Adventures in #Gamification : Resources

civresourcesI am currently experimenting with gamification ideas with my Year 5 ICT classes. As part of their year-long #HereBeDragons project the children have created their own fictional country as part of the Mythical Land of Ict. As a result my gamification ideas have been influenced by world-building games such as Sid Meier’s Civilization.

In every lesson, the children earn Experience Points (XP) by demonstrating skills, knowledge and understanding as well as their attitude towards their learning. One of the game mechanics I plan on introducing next Half Term is the idea of buying and trading resources. I have created a list of 10 items that the children can purchase with their XP – the idea is that the first five minutes of the lesson will be Trading Time in which the children can spend the XP they earnt in the previous lesson. Hopefully, this will motivate the children to get to lesson on time (they move between classrooms to see specialist teachers like in a secondary school) but I am also hoping that the idea of trading will inspire collaboration between nations and I plan on introducing bonuses for children who offer “Aid” to less-developed countries.

The Mythical Land of Ict is split into three islands representing the three classes and each nation is affiliated to one of the four Houses (getting into Game of Thrones territory here) – as a result the children should hopefully want to make their island the most powerful and wealthy as well as working on behalf of their House. I will offer bonuses for Trading between islands and neighbouring countries etc.

The 10 items I have on my list are:

  1. Wood
  2. Stone
  3. Coal
  4. Wool
  5. Wheat
  6. Iron
  7. Cotton
  8. Silver
  9. Gold
  10. Diamond

The idea of introducing Resources means I can use these in different ways. For example, once a nation has acquired 5 units of wood they unlock the Apprentice Carpenter Citizen – after 10 units their carpenter is upgraded to Intermediate and after 15 to Master Carpenter.

Bonuses can also be built into lessons so children could earn extra units of Gold or Iron – or they could win an Alchemy Spell that allows them to turn any item into a unit of Gold.

What if they could then combine items to build other things in the style of a Minecraft crafting table or games such as Little Alchemy

Next Level – – Houses

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Adventures in #Gamification : Player Attributes

In many computer games, the player’s character has a set of attributes that indicate how well the character will cope in certain situations. Below is an example from World of Warcraft:

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These attributes can then change during the game depending on how successful the player is at certain challenges or simply due to bonuses and power-ups they collect during the game.

Applying this Mechanic

I have been working on a list of Key Qualities we would expect an effective learner to be able to demonstrate. After much research and deliberation, I have narrowed this down to a list of sixteen qualities: eight of which refer to academic skills and the rest relate to social and personal qualities.

So each “player” in my “game” would have these eight academic qualities as their character attributes. These qualities are:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Imagination
  3. Resourcefulness
  4. Resilience
  5. Diligence
  6. Logic
  7. Collaboration
  8. Reflection

Every Player starts the Game with all attributes set to 0. In each lesson (“Level”) of the Game they can claim one of the 8 bonuses (they have to be able to justify their claim and provide evidence if necessary – getting a pencil from someone else because you have forgotten yours is not being Resourceful). If the Gamemaster (me) accepts their claim they are awarded the Bonus and their score goes up. To tie in with other aspects of the game there are three levels of bonus (Apprentice, Intermediate and Master) worth 1, 2 or 3 XP respectively. This means that after each level the players attribute scores can increase.

They collect tokens each time they are awarded a bonus and once they have collected a certain amount of tokens for each attribute, or have completed a set of tokens then they will receive another reward.

Next Level – – Resources

 

 

Adventures in #Gamification : Hurt Me Plenty

 

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Hands up if you recognise the game?

Imagine if your children could choose their skill level in your lessons – objectives could be differentiated and tasks of increasing difficulty offered. Each Skill Level would reward pupils with an increasing number of points – maybe offer points simply for choosing a higher level (for being ambitious). These skill levels could be named things such as Private, Captain, Major or Cabin Boy, First Mate and Captain depending on the narrative.

 

Next Level = Player Attributes

Adventures in #Gamification : The Crystal Maze

crystalmazeIn the recently relaunched TV game show, The Crystal Maze, the contestants are pitted against a series of challenges, whilst navigating their way through different zones.

In each zone, the contestants are asked what type of challenge they would like to face and they have four categories to choose from: physical, mental, skill and mystery.

