guide is packed with new innovative ideas on how to implement game-based learning and gamification techniques in everyday teaching. With nearly two dozen more experts than the first edition, this book contains interviews with more than 70 authorities in the field, including academics such as James Paul Gee, Kurt Squire, Mizuko (Mimi) Ito, Lee Sheldon, Jordan Shapiro, and Mary Flanagan. The author also shares conversations with experts from numerous organizations such as Common Sense Media, iCivics, DragonBox, Connected Camps, GlassLab Games, Schell Games, Institute of Play, Games for Change, BrainPOP, Tiggly, Toca Boca, ThinkFun, BrainQuake, Filament Games, BreakoutEDU, Kahoot, Classcraft, and more. Featuring a new introduction, as well as a foreword from USA Today’s national K-12 education writer Greg Toppo, this book provides new practical lesson plan ideas, ready-to-use games, and links for further research in each updated chapter. Included are best practice recommendations from star game-based learning teachers, including Steve Isaacs, Peggy Sheehy, Michael Matera, Rafranz Davis, Zack Gilbert, and Paul Darvasi. Regardless of your teaching discipline or grade level, whether you are new to game-based learning or if you have experience and want to take a deeper dive, this book will engage and reinvigorate the way you teach and how your students learn!

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Chapter 12. The Teacher as Designer


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Lesson plans evolve over the years. I know mine have! They are constantly revised and iterated. I tweak what worked and what didn’t, note how long activities actually took, and account for what was engaging for students to do. (If you are a preservice teacher, prepare for students to derail your best intentions!) That process—trial, reflection, and revision—is design thinking. The Institute of Play, which is a founding partner in the Quest to Learn school, defines design thinking as a “set of skills, competencies or dispositions relating to the highly iterative collaborative process designers employ when conceiving, planning and producing an object or system” (Institute of Play, 2014). James Paul Gee explains teaching as a design science, and as it relates to game design. When we spoke in April 2014, he said:

What we’ve come to understand is that game designers are designing experiences that kids can have that can lead to learning. But so are teachers. I see teaching as a design act. You’re designing good interactivity for learning. [Teachers are] doing something very similar to game designers. It doesn’t mean you have to design a game. Good teachers have always been trying to design good experiences.

The real world isn’t a “one-off” project, like a standardized test. Apps constantly have updates, and so should your lesson plans. Playtesting and iterating gives you, as lesson designer, the opportunity to tweak based...

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