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

Preamble
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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