My apologies for the delay between posts as I do realize it has been over a month since I have updated this blog. I decided to take some of the summer off and just focus on family. I had a pretty up and down year (a birth, a loss, built a house, etc...) that I decided it was time to be there for the family! With school mere days away I decided it was OK to jump back into this.
Thank you for your patience!
So in my previous post I eluded to the importance of creating a successful narrative in your Gamification. While it is a point of contention in the gamification world I firmly believe that it is important to make sure you develop a strong one to capture your audience. Just like a good story in a book or a strong movie script, a good story can truly draw the user (reader, viewer, player) into the media at a deeper level, immersing themselves into the characters and their surroundings.
So when I decided to write my narrative, which can be found here, I had to gauge my audience. As a grade 8 teacher, I work with students from 12 to 14 years of age, often with raging hormones (yes I went there), multiple commitments and a potential disinterest in my subject area (not often of course!). Who could forget as well that they are bombarded with media everyday when they pick up their phone. With that being said, I knew that simply writing a story would not be the ideal solution to everyone, to some of course but not all, so I decided to whip up a little movie trailer to better sell the story.
(To make this trailer I utilized Abobe Premiere Pro for the editing and compiled clips from Lord of the Rings, The Gumeracha Medieval Festival and The Templar Sword Fighting Association while using audio from the Requiem For A Dream Soundtrack. Obviously, no copyright infringement is, or was, intended in the creation of this piece for my class)
Please check out my trailer below. Feel free to leave a comment below!
"Welcome to Grade 8 Science. That is the last time you will hear me call it that. Also, you all have 0 in the course right now"
Kids look on perplexed...
"Here is your game manual. Before I explain it, please watch this video" and I press play.
(I will be discussing the game manual and posting a copy of my own in a future blog post)
Now you have the kids hooked because they are curious, they wonder what in the world I am talking about and I am happy to explain. Now I explain the concept of Gamification and how it will apply to this course. I go over the game manual and set the bar for the course. I am always enthusiastic and dramatic because I need to hook them now!
So once this has been completed they look at me and ask what is next. My eyes light up because this is my favorite part of the gamification, "You get to create the new you!" I reply. It is at this point that I explain to them the concept of an avatar - almost most do already understand it because of current gaming systems. This is normally where most gamifications stop but I decided to draw from my gamer experience and introduce character classes.
Not only do players in my gamification get to create a player and name them but they get to select a character class. Will they choose a barbarian or a mage perhaps a priest or a thief, maybe a knight or a steam punk! Each class has a perk associated to it that the players are unaware of - to this point anyway. They receive a custom card indicating their class, male or female version of each, and they are to hold on to it for the duration of the game.
Next, they are randomly selected and put into a guild (team) whom they will work with for the duration of the game. They are then asked to generate a guild name and logo and it will be displayed in class, above their hideout (desk arrangement) while they play. I use a digital, online, randomizer (I use this one found here) to create my guilds. The kids love the excitement of this because it is almost like a draft. (More on the guild system in a future post).
Doing all of this, I hope to draw my kids in to not only creating an avatar but connecting with it. Not only familiarizing themselvs with the story but wanting to be apart of it! A mindset of ... "I am (name) a barbarian in the land of Scientia Terra ready to free it's people" (or a mage or priest, etc...). "I have seen the land and I have seen the seen the people and I will do what I can to help them." That is the ultimate goal in my eyes! Just like a good movie or book, if you cannot put it down, then you will progress quickly and progress hear is learning!
So to summarize, using a successful narrative is crucial to a successful gamification - to me that is. Introducing the story in not only words but with a video is important. Creating avatars as well as character classes and the creation of guilds continues to build that emotional bond. The students begin to feel connected with the gamification and ultimately, that is what gamification is all about isn't it?
Until next time!