I wish that I had known about “Teaching and Language Learning Through Gamification” earlier. I just happened to stumble upon it this morning and unfortunately, the course ends on the 12th. I admit that I’m really struggling with how wide-spread adoption would work in the current educational environment. I also have difficulties with anything that ends in -ification. Just how would this fit into a full day with limited resource and limited time in a world where we’re trying out best to get a handle on understanding digital technologies?
I know that there are people who are digging in. I had a chat with @MzMollyTL, a Toronto Teacher-Librarian whose entire family is immersed in their gaming and who manages an after-school gaming club. I’ve seen the engagement and the creativity of @zbpipe’s kids first hand as they create and manipulate their own virtual worlds. I’ve poked around myself but keep getting frustrated without adequate bandwidth.
The five week course is broken down into five weekly posted pages with links to research supporting the concept. It was very interesting reading and I can visualize various teachers I know who would jump into this with enthusiasm. At the same time, I can visualize so many others who would challenge the notion and would respond with “not in my class”.
As part of the wiki, there is a collaboration page where participants can add links to games that they recommend along with lesson plan suggestions. During my visit, there was a single site referenced, “Mystery of Time and Space“.
If you had the pleasure of playing Zork from years gone by, you’ll be immediately at home. Each “level” is actually a puzzle with various objects in each room. Unlike Zork where everything was text-based and so much had to be imagined, the presentation is very visual and you interact by mouse clicks. Also, unlike Zork from years ago, walk-throughs are just a Google search away should a student get stuck on a puzzle.
The puzzles are fun and a challenge. I remember when my classes had access to Zork; it was the sort of thing that had students at my classroom door when I arrived at work and I had to kick them out at the end of the day when it was time to go home. They mapped the site; recorded their interactions, and worked as teams to solve the puzzle. MOTAS would work the same way.
It’s but one of the modern types of games that fit into this genre. It will be interesting to track this wiki at the conclusion of the course. You’ve got to expect that Minecraft will show up somewhere along the line. It’s always interesting to see the lesson plans that accompany innovative technologies.
But, the bigger question is — is this a viable teaching tool that will take off? We use games all the time; can we make the transition to this type? Or, will this be something that only a few will adopt and most relegated to school clubs or at home use?