MIT’s Education Arcade released some information recently that could really change how gamification/ game-based learning can be used to help students learn. Games for Learning is not a new phenomenon, but this recent manifestation is quite unique and could be a springboard for further games of this type. This manifestation has specific, unique promises for further Gamificati0n of Education and Games for Learning.
MIT’s Education arcade “is about to design, build, and research a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) to help high school students learn math and biology…The game will be designed to align with the Common Core standards in mathematics and Next Generation Science Standards for high school students and will use innovative task-based assessment strategies embedded into the game, which provide unique opportunities for players to display mastery of the relevant topics and skills. “
MMOs have been proposed for learning. One more famous one is using World of Warcraft in Education, where teachers have collaborated to build curriculum to supplement the engagement of WoW. This game being build by Education Arcade, however, integrates the learning into the game, where the learning of critical science and math standards are required to progress in the game. This alignment to the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards is a huge push in education development, whether games or paper-based curriculum. More and more state are adopting the Common Core standards, and having a game that aligns to this, with assessments and data, will make it easier to implement the game in the classroom and legitimize it as a learning tool to skeptics. This is because this MMO leverages Mastery of Content! In order to learn this content, there will need to be excellent gamification, and an MMO can do this. Essential to effective game design is an engaging story and purpose. MMOs have some of the most engaging story lines and purposes. The story lines This coupled with the other elements of gamification, can create an innovative learning experience.
In addition, collaboration will be key in this game. MMOs have the unique necessity for players to collaborate to complete quests. Educators have long touted the need for 21st Century Skills, and one of these essential skills is collaboration. Related to collaboration is the need for autonomy. MMOs balance solo question with team questing. Students need to be able to govern their own learning and work, and an MMO can balance collaborative learning with individual learning, where students can have true autonomy in the game and personalized instruction. Avatars and character creation will foster this autonomy and ownership for students.
Daniel Pink has an excellent video that what drives us is “Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose,” We should use the same philosophy when looking at ways students can learn. This MMO being developed has the potential to utilize these elements that drive us to have students learn collaboratively to master content. If developed right, it could be a potential game changer in gamification of education and games for learning.
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