Game Based Learning As Education Reform


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  • Some players are not satisfied with winning early – they want to struggle against adversity and fight tooth and nail for victory. When we are up against impossible odds, the body produces both epinephrine (adrenalin) and norepinephrine. This later chemical riles us up, gets us angry and motivated, and when we eventually earn victory the result is especially rewarding. Story: Gamers will retell and retain stories about a hard struggle in a game. This kind of play creates great stories of conquest and triumph that gamers may not experience in reality.
  • People are fun to the Socializer – they like talking to then, they like helping them, they like being around them. There is a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus which serves as the social centre of the brain. When relating positively with other people, a chemical known as oxytocin is produced from this region, which gives a feeling of unity. Story: When gamers play together they become co-authors of the story of their experience. This bond creates a metastory about the relationship in the context of the game.
  • A fiendish puzzle that defines solution or a problem that requires strategy to overcome is the essence of fun to this class. Whenever we face puzzles or must define strategies the decision centre of the brain (the orbito-frontal cortex) is involved. Success in your strategy releases dopamine, rewarding you and encouraging you to play again. Story: How you come to a decision is a story in itself. The steps and routs of logic in your mind are just an inner journey to the destination of victory or achievement.
  • Finding wonderful and curious things is what the seeker enjoys. This stimulates the part of the brain that processes sensory information (the sensory cortices) as well as the memory association centres (hippocampus). This produces a chemical called endomorphin whenever we see something interesting or curious. Story: Every story ever told involves some sort of exploration or discovery. Gamers create long intricate stories every time they play.
  • This play style is all about the thrill of the chase, the excitement of risk taking and generally living on the edge. Excitement of any kind involves adrenalin, which is technically known as epinephrine. Story: Every story should excite you, get you to the edge of your seat. Gamers seek this climatic moment as the character, responsible for the outcome, and not an observer enjoying the ride.
  • Some people hate feeling terror, but some people really enjoy the intense excitement of escaping from a terrifying threat. Fear is an experience produced by a particular part of the brain known as the amygdale. Story: Games are the best medium for telling a scary story. The player actually has a stake in the outcome of the story, magnifying the fear factor.
  • The Achiever is the most goal-oriented of all the classes, and players who enjoy this play style will collect and complete everything they can find – no grind is too arduous for such a player! During play, their pleasure centre (nucleus accumbens) is releasing dopamine, which is especially rewarding, and hence addictive. Story: This balance between struggle and success is the key to every story. This feeling of accomplishment can be of individual achievements or a culmination of achievements throughout a story or game
  • These styles of gaming overlap! Games utilize many
  • What is a good game, why does it work?
  • Let ’s transfer flow to the classroom
  • Assessing Critical Thinking or Problem Solving
  • There is a lot under the umbrella of Game Based Learning and Games for learning, all connected
  • Explanation of pairing games with instruction - beginner level games that don ’t “require learning” to win.
  • Games that require learning to win. Push out content
  • High level implementation - gamifying your classroom. Not only are you using games for learning, but your entire structure is a game, with avatar creation, incentives, etc. We are NOT going to focus on this aspect.
  • Intention is the word of the day. Implementing Games in the classroom, there must be intention in how the game is used and the intent you have for the game within the context of learning
  • Games to teach civics content
  • Games to teach ecosystems and wildlife
  • Skyrim to teach gender, culture and plot structure
  • WoW to teach economic principles or elements of lit, such as characterization
  • Minecraft to teach math content and ancient civ
  • Portal
  • Evoke
  • Refugee Realities Oxfam has developed a Game for Change about Aissa, a refugee who has to flee conflict in Darfur with her four children. You can help Aissa and her children avoid all the dangers they face, like landmines and guerrillas, and when you see the children's life running out, look for food to feed them.
  • Angry Birds to teach physics and force, as well as the math that goes with it
  • What is a good game?
  • Games really encapsulate these elements of education reform
  • Game as “hook” to learn the content
  • Game as mode to push out content, “serious” game
  • Game as application, whether guided practice, group, individual, etc
  • Game as assessment piece, formative, perhaps coupled with reflection
  • Games As Assessment
  • High level implementation - gamifying your classroom. Not only are you using games for learning, but your entire structure is a game, with avatar creation, incentives, etc. We are NOT going to focus on this aspect.
