Laws of Motion: Unlocking Student's Drive

Topic: Using the SAPS model when trying to construct lessons. Time: 18 minutes

Newton famously explained three laws of motion that are still with us today. I believe these three laws fit when describing the classroom. The laws are about movement of objects and how they react with the world around them. For this blog post, let's change the word "object" in Newton's laws with "student" and see how they read. I think you will soon see these powerful laws help define the motion of learning.

Newton's first law states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change it’s state by the action of an external force. This first law is so perfect for our classroom and the gamified experience because it pushes students in multiple directions. It shows us that the object, the student, will remain at rest, not engaged unless acted upon. So naturally the question is how to act in a way to create a spark in our students? Is there a way to create an environment that gives many opportunities for educational exploration and movement? Creating conditions that will inspire action without giving explicit directions was once a mystery to me. Now, my answer is creating immersive lessons through the power of gamification! Since infusing powerful game mechanics into my course design I have seen "objects" in motion and they stay in motion throughout the year. My content remained the same, I didn't create Teen-Pop EDUlessons that were just filled with edutainment fluff. We are talking the laws of motion here. I carefully crafted lessons that applied game mechanics to see students overcome challenges, discover new talents, and empower them as learners.  By applying game mechanics to my classroom, I started to see a powerful risk rich environment take shape. It was breathtaking!

Additionally, this first law states that there will be uniform motion in a straight, and ultimately uncreative path unless compelled to change. Boom! You nailed it, Newton! If we just walk students through our content with rubrics and standards and leave out the power of exploration and the more humanistic side of things we will produce in the words of Singapore's educational secretary, "Highly educated useless people". We need to unlock the laws of motion in humans. This will require changes in our classrooms and how we deliver our content. I know change can be scary, but ask yourself, do you want to have your students in uniform motion? Will that lock step educational model produce the innovative thinkers of tomorrow? I think not.

Newton's second law explains how the velocity of an object changes when it is subjected to an external force. Now this one just builds on the first law. If we think about velocity as the student's drive toward action and away from inaction, we once again arrive at a similar conclusion. We need an outside force as a catalyst of some sort. Now traditional classrooms with their regular and predictable course flow is a force that pushes students. However, we can do better. We can create better catalysts that create greater velocity in our students. The VLOG covers the SAPS motivational model and will help us recognize some driving forces in our students.  SAPS is an acronym that stands for Status, Access, Power, and Stuff. These are four base motivators in humans. When we design things in our engaged classroom, we should keep this motivational model in mind.  

Lastly, Newton's third law states that for every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is borderline poetic for our purposes. I want to inspire action in us teachers to create powerful lessons that infuse game mechanics and design choices that will get an equal reaction from our students. Simply put, you get out of your students what you put into your lessons.

Our gamified course, that build immersive experiences that are truly unforgettable by all, involved change the trajectories of our students' lives. Their world is bigger, they think with a richness of the real world and their life will never be the same because of it. Let's apply the laws of motion to unlock our students drive with the SAPS motivational model. How will you change the trajectories of your students?