I was reminded of these challenges earlier today when I was thinking about the types of lessons I teach. Sometimes the lesson is a skills-based lesson in which the focus is on the children developing a particular skill, or set of skills, and then applying them in order to complete the task. Others are knowledge heavy, some a combination of both skills and knowledge and then on a few occasions the actual objective of the lesson is kept a mystery from the pupils as part of the aim of the lesson is for the children to discover the objective themselves. This made me think of the different lessons as different challenge types (cue the Crystal Maze connection), and these were:

  1. Skill
  2. Knowledge
  3. Hybrid
  4. Mystery

This then led me to think of each type of lesson as a different genre of video game:

  1. Skill = Action
  2. Knowledge = Strategy
  3. Hybrid = Adventure
  4. Mystery = Puzzle

Applying this idea:

In every lesson the children receive an “Adventure Sheet” that details the lesson’s objectives and the key things the children need to achieve in order to be successful (Success Criteria). At the top of each sheet, there could be a symbol to indicate what type of lesson they are about to undertake.

For example:

The children could then earn Knowledge or Skill points depending on the type of lesson and it would also help me keep a balance between the Skills content and Knowledge-based content of my curriculum.

Also, imagine a situation in which children could select the type of lesson they wanted to complete (this could be due to the specific activity they undertake) but knowing that they have to complete an even balance between the four categories.

Next Level = Difficulty Ratings

Adventures in #Gamification : Prologue

In the following series of posts, I am going to document some of my ideas and thoughts regarding Gamification in my classroom.

To set the scene for what follows I thought it would be useful to explain a bit about the classes I teach. Currently, I teach ICT (or Computing if you must) in a Prep school. I teach all year groups from Year 1 up to Year 8 and I see each class for either 40 or 60 minutes each week.

I have dabbled with the idea of Gamification but now feel ready to embrace the idea fully and so I intend to try some ideas out over the rest of this academic year so that I have something in place to launch in September.

As always, I welcome any feedback to any of the ideas that follow. If you have tried gamifying your classroom then please let me know and share any experiences, positive or negative.

Many thanks.

The game will begin shortly…

#SteamMagazine

This term Year 8 will be designing, producing and promoting their own magazines and as I way of modelling the process to them I have decided to have a go at creating my own magazine.

The idea I am developing is for a magazine entitled STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) which will feature interesting articles on those subjects, aimed at a KS2/KS3 audience, with the strapline “A Curious Magazine for Curious Minds”. For the first issue, I have gone with an Alice in Wonderland theme as Lewis Carroll was a pseudonym of the mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (and it is my own children’s current favourite film (Tim Burton not Disney)).

I am currently putting together articles that are loosely connected to the world of Wonderland such as a section on shrinking (Science Fiction films featuring Shrinking, Data Compression and “What would happen if the moon was shrunk as in Despicable Me?) and growing (THe Science of the 50ft Woman, timeline of the world’s tallest buildings and the expanding Universe).

I am now imagining this as a termly magazine that could be printed using http://www.blurb.co.uk and sent to school libraries around the country. It would be awesome if other people would be interested in contributing so if you have any ideas of articles you or your students could contribute to a sciencey, techy, mathsy magazine then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Password Security

As part of their Unit of Work on e-Safety and Cyber-Security children in Year 8 have just completed a lesson on Password Security.

We talked about why strong passwords are important and discussed what would make a weak password.

I then gave the children the following examples of “weak” passwords and PINs and asked the children to identify the historical figure these fictional login details referred to.

Password = jubilee
PIN = 1897

Password = eagle
PIN = 1969

Password = kittyhawke
PIN = 1903

Once the children had identified Queen Victoria, Neil Armstrong and The Wright Brothers they then used this site to select a random person and then created “weak” passwords and PINs for each one (developing research skills on the way).

How Secure Is My Password was then used to see how long it would take to crack each of these weak passwords.

The children then used this site to generate random words and using the initials of their random celebrities, created stronger passwords.

Queen Victoria = QuarrelsomeVolleyball (861 QUADRILLION YEARS)
Neil Armstrong = NauseatingArguments (318 TRILLION YEARS)

The children thoroughly enjoyed the task and it made them think about how secure their own passwords were.