During the second quarter of using Gamification, I introduced a twist to the rules of the game. For a student to have even the possibility of earning an “A” within the course, he or she must earn a leader badge or three mini badges in a quarter. Having such badges will not ensure the student an “A”; it will only give him or her access to that level of grade. Much like having the key to a door, you have what it takes to enter but you must get there first. This twist has been a nice addition to the game and class. Students dove deeper into the storyline, working hard to earn badges and items through their extraordinary work.
Quick Badges Tips:
- Have multiple classes of Badges, i.e. leader-badge and mini-skill badge, which allows more room for status in the game system.
- Display all earned badges. I have my students tape theirs to the outside of their binders.
- Have some badges that grant privileges within the classroom.
- Have a place to display student work that earned badges. This helps motivate some and inspire others.
Last but not least, any game environment wouldn’t be complete without items that can be earned, upgraded and even lost. Students receive an item case for their binders. The case, a three by three baseball card binder insert, will represent what they can hold on their character. Students, eager to fill these cases up, quickly started exploring the game world. Questions arose about how to earn items, where could they be found, and what could these items do. To keep the mystique alive, don’t give all the details away. Students play video games that hide items and force them to explore through trial and error. For the most part, I simply tell students to do your best and explore the Realm.
So far, I have over 30 items and 20 badges students can earn. The hardest part of creating the game system is coming up with the items. Building up a library of items will take time. Remind yourself that they all don’t have to be figured out at the beginning. For your first items, start small and start with an interesting one. To begin introducing them in the class have only a few people in each period earn an item. Make sure the first item you give is something they can understand and appreciate. Don’t give an item that only relates to your class story. For example, I have some items that give Battle Points. Students will not understand at the beginning of the year how important Battle Points are to them. The first item needs to suck them into the game and give some students that extra incentive to work a little harder. My first item is the Staff of Wisdom. The staff allows the holder to reduce one multiple choice question on a test to a 50/50 answer. This item is for them to keep throughout the year. After the Staff of Wisdom gets introduced, the game is on!
Quick Items Tips:
- Make items as you move through the units, you don’t need to plan it all over the summer.
- Give out items for quests, in class work, and effort. This public display will inspire people to keep up high participation with the game.
- Get each student an item case. I find this helpful so that they can have them on their desk when we are doing an activity that requires the items. It really saves me time and allows for more game complexity with the time saved. For example, during tests students have their items out so that I know who has the staff of wisdom.
- If a student loses an item remember, lost items are lost items, so they don’t get replaced.
- Get a set of large dice Found here on Amazon (Set 1) (Set 2)… Many items require a roll… Students love it!
- As you make more of the game environment you will come up with more item ideas.
- Take ideas from your content for items within your game environment.
In Part V of this Gamification series I will talk about why gamification works so well.