A good idea goes a long way!

Photo Credit: Let’s South

I am borrowing heavily from an inspired game based learning idea created by a colleague of mine named Phillip Arneill. This gaming template has become so successful in my school that it has been adapted and replicated for a wide variety of lesson types and learning opportunities.

I would say there are at least four different teachers who have used this system in at least seven different ways. It has been used for Maths lessons, English Lessons, getting children to vote for a star pupil of the week and teaching children about the Earth, Moon and Sun.

I have included this link to the original post as credit really needs to be given to Phillip for his truly brilliant idea. I do urge you to read the original post as it will give you a better understanding of how the game-template works (even though I will explain the system in more detail later in this post).

So how have I adapted it?

Well, I have used it in two ways. The first as a trial run for my final project; and the second being my actual final project for the Eduro Learning course on gamification. I will concentrate mainly on the trial version in this post but I will occasionally mention the final version of the game – which will be a continued presence in the classroom as we move through the school year.

How does the game work?

So, the game works a little bit like a treasure hunt with an eventual prize being awarded for those students who manage to make their way through a series of different slides; each of these slides contains a different riddle or question from the topic you are revising/teaching.

The true beauty of this gaming template lies in it’s simplicity. All the game asks the children to do is solve the riddle or question on the current slide to reach either the next slide or the final prize. The game can be as long or short as you want. You can have four or twenty slides – it really doesn’t matter! Some games require more, some require less. It very much depends what you are teaching. What is even nicer about the slides idea, is that it fits into the gaming ideology of players needing to move from one level to another to progress.

Ingredients

You will need the following online applications to construct a game of your own:

  1. Google Slides – you put the game together using different Google slides (a different slide for each question or riddle).
  2. The Tiny.cc URL shortening site – this allows you to customise your URLs so that the end of the URL is the answer the students need to find. This also allows each slide to be linked to the following and preceding slides.
  3. A subject which can be easily adapted to fit the fundamental idea of the game; which is to challenge the students without making it too difficult. Not everything fits and be careful not to overuse the game as children will soon get bored of the concept if they are doing it all the time.

How am I using the game?

In maths.

Left unchecked, maths lessons can become a monotonous series of worksheet-based sessions filled with endless lists of calculations and word problems. And this, my friend, is where the ‘Arneill Game’ comes into it’s own! I decided to use it in a manner similar to the way Philip had first used it in his original post. I used the game template to encourage children to become more familiar with number problems where there was a mixture of different steps involving multiples, factors, prime, square and cubed numbers.

Did it work?

Yes indeed! It worked like a treat. The children were much more engaged and were able to access the game and the learning with little difficulty. I would say it was a roaring success but if you don’t believe me have a go yourself…

I have included the first slide in this post to give you a better feel for the game and how it works.

Final project

I have now moved beyond the initial maths game, although I will continue to use this format in maths, and have moved into an area that I know children mostly detest – GRAMMAR. Let’s be honest, most children hate it! In fact most adults hate it. I hate it!

However, this game based learning system is an excellent method for encouraging and motivating students to become more interested in grammar without them even being aware that they are becoming more engaged with the different elements of grammar.

To make things even more interesting I am going to spice things up by gamifying my classroom so that we have a class leader board. We will also have a power up/end of game bonus system. This will allow the players with top three times (the three quickest to complete the game) to be given classroom rewards. I am also thinking of creating a power-up glove, hat and chain/necklace (names and powers/abilities to be decided yet) which will grant the wielder access to class/game rewards.

For the moment this remains a work in progress but stay tuned to find out more…

Weekly ‘End of level Boss’!

I have continued to persevere with my classroom experimentation with Civilization Revolution for the iPad.

How is it going?

Well, I carried out a survey using Google forms and here are the results so far.

There is no doubt that the responses are mainly positive. I really enjoyed reading the comments i.e. those comments which mention walking in the shoes of great historical leaders or the comment which discusses the issue of the differences between the great leaders in the game. I also liked the idea of using Popplet to find out more about great leaders from history. It is clear that the game has a lot to offer. I now need to find a way of bringing the game into our Primary School’s curriculum…I could certainly use some of those great leader’s attributes and skills right now!