Gamification: Sisyphus and Students

Gamification: Sisyphus and Students October 12, 2015

sisyphusHappy

This comic from Existential Comics got me thinking about gamification in education. Sometimes tediously repetitive tasks are a necessary part of learning, and in such instances, gamification may offer real help. But sometimes as educators we fail to make the activities themselves more interesting, settling for busy work with no clear purpose. And so let’s make student learning as fun as it can be, both by finding ways to gamify tedious activities, and also by not making anything duller than it absolutely has to be.

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  • jekylldoc

    Gamification is not just for the tedious parts. It is actually capable of building understanding from experience, which is the way the human brain is best suited to work.

    We should never let go of human contact, but game materials for education is the next moon shot – the mission that will transform humanity.

    • John MacDonald

      Hey Jekyll

      James said:

      And so let’s make student learning as fun as it can be, both by finding ways to gamify tedious activities, and also by not making anything duller than it absolutely has to be.

      I always enjoy trying to be creative and gamify when I can. For instance, I created an internet persona (Darth Abomination), and asked myself what would it be like if a Sith Lord with the beliefs, personality, and mannerisms of a student of the Dark Side roamed the internet trying to explain Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being in the most interesting, concrete way possible? That’s how I came up with my educational project for creating a Sith-themed blog, which is now completed. I didn’t get a lot of comments because the Blogger platform makes it difficult to post comments if you don’t have an account, but I got a lot of views so that’s cool.

      As a former public school teacher, I was kind of hoping some teachers might see it and try it with their students: Students could create a themed blog or web site to show their learning, as opposed to just the traditional 20 page essay or pencil/paper exam – addressing those multiple intelligences. I wanted to do a web site explaining Heidegger on Being (who, as the late great Dr. Hubert Dreyfus pointed out, is at a difficulty level on par with Kant) to a non-specialist, educated audience using a fun theme. I chose the Sith! The blog is done now and I am happy with it! http://palpatinesway.blogspot.com/

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/084c77f6ef1beb40e2bbcec19362ef00d4daae99843dfbd0c8d9713170d58d74.jpg

      • John MacDonald

        “Evil Will Always Win Because Good Is Dumb” (Dark Helmet, in SPACEBALLS)

  • John MacDonald

    Part of the problem of teaching in a university is that the grading process is often too subjective (eg. this paper seems like a 72%). Elementary education is getting better with a grading system that utilizes a more systematic use of criteria and rubric based assessment.