TYJM: A Better Group Project

August 2011 to Dec 2014: Marketing Plan Project as a Multi-player Game

When we have shared intentionality, we actively identify as part of a group, we deliberately and explicitly agreed on a goal, and we can understand what others expect us to do. Jane McGonigal

We come to the final part in this series.  In Part Four I explained changes made to the individual experience by providing students with compelling, unnecessary obstacles in the form of ‘quests’.  These quests also gave students a clearer understanding of the Marketing Plan Project and their role in it’s successful  completion.  The focus of Part Five is the collaborative process through which groups transformed themselves into teams.

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TYJM: Motivating Team Members

‘Quest’ as a Catalyst
One of the many great examples in Reality is Broken was Quest to Learn. Quest to Learn(Q2L) is a grade 6-12 school in New York City that is built on game-based learning. “At Quest, we define games as carefully designed, student-driven systems that are narrative-based, structured, interactive and immersive. Seeing game-based learning in action provided me with a tangible and relevant use case at the proverbial intersection of game design and learning.

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TYJM: The Problem with Group Projects

The Problem with Group Projects
The preceding articles in this series focus on the portion of Reality is Broken we listened to on our drive to the beach. On the drive back home, the book transitioned from individual gameplay to collaborative game play; providing me with a window on the “shared concentration and synchronized engagement”. Read More

TYJM: The Four Defining Traits of Game Design

There is a tendency for many of us in academia put the emphasis on the ‘teaching’ side of the teaching/learning equation. Perhaps this is because we have more control over teaching. Of course, teaching without learning is a pretty pointless exercise. At first blush, its easy to think that, when we design courses and learning modules, that we’ve got “goals, rules, and feedback” covered. Voluntary participation is another matter. My first thought was to dismiss this as a characteristic that couldn’t directly translate from game design to course design. After all, students don’t ‘voluntarily’ attend classes the way they ‘voluntarily’ play games.

Goals and Rules to Motivate Rather Than Control
However, as I listened to the book I experienced a paradigm shift. McGonigal defined each of these traits in a way that had me rethink their purpose and function. Instead of defining ‘goals’ in terms of content and learning objectives, McGonigal framed them as ways to focus players attention and provide them “with a sense of purpose“. ‘Rules’, rather than explaining, very specifically, how the ‘goals’ needed to be met, involved “removing or limiting the obvious ways of getting to the goal” in order to “unleash creativity and foster strategic thinking“. Read More

Thank You, Jane McGonigal! Pt.1

While attending DevLearn 2017 in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to meet Jane McGonigal. I don’t usually do the book signing ‘thing’ but, after her keynote, I bought a copy of “Reality is Broken” from the conference book stand and waited in line. I wanted to thank Jane for the writing a book that profoundly altered my understanding of game design and how it could be used to create engaging and challenging learning experiences.

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