pedagogy

Game Design, Classroom Design, and the Faux Use of Gamification

Game Design, Classroom Design, and the Faux Use of Gamification

“Gamification” is a popular buzzword — whether it be corporations wanting users to excitedly spend money or educators motivating students through extrinsic rewards. Consistently, well-meaning educators are seeking gamification to encourage students to meet their standards.

I’ve written about the issues with gamification and whether or not it’s good pedagogy (I don’t believe it is in its widely used state.) However, that does not mean game design has no place in the classroom.

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Death to the Acronym

Death to the Acronym

Educators love acronyms. It’s the key to successful empire in the professional industry; developing a simple phrase to communicate adjectives in a catchy way. But they mean absolutely nothing.

It’s about time that educators stop embracing acronyms and roll their eyes at its use. It’s short-handed drivel that garners universal attachment no matter what you’re doing:

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“You Do Not Have to Be Good”: De-emphasizing Product in Arts Education

“You Do Not Have to Be Good”: De-emphasizing Product in Arts Education

If you are an arts educator whose students have presented work to the public, you have probably heard something like this. On the one hand, it is a lovely sentiment. Someone has consumed the play, art show, concert, dance recital, etc. that your students made, and they have enjoyed it. And the compliment seems meant to extend to you: the students did well, and therefore, so did you.

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Data: A New Conversation

Data: A New Conversation

As a jaded educator, when I hear data, standardization, testing — anything in this tone — I am dismayed and assume the worst. And if we were to measure students in another way — say creatively or by their leadership qualities — wouldn’t this be too subjective to gauge?

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Neo-Progressivism

Neo-Progressivism

There is a worrying array of progressive products that diminish meaningful inquiry. Instead of embracing a radical change that disrupts the status quo, educators turn to relatively easy-to-implement products that take traditional ideas but “make them fun” using relatively forward-thinking ideas.

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Assurance

Assurance

At first glance, progressive-style classrooms appear like teachers don’t care. Instead of a “well-behaved”, quiet room, students are conversing, moving around, (sometimes) quite messy, and likely taking many breaks. Without the backing of pedagogy, this would be a classic example of “bad teaching.”

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Finding Your Purpose in Education

Finding Your Purpose in Education

Finding my purpose in education was born out of an immense frustration with education itself. After night after night of cramming lesson plans that paired perfectly with standards (and “differentiating” with the latest tech tool), grading 80+ assignments, and becoming increasingly frustrated with students forgetting everything I told them, I began to wonder why I even bothered. I drank more, I was increasingly negative and irate, and I lost much of the drive I entered the profession with.

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Work’s Worth

Work’s Worth

I believe in hard work. Had to. We didn’t go to church on Sunday. We worked on Sunday. Work was our worship. When school was out, work was in. Every weekend, every break, every summer, there was work to be done. So, we worked. And while I didn’t always appreciate the lessons from work when I was younger, I proudly acknowledge the impact they had on shaping the person I am today. Hard work matters.

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A Different Sort

A Different Sort

Maybe instead of clinging to the “some-win-and-some-lose” approach to education, we should embrace the “all-need” approach. The former pushes competition, forcing us to rank and sort kids, enabling us to wash our hands, for the results fit the model — it’s the natural order of things.

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