Kids do not really care for school, which as a teacher obviously makes things a little difficult. Teaching Grade 8 Sciences can be difficult and when you are trying to teach someone about cellular biology or the history of light they have a real hard time connecting it to their world and you can lose them along the way. It’s a slippery slope!
So last year I decided to gamify my entire classroom from September to June - go big or go home right? It was a lot of work and took some real thinking but it has been a revelation to my students. They are working harder, producing better quality work and enjoy our 40 minutes a day together more than I have ever seen before (check out my previous blog post here for some early statistics from my classes).
We, hopefully we I should say, know in education there is a massive engagement crisis. Study after study is being published that continue to reflect a noticeable decline in school engagement. However, when I decided to attack this crisis head on there was one major issue I needed to tackle. Creating a gamification/program that would hit all of my player types. What are player types though?
Usually, for the unaware, people apply Bartle’s Player Types (the style/motivation/reason people play games which are backed by psychology and his analysis of action and behaviour) in their gamification but even Bartle himself warns against this – he even calls them “bandwagons”. His player types (killers, achievers, socializers and explorers) were intended for the world of MUDs (what we now call MMORPGs) but are frequently used in places they should not – like a fitting a puzzle piece into the wrong slot. It kind of produces something but it isn’t what you hoping for in the end. Sometimes it even works but classrooms are way deeper than these 4 player times. Bartle does an amazing job explaining this and cautioning game designs, especially those interested in Gamification in this YouTube clip. This is Bartle presenting
The 6 User Gamification User Types of the Classroom
The Player (a.k.a.: “What Do I Get Though?”)
We all have that student who needs to get something to do something. They are willing to do whatever you ask of them but they want a reward or privilege in return. That is how a player type is motivated. Offer them some sort of reward and you will see results
The Philanthropist (a.k.a.: “The Class Leader”)
This student loves to lead groups and volunteer to do things. They learn by helping other people out and are often the first type of person you turn to when you need help supporting someone who to get something done. When they are helping and teaching others they are the most motivated.
The Free Spirit (a.k.a.: “The Problem Solver”)
This type of student loves exploring the classroom and loves seeing what everyone is doing. Sometimes they seem lost and confused but they are totally with it. Their projects and ideas see “out there” at first but they always have a way of roping them back in to produce awesome work. Give them space, freedom and creativity and let them soar. When you have a problem the free spirit is your go to.
The Achiever (a.k.a.: “The High Achiever”)
This type of student is self-driven to be the best at whatever they do. They get a task and attack it head on. They can be competitive and help push struggling groups forward. They want to achieve their maximum at all times.
The Socialiser (a.k.a.: “The Social Butterfly” or “The Team Player”)
This type of student loves to go about the room talking to everyone. You put them anywhere and they find someone to talk to. They love to work in group and they can be competitive in that scenario. If someone needs something they will be there to help.
The Disruptor (a.k.a.: “The Class Clown” or “The Black Hole” or “The Avoider”)
This type of student loves to seek out attention from those around him or her. They will crack jokes, interrupt lessons or attempt to derail class discussions. They can be tough to deal with. Providing specifics and surrounding them with the proper player type such as an achiever or a philanthropist will often keep them focused and moving forward.
Designing my game around these player types has truly changed my classroom. I create quests and bonus missions that hit the different styles of each learner. This creates different opportunities for people to lead and follow and that is a crucial skill all on its own! Here is another great model created by world renowned gamifier Andrzej Marczewski which depicts the motivations of the player types.
Gamification truly is a game changer in education!
Until next time!