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Can gamification help us to create a more engaging further education?


Bob's Articles and eLEARNING

Fitocracy is an online game and social network that aims to use gamification to help users improve their fitness.Do you remember these hours and hours that maybe you, your colleges or friends spent voluntarily on playing World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Farmwille or playing footbal or weekly poker events? Do you realize how deeply engaged they were, when playing their preffered game? Would it not be great if our adult learners could be as engaged as the World of Warcraft players, or as concentrated as a players of chess?

In these days, we often hear about the buzzing concept of gamification. Gamification describes, what are the elements, mechanics and principles behind games that make us so engaged and how to apply these to non-game context. The basic purpose is to make our real-life tasks  more engaging.
It may sound as utopia at the first moment, but successful gamified systems like Quest to learn, Khan academy, SCVNGR,Superbetter orFitocracy are telling us, that if designed properly…

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6 Thinking hats – Gamification on Digital ID

Not those hats again

Msc IS Adelaide Hirwe

On the first day of lecture we looked at the the concept of Digital ID. To understand the topic better the lecturer proposed a game: the ^ thinking hats. He later explain that this method of studying was called gamification. 

The game consists on dividing the class into 6 groups and distributing a poster that shows one of the six thinking hats on it to each group. The table below summarises the outcome of the exercise. Image

The six thinking hats by Dr Edward de Bono

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What can we gain for our understanding of educational blogging from learning as acquisition and learning as participation perspectives?


Bits n Bytes

(Originally authored April 2008. I am re-reading and reflecting on this in light of this connectivism course. )

Learning is a complex activity and over the years different approaches to the meaning, concept and process of learning have been articulated, proposed, analysed and examined. As “learning sciences are fundamentally concerned with identifying how structures of information are generated and used in learning activities, and with what ways that information functions in activity” (Greeno, 2006, p. 86), this paper focuses on the use of educational blogging in a higher education context and examines it using a perspective from learning science theories and research: acquisition versus participation metaphor as applied to learning.

Blogs are online spaces where individuals publish their thoughts on any subject and the technology enables interaction between authors and readers of their blogs. Within an educational context, instructors incorporating blogging (the term educational blogging will be used to distinguish…

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Whats my class

Institutions have divided students up by giving them tests and then grading them like fruit, big oranges to the left and small ugly oranges for the juicer, does this reflect who the person is and what they know. Tests and grades are only the tiniest fraction of what makes each person in that class different. If the student doesn’t know what they are good at and how they themselves learn best then what we need is an observant teacher on engaged in the theories of learning and the student. The ‘Flipped classroom’ for me is working with students who just happen to be in a class that is probably already graded and sorted into different sized fruit. I once read that lecturers decide on a student’s ability in the first day, they categorises them, and it is very hard for a student to change that initial grading system. Age and culture, if not also social class and gender already sort them. Perhaps the age of the classroom is behind us and the time for a paradigm shift is here.

Fun Thoery

Game design

  1. Sensation: Game as sense-pleasure
  2. Fantasy: Game as make-believe
  3. Narrative: Game as drama
  4. Challenge: Game as obstacle course
  5. Fellowship: Game as social framework
  6. Discovery: Game as uncharted territory
  7. Expression: Game as self-discovery
  8. Submission: Game as pastime


How to make Twitter useful to new adopters in the first month

1. Follow no more than 30 people: 10 from the system/sector you work in, 10 from another educational sector and 10 that interest you personally (golf, books, culture, film etc.)

2. Put them into a Twitter list straight away. I recommend TweetDeck to manage this.

3. Respond to about a third of these Tweets, by asking a question about something they have said.

4. If you get a reply, make a new list and call it ‘connected to me’.

5. Each week add no more than 10 new people in the same way, by selecting them critically from a #hashtag. There is always a new conference everyday, so this won’t be too hard.

6. Aim to have 90-100 people in your new network, and list them as I’ve indicated. Make sure that you make the effort to start managing your lists actively. Be more interested in what is said, what is offered that making a big splash yourself.

7. Set up and RSS Reader (Google Reader) to collect Tweets from your lists.

8. Set up a Feedly Account and connect that to your Google Reader Account

9. Set your browser’s homepage to your Feedly account.

10. Embrace ‘lurking’ on Twitter though the window of Feedly, taking a small amount of time each day to to look at the traffic, paying attention to links and resources rather than comments (which are often between encoded groups and make little sense when you start out).

Professional Learning

Professional Learning

In approaching professional learning, we have 5 principles within which we work, derived and built on, Stephen Convoys Seven Habits of Highly Effective People among others. These skills are loosely coupled, but serve to underpin the design and delivery of professional learning. We design workshops for leadership, and those who can be leaders around these principles.

Figuring Out the right thing to do

  1. Identifying problems
  2. Behaving ethically
  3. Thinking critically
  4. Making good decisions and judgments
  5. Setting Goals

Getting it done

  1. Planning
  2. Analysing
  3. Self-­directing
  4. Self-­assessing
  5. Iterating

Working with others

  1. Taking leadership
  2. Working with individuals and groups (especially using technology)
  3. Communicating/interacting with machines
  4. Communicating/interacting with a world audience
  5. Communicating/interacting across cultures

Doing it creatively

  1. Adapting
  2. Thinking creatively
  3. Tinkering and designing
  4. Playing
  5. Finding your voice

Continually doing it better

  1. Reflecting
  2. Being proactive
  3. Taking prudent risks
  4. Thinking long-­term
  5. Constantly improving through learning

Report cards

Student report cards re-enforce negative aspects of learning. There seems only one way to get a good mark, through testing or a teachers opinion.

Why not

give the students a ranking and then to move from one level to the next they would have various ways of levelling-up not just a test. Extra course work, different methods of assessment.

Lets say a student gets caught plagiarising, rather than fail them and warn them not to do it again, they could take an academic skills class and gain some of the marks for the assessment back. Positive reinforcement, not hitting them with a stick. That’s how games work.

Student attendance

Students when they arrive at college spend half their time trying to figure out how many classes they can skip before they fall below the 80% attendance score.

Why Not

give the students 0% attendance at the start and then they have to work their way up to 80% attendance.

They have to achieve something to level-up

skipping class is negative, their actions re-enforce the negative action.

Levelling up is a positive.  A student’s action influences their attendance in a positive way.

Re-enforce positive actions.


Billions of hours are spent every year playing games.


This blog is not about using games in the classroom its about how we can influence student learning behaviour through game dynamics.

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