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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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Most people in my community of practice of game-based learning educators know Marianne Malmstrom as “Knowclue Kid,” her onscreen gamertag. Malmstrom is a veteran classroom teacher, and “follow the learning” is her mantra. The phrase came from a situation back when she began integrating more technology into her classroom. “With no map, I looked to see how the kids were using tech,” Malmstrom recalled, when we spoke in April 2016. “Kids were making movies with iMovie, so I built a multimedia program around that. Similarly, I look at games to see what they teach me about learning.”

About a decade ago, the virtual world of Second Life changed how Malmstrom taught. It also affected her best friend Peggy Sheehy’s pedagogy. Back in 2005, Sheehy launched the first school in the Teen Grid section of Second Life (Toppo, 2015, p. 119). Sheehy now teaches using the massive multiplayer online game World of Warcraft, which I observed during dissertation research. Her 6th grade humanities students played World of Warcraft as they read J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937). The unit was all framed around Joseph Campbell’s book Hero with a Thousand Faces (1939), which famously proposed the monomyth, the hero’s journey that mythological protagonists take. Sheehy’s students play the game, read the book, and then draw connections from the game and the novel to their own hero’s journey in adolescence. ← xvii | xviii →

Like Sheehy, Malmstrom started teaching in Second Life’s virtual world a decade ago....

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