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Gamify Your Classroom

A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning


Matthew Farber

This book is a field guide on how to implement game-based learning and «gamification» techniques to the everyday teaching. It is a survey of best practices aggregated from interviews with experts in the field, including: James Paul Gee (Author, What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy); Henry Jenkins (Provost Professor at University of Southern California); Katie Salen (Founder, Institute of Play); Bernie DeKoven (Author, A Playful Path); Richard Bartle (Bartle’s Player Type Theory); Kurt Squire (Games + Learning + Society Center); Jessica Millstone (Joan Ganz Cooney Center), Dan White (Filament Games); Erin Hoffman (GlassLab Games); Jesse Schell (Schell Games/Professor at Carnegie Mellon); Tracy Fullerton (University of Southern California Game Innovation Lab); Alan Gershenfeld (E-Line Media); Noah Falstein (Chief Game Designer, Google); Valerie Shute (Professor at Florida State University); Lee Sheldon (Author, The Multiplayer Classroom); Robert J. Torres (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Asi Burak (President, Games for Change); Toby Rowland (MangaHigh); Jocelyn Leavitt (Hopscotch); Krishna Vedati (Tynker); and researchers at BrainPOP and designers from Electric Funstuff (Mission U.S. games). Each chapter concludes with practical lesson plan ideas, games to play (both digital and tabletop), and links to research further. Much of the book draws on the author’s experiences implementing games with his middle school students. Regardless of your teaching discipline or grade level, whether you are a pre-service teacher or veteran educator, this book will engage and reinvigorate the way you teach and how your students learn!
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Chapter 3. Who Plays Games…and Why

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One of the most influential papers to affect modern video game design came from Richard Bartle. His Player Type Model, first described in Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs (1996), transformed how games were designed. Bartle’s observations still reverberate today—especially in gamification’s approach to engagement (adding game elements in spaces that are otherwise not games, such as websites and exercise programs). Bartle graciously granted me an interview, and in it he puts an educational spin on his now famous Player Types Model. Designing games should put the gamers’ experience first and foremost. Shouldn’t learning design do the same? It is as important to understand the work of Bartle when integrating game-based learning as it is to learn about Howard Gardner when planning to teach students using a variety of intelligence modalities.

Much of the current research I found on game design came from behaviorists and designers, not programmers or computer nerds. Game designers Jane McGonigal and Amy Jo Kim, for example, have Ph.D.s in the field of behavioral psychology. It is common for school districts to have a child psychologist and/or a behaviorist on staff. Most of their days are spent with students who exhibit social or emotional problems. It would be unusual for a school to hire a behaviorist to ensure that the general population is having a happy and fulfilling learning experience.

← 45 | 46 → This chapter compares and contrasts intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors as they pertain to student engagement. I...

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