I had some good news today: I had an "article" published in ASCD Express about my recent foray in to Gamification at Baldwin. The article covers a bit of the basics, as well as some clues into the narrative element I plan on implementing next year. While the first half of my summer has been dedicated to finishing my current study, I'd like to spend the second half working on getting the class into shaped. Year 1 was ok, but Year 2 is looking to add some Genius Hour elements, more focus on badges, levels, and abilities, and an overarching narrative with cutscenes to give the game some actual story to it.
One thing that's both frustrating but inspiring is the lack of a Holy Grail model for the Gamified classroom. It all sounds great in theory, and there are many places around the country who are implementing it in pieces, but I have yet to find a model that brings everything together. Some teachers have excellent projects, but neglect the game elements. Others use ClassCraft all the time, but keep the same curriculum. Some focus on World of Warcraft, or RPGs about Middle Earth, but don't really teach any major content. What has yet to be created is true "game" that's simultaneously a flexible and breathable class. Not a pre-packaging delayed delivery system with bells and whistles, but something truly as powerful as a game, but as rigorous as an AP course. I think I (with others) am moving in the right direction, but it's not here just yet. Next year will bring in new features, and the following year will improve even more. Someone may even beat me to the punch. Regardless, as Gamification continues to be spreading in theory, it has miles to go in practice.
For some upcoming opportunities, I'll be speaking about Gamification and Flipped Learning at a PD session Monday and Tuesday afternoon at Baldwin High School in the South Hills. If anyone is a local teacher or educator (Pittsburgh area) and wants to learn more, click the link to fill out the form and attend. It's currently a small session, but I'd love to open it up to anyone in education who might be interested.
I'm also speaking, for those who live across the state, and the Education Collaborators PA Summit in the Wilson School District in early August. The session has lots of great sessions on educational technology, with a special focus on Google for Education. While it's a bit far for the Pittsburgh crowd, if there's anyone who lives Central/Eastern PA, check it out!
With that, it's time to prepare for tomorrow. Not only America's birthday, but the 31st Annual Brentwood Firecracker 5K! Hope to see some of you out there in the race, in the parade, or simply lining the streets. Until then...