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BTW was created by Patrick & Julie Johnson, two Canadian educators with an interest in eduction & technology. This site showcases our interactive IBOOKS for students, but we also explore educational issues in our INQUIRY segments and share lessons/teaching ideas in our TEACHING TOOLS sections. Use the Labels section in the sidebar to navigate by topic or simply browse.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

TEACHING TOOLS: Using Video Game 'Achievement Unlocked' as Learning Goals

Last Saturday Julie and I got up early to listen to the Saturday morning keynote of the Game to Learn conference (http://www.gametolearn.org/) that was being streamed live from Scotland. The conference centred around how to incorporate gaming (for example the Wii or programming apps like Kodu) into learning opportunities in the classroom. Derek Robertson, the National Advisor for Emerging Technologies at Learning & Teaching Scotland, delivered the keynote on Saturday morning, and emphasized how gaming naturally incorporates goal setting and immediate feedback.

For instance, he compared the achievements from the Xbox360 with learning goals we use in the classroom.

Today I incorporated this idea of "achievement" in video gaming in my Grade 2 classroom. We replaced the term Learning Goals with Achievements and Success Criteria with Unlocking Achievements.

Using these terms, we created the anchor chart below on Being Focused when we are working on a task in class (an idea I got from: http://bit.ly/dUe6Z8).

Achievement: Being Focused
Unlocking the Achievement:
  • Not loud but quiet
  • Having your tools ready
  • Doing what your suppose to be doing
  • Knowing your purpose
  • Focusing on your purpose
  • Finding a great spot to work
  • Ignore distractions

I told the students that if they could demonstrate the criteria of "Being Focused" they would "unlock" that achievement in the same way you would in a video game. Like a video game, you have to complete certain tasks before the level could be considered complete--and the next one unlocked. Here in class the same thing would happen. Once you completed the checklist, you would be finished this level. You would have obtained 'mastery'. You would thus gain--or 'unlock'--an achievement.

My students totally got this analogy. The connection between learning goal/success criteria and achievement/unlocking the achievement came very naturally to them and they were quite excited by it.

I'd like to continue this analogy. I can see this developing into a video-game-based form of effective feedback: perhaps creating gamer cards to give to students who demonstrate the criteria of 'being focused'. The cards would act similarly to the immediate visual feedback one gets in video games, a marker of 'success met'.

Patrick Johnson

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