Reading progress update: I've read 31%.

The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter - Greg Toppo

Yeah, I'm going to have to buy this book. When you are highlighting paragraph after paragraph until half the book is bookmarked, it's time to accept the inevitable. Besides, I can't take everything in with only one read.

 

Each chapter discusses a particular game teachers or educations are experimenting with. In all cases I've read so far, the results are really promising. My favorite so far as been Classcraft.

 

"...inspired by World of Warcraft, he created what were essentially mini-guilds in each class. Every team member would play as one of three archetypal roles-warrior, healer, or mage. Each role held different powers and vulnerabilities, but every team needed at least one of each. He built a bare-bones game that was more Excel spreadsheet than anything else. He also renamed the teacher 'the game master.' Young called his invention Classcraft..." (p. 71)

 

"...Young said most adults don't understand how strongly kids feel the need to be part of a group, fighting together for a common cause. In that sense, letter or percentage grades 'are horrible as general motivators'...Classcraft, he hoped, would help break the cycle. As kids level up, they actually pay less attention to grades and more attention to keeping their team alive. Part of what makes it successful is that the game's rewards and penalties have real meaning for students." (p. 73)

 

"Virtually all the teachers using it said it increased student engagement and fostered constructive, collaborative behavior in class.

 

Along the way, his students came up with the idea of the Random Event. Simply put, they wanted another layer to the game that made stuff happen each day in class, something weird and wonderful and totally non-negotiable, something not controlled by the teacher. 'I said, "OK, let's have stuff happen."' He had them draw up a list, which soon grew to around 300 ideas. His only guideline was that each one had to be able to take place that day. For each pleasing event there had to be a corresponding displeasing one. He especially remembers one cold Canadian February morning when the game randomly ordered him to throw open the classroom windows. ...It also added another layer of tension that got kids to sit up straight. If the teacher respects it, the kids will get behind it." (p. 73)

 

I won't bore you with all the game theory in here as well. The game layer, etc. has made me consider just why some games work for me and others don't.