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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 14. Making Digital Games


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Similar to constructivism’s tenet of “learn by doing,” the theory of constructionism can be summed up as “learn by making.” Seymour Papert pioneered this learning theory. His seminal book Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas, first published in 1980, detailed constructionism and the kid-friendly programming language Logo, created by his MIT lab. In the preface to Mindstorms, Papert stated, “a modern-day Montessori might propose, if convinced by my story, to create a gear set for children” (1993, p. xx). Programming to Papert was not about the language, but rather the toolset to create a working system.

Expectations for widespread school adoption of the “Logo Turtle,” a small, programmable robot, were promising at the time. I remember using Logo for Apple II in the early 1980s, but it seemed like a novelty compared to the BASIC language taught in schools. In 1993, MicroWorlds was released, integrating the language with robotic-controlled interlocking LEGO bricks. About a decade later, “a new Logo programming environment called Scratch emerged from the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab” (Logo Foundation, 2011). Papert’s vision is still strong today in today’s Maker movement. The LEGO-robot collaboration lives on with Mindstorms, a top seller that uses advanced tablet applications to program movements. Scratch, the digital animation and game design tool, is a descendant of Logo. ← 261 | 262 →

This chapter reviews a variety of applications available that teach game creation at an early...

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