I was over at Classroom 2.0 the other day and was reading some interesting posts from people who have been transforming their classrooms into video games. It instantly got me thinking about how I could adapt this idea to suit my classes and just how engaging something like this would prove to be. Throughout the course of the year I have been utilising a mastery model with my students, in fact we don’t move to a new topic until I am sure they know the content as well as they possibly could. One example of this was my students completing a pre, mid and post test on sports nutrition. The test was hosted on-line and was created using the wondershare quiz creator (highly recommended). The same test was issued at each stage and I simply marked on the difference between the initial and final tests, all student’s recorded a grade of 100%. I’ll come back to why this model is important for this idea…
So here’s how im going to introduce it to my year 7 (13 year old) Student’s next year….
1) Each unit of work will be broken into levels, as per a video game. Levels will be top heavy in that most of the work will be within the initial stages. The game will last 10 weeks in total and cover about 4 separate topics.
2) Student’s work through at own pace completing the requirements of the levels. Students decide when assignments are due, when they should sit tests, when they should complete skill building activities etc. Student’s cannot move onto the next level until all requirements have been stamped off in their game booklet but can tackle the activities in the order they desire. Activities can be completed over and over until they demonstrate the required understanding. Much like how a video game works.
3) Each levels requirements are explained in detail within the game instruction booklet that all students will get on the first day. The booklet will indeed look like a game instruction booklet. It will include all of the details on work, lessons, assignments and tests that the kids need to complete and where to find the information they require at www.mrrobbo.com. I’m thinking the booklet will be released in stages so I can make changes to things throughout the course of the 10 weeks.
4) Students will have a game pass that they must stamp on completion of levels. I will also create a mini progress tracking program that uses avatars the kids create to show where they are in the game.
5) “PE Land” as it is tentatively titled will include all of my favourite Web 2.0 tools such as Ning, Wikis, Blogs, Polls, virtual worlds, mobile phones etc.
6) To assist in the motivation of the students I will incorporate the money scheme I used this year with the Year 7 students at Boort SC. The idea was they earn money for things, lose money for things and at the end of the term we had an auction where the fake money we designed as a class could be exchanged for small items. It was tonnes of fun as students begun to see real consequences to their actions, some teachers argued it was bribary but I would argue it was teaching students how to be responsible, along with the skills they might need to manage their own money.
7) I would include vodcasts, podcasts, slidecasts of myself that detail sections of the instruction booklet or activities. Could even include a Voiki that introduced new levels from my website @ www.mrrobbo.com
8) Would include bonuses such as opportunities to earn free lunch passes, free time passes etc throughout the course of PE land. Could include cheat codes, much like a game where students earn answers to questions etc.
9) Levels would align with certain grades, completing the game would result in an A+ for the unit (However we don’t use this criteria in Victorian schools so it will need to be modified to suit). Students can only move forward they cannot move backwards a level
10) I would encourage teamwork and co-operation within the game as this is not unlike how kids play video games in their private lives. Other students can assist those to move through levels.
Why do I think this will work? Well part of the reason why games are addictive is because they provide the opportunity to level up and improve your score. This idea simply blends video game theory with the classroom in a way that will be sure to motivate younger learners. The mastery model which would be employed isn’t much different to a video game. When you die in video game, you get a new life, you simply try again and again until you pass the level…. This is the attitude I want my student’s to have as they move through PE Land in a completely self paced and personalised manner. Now that’s learning..
So what do you think? Any additonal ideas or things i’ve forgotten? Please share your comments.