First off, I want to take this time to thank the World Gamification Conference for their incredible work and drive towards what should be an incredible Gamification Conference in Barcelona, Spain this week. It runs from the 10th-13th and hits every facet of Gamification - business to marking to education to health care! I wish I could attend this year but it just did not line up so hopefully in the future it will.
I also want to express my sincerest thanks to the jury and evaluation panel of the Conference Awards Gala for selecting my little project as an award finalist in the Education category!
I cannot believe that my idea to increase student engagement and learning has both grown as big as it has and as quickly as it has. I will find out on the 12th if I am fortunate enough to win but at this point being selected as a finalist is more than anything I could have ever dreamed of!
Click here to see a list of all of the nominees!
Good luck to everyone!
Making Real World Connections - The Good!
As my game has continued to develop (I'm about to release Update 3.0 in a week) it has really begun to take up a life of it's own! The best part is that the kids are the ones driving some of the major changes and adaptions of the game itself. They are coming up with new cards, ideas and their designs, they are coming up with new quests and giving me some feedback about how to modify the ones that I have created and even suggesting the creation of new rules to help govern the Land of Scientia Terra justly. Overall, it's been an amazing experience thus far but recently a student's passing comment really drove me to add something quite unique!
I was talking with a student about how much money they had in the bank and how they could not afford the card they wanted just yet. They were disappointed, which was understandable, and I wanted to do something to allow them to earn extra money. Later on that day, our district Superintendent stopped by my classroom as I had invited him earlier in the year. I was explaining to him the details of the program, how I use tech and how things run in the class when he made the comment, "Wow, do they have jobs too haha?" Immediately I realized the solution to my problem - I need to hire people!
I decided to throw the idea out there to the kids. "Alright, the people of Scientia Terra need you!" I started, "I need to hire people to do some of the jobs the people of Scientia Terra did before they were captured and their land ravaged!" There was a tone about the room that let me know I had their attention. "I need to hire people to run the store, the blacksmith to encourage crafting, sanitation crews (custodians now) to keep the land clean and jobs like that." Silence. Intrigue. More silence. "Also, I will be paying people 500 gold pieces per month with the opportunities for performance bonuses. Oh and if you don't perform your job I'll fire you too!"
Hook, line, sinker..!
"You mean we get real jobs? We get paid? While at school?"
"Yup, that's the idea!"
"How do I apply? What do I do?"
"Well you need resumes of course"
"How do I write that?!" they panicked.
"Don't worry I'll show you. I'll show you mine, the one that got me this job. You can write a professional one to use for jobs this spring and summer or make a fictitious one with information and skills you would need in Scientia Terra. I'll leave it up to you guys"
Before I knew it I had 27 resumes handed in for 15 positions. I could not just filter the successful candidates by picking the best resumes, I needed another real world tie in. Job interviews!
I had a few sit down job interviews with applicants when I could not decided who to hire. This was fun and helpful for the students. In my earlier days I was part of the interview team at entry level jobs like Dollarama and Dairy Queen (my 1st 2 places of employment) and I know what they are expecting and what they commonly ask so this worked out perfectly.
So here I was, in my ever growing world of Scientia Terra, now hiring students and paying them in game dollars. So did it work?
At this point I've hired my 1st set of 15 employees for 1 week now and what they have accomplished is unbelievable to me. Let me break it down for you ...
My Store Keeper
- They have inventoried my game cards
- Determined the next 10 items for sale
- Priced out the items
- Designed 3 new items I will be implementing into the game
- They have inventoried my crafting cards
- Setup my 1st 9 cards to be sold (I haven't sold these cards before)
- Designed 5 new crafting items
- Come up with 3 different formulas for crafting
- Coming up with promotion ideas
- They have submitted and started the conversion of my desk into a castle - how cool!
- They are designing a jail for me (more on that later)
- They are designing bins for submitting work and quests
- They are designing how the class space will fit the different season
My Armoury & Scrap Yard Keeper
- All unusable and broken material has been discarded
- All my weapons and supplies (pens, pencils, etc...) have been inventoried
*Side note: she was frustrated with how many she had and went missing so she is coming up with a labelling system to
catch thieves. I'm excited to see what she comes up with!*
- She has submitted a list of what supplies I need to replenished
- Cleaned up the scrap yard and prepped it for the next quest set
- What more can I say except my room is spotless!
- They designed their own cleaning schedule
- Again, my room is spotless!!
This type of support will, and already is, produce three clear and tangible results...
1) My classroom will be able to progress and develop faster than anything I could have ever achieved on my own. The space
will grow and develop more and more into the land of Scientia Terra which will strengthen my narrative as well as increase
2) It will keep the kids connected to the game. Knowing that they, or their peers, are developing aspects of the game gives
them a voice and when a student feels like they have a voice in a classroom they feel appreciated and when they feel
appreciated they work hard!
3) This is teaching them real world responsibility! When you have a job you have to stick to the schedule, follow the rules and
complete your assigned tasks within a given time frame. All of these things are happening with their Scientia Terra jobs and
they are enjoying it! You can see the pride in them and I love it!
Making Real World Connections - The Bad...Sort of!
This isn't really a bad but a real world consequence for bad behaviours you could say.
While I was explaining the job aspect of things a student approached me later in the day and said they had an amazing idea. They found me later on and were excited. "I think we should have a jail or prison or something", he proudly told me. "I like it, go on" I motioned to him.
"Well if people are screwing around or something they should go to jail"
"How bad does it have to be"
"I don't know like ruins other peoples learning and stuff. Break things. I don't know."
I stood there frozen a little bit. This was coming from a student that used to struggle in school and focus and work submission had been a problems. By his own description he could be in jail himself! He, by his own self admission, would interrupt other peoples learning. For him to mention this was incredible. Could he be looking for a way motivate himself. I'm not too sure but I'm excited to find out!
"Who determines that?" I asked him.
"Well maybe we should have a jail guard or something. I could do it!"
"I would need to hire someone to be fair but bring me a resume and you will be in the mix"
Looks like I'll need to add another job posting to my list!
So here I was prepping for a jail in my classroom. I'm still working on the rules but it should work along the lines of: I'm the warden, I have 4 jail guards (1 per class), I make the final call (to keep things fair but they report). If you are sent to jail you a penalized money and game cards, to get out of jail you have to complete a boring, tech free, archaic task or your guild or a guild member has to pay a bail fee (student idea). You get no tech and no communication with the outside world. I'll be rolling this idea out in about 2 weeks and I guess at this point we will see where it goes! Regardless, it should be pretty interesting!
If it doesn't work, we learn the best things through failure ... right?
There you are, strengthening real world skills through a game. This Gamification movement is really onto something!
Until next time my friends!
- Master Heebs
PS: Keep your fingers crossed for the 12th!