  • Professional Development on how to recognize good games
  • Game Based Learning As Education Reform

    1. 1. ame-Based Learning as Education Reform Andrew Miller @betamiller #gbl
    2. 2. 2
    3. 3. 3
    4. 4. Gamer Style: What do you already know about Game Based Learning? What do you want to know? Think Share
    5. 5. By the end of this session, you will: •Understand how games can engage us in learning •Align principles of good games with effective classroom practices •See sample GBL implementation and examples •Examine a Instructional Practice Checklist
    6. 6. James Paul Gee. How does what Gee is saying challenge what you think about using games for learning? How does it affirm your thinking?
    7. 7. 8
    8. 8. Conqueror (Defeat):
    9. 9. Socializer (Relate):
    10. 10. Mastermind (Solve):
    11. 11. Seeker (Explorer):
    12. 12. Daredevil (Rush):
    13. 13. Survivor (Escape):
    14. 14. Achiever (Collect):
    15. 15. 20 What does a ame do well?
    16. 16. Situated © Institute of Play
    17. 17. Situated © Institute of Play
    18. 18. 23 Freedom to Fail
    19. 19. 24 Ongoing Assessment
    20. 20. 25 “Just in Time” Feedback
    21. 21. 26 Critical and Active Learning
    22. 22. 27 Mastery Based
    23. 23. 28 Personalized
    24. 24. 21st Century Skills
    25. 25. 30 GBL Instructional Practice Checklist lpractice “How do we create game zen in the classroom?”
    26. 26. With a partner or trio, create a list of descriptions of what Game Based Learning would look like in the classroom. 31 Anchor Chart
    27. 27. 32 Where is ame Based Learning already occurring?
    28. 28. 33
    29. 29. 34 Pairing Game and Traditional Instruction
    30. 30. 35 Serious Games
    31. 31. 36 Gamification
    32. 32. 37
    33. 33. 38
    34. 34. 40
    35. 35. 43
    36. 36. 44
    37. 37. 45
    38. 38. 46
    39. 39. 47
    40. 40. 49
    41. 41. 50
    42. 42. 52 Game Analysis Checklist mechecklist
    43. 43. 53 Using the Game Analysis Checklist: Play one of these game choices below and use see if it matches up iPad? – Download “Pocket Law Firm” iPhone? – Download “Lemonade Stand” Laptop? – Go to and find the game “Do I Have Right?”
    44. 44. Role of the Teacher. How has using games in the classroom changed the role of the teacher? What evidence do you see?
    45. 45. 55
    46. 46. 56 “I get to participate. Playing games with students and helping to facilitate throughout this process doesn’t involve taking over or showing them what’s important. It’s more about the opportunity to engage with your students on a different level as they discover and connect and create meaning.” - Tedd, 6th Grade Teacher
    47. 47. 57 “The role of the instructor in a GBL classroom is to refrain from taking over…Give your students the change to make connections and create meaning on their own…The GBL instructor knows when to intervene. The goals is that the student becomes independent of the instructor, not more dependent.” - Joe Wise, Co-Founder of Playmaker School
    48. 48. 59 How does the ame fit into curriculum and instruction?
    49. 49. 60 =
    50. 50. 61 Content
    51. 51. 62 Content Application
    52. 52. 6363 =
    53. 53. =
    54. 54. 65 Gamification
    55. 55. 66 ame
    56. 56. 67 Authentic Scenario or Story
    57. 57. 68 Authentic Identity
    58. 58. 69 Game Question
    59. 59. 70 Variety of Targeted Quests
    60. 60. 71 Summative Levels
    61. 61. 72 Benchmarks
    62. 62. 73 Incentives
    63. 63. 74 You must have all the pieces of the puzzle!
    64. 64. At your tables, add more descriptions of what Game Based Learning would look like in the classroom. 75 Anchor Chart
    65. 65. 77
    66. 66. 78
    67. 67.
    68. 68. Scan this QR Code to Evaluate Your Session! or go to