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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 7. Gamification and Quest-Based Learning

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Gamification can turn a nongame activity into a game. Shopping is one example. People often return to stores not for products, but for experiences. I could drink coffee almost anywhere, yet I often frequent Starbucks. When I enter a store, I am greeted with the smell of freshly ground coffee and hipster music. The machines behind the counter are positioned to enable the baristas to face the customers. I can pay for my drink using the Starbucks app on my iPhone: All I have to do is shake the phone at the register. In exchange for purchasing coffee, I am awarded stars. The hope is that I “level up” from “green stars” to “gold stars.” The app includes other free rewards every week, such as a song from iTunes or a free game. There is even the fun mechanic of shaking my phone to pay. The store is filled with positive aesthetics, and I am moved along with a reward system (stars). Clearly there is more at work here than just a cup of coffee.

According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report, gamification is “interactive online design that plays on people’s competitive instincts and often incorporates the use of rewards to drive action—these include virtual rewards such as points, payments, badges, discounts, and free gifts; and status indicators such as friend counts, re-tweets, leader boards, achievement data, progress bars, and the ability to level up” (Anderson & Rainie, 2012). ← 121 | 122 → Designers often mix...

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