The idea for this came from a conversation one of our professors was having with some students in the spring of 2010, in which the students said “we should get achievements for being awesome.” She took that idea to our chair, who took it to Microsoft Research, who said “here’s some seed money—think this through, then come back and tell us more.”
This is less about pushing them to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do, and more about recognizing what they do, and allowing them to remember and reflect on their accomplishments.
Reflection is a powerful tool This is a service I signed up for a few months ago that tells me what I did a year ago in Foursquare. And these daily reminders are much more powerful than a leaderboard in encouraging me to check in on Foursquare regularly. What did we want to encourage our students to do?
When Andy first pitched this to MSR, he made a point of saying “GREAT DANGER HERE”…and he was right. The reason you don’t see this achievement approach everywhere in education is that it’s really hard to do well!
By adding external tangible rewards, we can actually do damage to our students’ intrinsic motivations. The focus needs to be on “now…that” rewards, rather than “if…then” rewards.
For this to be successful, it has to be voluntary, fun, and engaging. They have to vest in it as creators, not just consumers. This is the key takeaway from Deci & Ryan’s SDT work. We know this because we asked them
http://gamification-research.org/2011/09/a-quick-buck-by-copy-and-paste/http://gamification-research.org/2011/09/gamification-by-design-response-to-oreilly/So….what feelings of competence did we want to focus on?
Big questions that guided our content development.
When we started really thinking about the natural tensions at RIT—in particular, for our students, between design and development—we found that the history of RIT yielded some fascinating historical context for that tension.
This was the model that emerged for us—the tension between the athenaeum and the mechanics institute, as well as the tension between individual and collaborative competencies. Bloom’s taxonomy informs the rings, but the important part is not just expansion but BALANCE. The problem with “atheneaeum”, however, is that NOBODY can pronounce (or spell) it. More importantly, we found as we tried to categorize activities it was too difficult to operationalize “athenaeum” and “mechanics”.
What we ended up with was one axis of “exploration” and “mastery”, and another of “individual” and “social”.
Students lining up on the first day of the game to get their PlayPasskeychains.
Chris Cascioli’s card requires you to give him a picture you’ve made of a boat. The first night of the game, students snuck into the lab he’d be teaching in the next morning, and put this drawing on the whiteboard.
MIT Civic Games Panel
Just Press Play:
A gaming layer
for undergraduate education
RIT School of Interactive Games & Media
“My point is that
the „fun‟, the
pleasure of these
not come from
reward value of
but chiefly from
the experience of
give rise to.”
What behaviors did we want to
reward and encourage?
What feelings of competence
could we engender?
What did we want our students to
remember and reflect on?
“On a side note, despite website difficulties,
people are playing. The buzz is tremendously
positive. Keith Whittington has already had
several lovely interactions as people want his
card. I have given out around 40 already of
Weezes Wobble. People are breaking out in
dance around me. I never want this to stop.”
I walked in the next morning and several of the students
(including Somara) were waiting outside the room to hear my
reaction, which was my turning around and yelling
"SOMARA!!!" Definitely a good time :)