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Mobile Learning and Digital Games in School

Gamification design

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The target of my latest MOOC on Gamification Design was to find out what type of gamers we were, after seven weeks of hard work and further study in psychological effects of games and other interesting sides of gamification, we learned something about the application of game features to real life experiences in order to enhance life, work and even learning environments. I then came to the conclusion that taking part in the mooc entitles anyone to say that they have been around. It was enlightening to be able to learn and share so much with other people especially non-teachers. It was a true adventure in the world of moocs.

We had a flipped mooc showing how effectively videos and quizzes can be embedded in online lessons, it had a forum for every video we watched. There was an activity for every unit and a lot of recommendations on material for further reading. We had a part on how to deal with different gamer types, even how to stop people cheating at games. The parallels to a normal classroom or even real life are fascinating. Almost all videos were made by many charming Spanish tutors in English. About the content I can only say that it was very informative, it gathered together a wide range of fields. There were interviews with game designers and some guest tutors from other countries. Out of all contents of the mooc. Gamification Design I found gamification mechanics really interesting as they are used in games to keep the player motivated. Of course my idea was to use some of the features and apply them to my own project: Make lessons more engaging at school. Having a look at what companies do to advertise a product can help understand the process. Gamification mechanics have levels, badges and virtual products to help the player become better in the game by motivating him. Many companies use gamification as a marketing strategy binding customers to their products, nike+ is an example. Gamified experiences use transmedia storytelling: Quests, social networks, games, apps etc. to keep their customers. Games like this make customers identify with the product so using it  becomes a way of life. The games are endless as they are a continuous process, so there will always be something new to keep customers engaged for a long period of time. If we could use this mechanics at school, in our lessons, would that improve learning? I think yes. Nike's customers for example could be sitting in our classrooms, they are already used to gamification, why not tie up that end? Marketing has a certain percentage of psychological manipulation that convinces the customers to buy a product. Our product at school is the syllabus and we have to sell it to students. In our case our goal is not intended to make money, but to pass on skills that will be needed in future jobs. So if we designed our lessons like we would design a game, or convert our lessons in a game, what would we need to do? I went through the tips tutors gave us in order to design a game. The following order can be altered and in fact, it is diffcult to separate the steps from each other. They are all interrelated in any direction.

  1.  First of all you create your game according to your goals (subject, age of students..)
  2.  You need an epic story for the content. Storytelling is the most important element.
  3.  What is the challenge going to be? What should students learn at the end of the day.
  4. You have to think about how to motivate your students during the game. Look at point 8
  5.  Find a way to reward students  (badges, help, key)
  6.  Think about the rules. gamification mechanics toolkit  could be a help.
  7.  Use transmedia.
  8.  Plan the engagement process engagement circle
  9.  Plan the training period, what skills need students to develop in what time.
  10.  How is collaboration going to take place after students gain experience? (social network, forum, etc)
  11.  Create a cheat/ walkthrough to your lesson. (A key or solution to questions or challenges you build into your game/ lesson)

It is by no means going to be easy to make a game out of lessons as it needs a new way of thinking, for that we should first play games and analyse them and that will take time. I remember that nothing worth the effort has ever been easy, but the world is changing fast, so are the jobs and skills needed, universities are acting and soon schools will have to act as well, as one of the Tutors said: "Solve he problem before it appears! Re-design your game (lessons in our case), play all options and find the glitches, be analytical about what could go wrong and try to find a plan B or re-design that part." Most important: A team is necessary. The key will be to get together with teachers in diffrerent subjects and with people who play games (students). The challenge is to gamify or re-design the school experience in this case. The following engaging, modern CV Interactive Resume  convinced me that we are already living in the future and that we need to keep up as teachers. A good example on how gamification can be used in class is the following: mangagames teachers love it. And what will be the future of gamification as such? Technology will not be the only necessary tool in future, emotions and meaning will be needed too, so not only programmers are needed to work in this field, but all kinds of people with different skills. Gamification design, as one of the tutors stated, is a process that needs a lot of effort, creativity, patience and team work.


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