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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 6. Learning in Cooperative Mode

← 104 | 105 → ·6·


Each year my 7th-grade students collaborate to create a “Virtual Student Constitution” on a wiki (a wiki is an online document that more than one person can edit). The idea for the project came from an article in the Guardian titled “Mob Rule: Iceland Crowdsources Its Next Constitution,” which described how Iceland, in the process of recovering from a collapse of its banks and government, decided to use social media to get citizens to share their ideas for a new constitution.

My students are each given a laptop or an iPad and “meet” online (rather than face-to-face) in cooperative groups. Their task of is to rewrite the school’s student handbook—their “constitution.” The Edmodo social network was the virtual meeting place. Although it has the look and feel of Facebook, it’s private and secure. Edmodo has a feature called “Small Groups” in which side chats can occur. Students can have fun personalizing their pages with avatars; teachers can award digital badges on profile pages.

The classes are given five student handbooks from middle schools around the state. Each group edits a portion of the wiki, which includes both text and talking avatars made using Voki. There is one wiki for each of my four 7th-grade class sections. There can be several hundred edits over a 5-day period. The “game” began as students competed to control editing the wiki ← 105 | 106 → page—only one person can edit at a time. The mechanics of play are: arguing, collaborating,...

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