Around the same time, I remember using a GameBoy the size of a brick along with black and white game cartridges featuring the Mario Brothers. Again, I do not remember ever beating the game, but I do remember that the challenge of playing each level left me with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. The thrill of collecting coins and power ups is part of the reason that I have become interested in the gamification of education.
The advent of mobile devices and pocket games really changed the way I viewed games because I saw them as something that could rescue me from tedious waiting rooms and long lines at the DMV. I began to play Tiny Chef, Bejeweled, and Minecraft using my iPhone. I also discovered Settlers of Catan and a PantherSim for iOS, along with The Walking Dead. The joy of discovery and meaningful stories are the most appealing parts of my favorite mobile games.
As a professional, my interest in gaming in education began when I attended several sessions on MinecraftEDU at the CUE Conference in 2015. I was impressed by how content could come alive and tap into student interests in virtual worlds. At the time, the closest thing my district could support was Class Craft, which adds elements of gameplay to my classes. My students assume three different character classes and earn XP for completing tasks. They lose HP for negative behaviors, but I primarily use the game as positive reinforcement over punishment. Now, through my graduate program, I’ve learned how to leverage Minecraft for learning and I am eager to move into the next phase of my gamification journey.
My idea is to use 3-D Game Lab to gamify two of my classes: Social Studies and Leadership. I checked out the pricing packages and I thought it was worth it to spring for an educator subscription. While I already utilize Class Craft, Google Classroom, and Weebly to deliver content to my students, I really like how the quests can be unlocked in a certain sequence in 3-D Game Labs. I think that feature alone will make the subscription fee worthwhile.
Added to that, I am pursuing acquiring Minecraft-ready devices for classroom. I am determined to integrate Minecraft into every unit for my Social Studies class next year. I am convinced that the learning will be EPIC.