These images are typical of the media content our students see every day. How do we compete with this level of “engaging” content in the classroom? Can we? Should we? Will we?
Game design is fundamentally about really, really, really, really well-designed learning interactions, deployed from one group to another, mediated by technology. These are carefully designed learning experiences. A Secret
However easy it is to decry sensationalism, the techniques of games are shown to capture attention, motivate action, and challenge players (we can count most of our students among their numbers) to do hard, not terribly fun tasks over and over… hard tasks that are not that different from what we ask them to do in the classroom. As teachers, we can learn from these design techniques and shape them into classroom practices. That is the theme and goal of today’s presentation. Games are Pressing Start
Jane McGonigal, Reality Is Broken “Hard fun” is what happens when games create in the gamer eustress (“good stress”). “From a physiological and a neurological standpoint, eustress is virtually identical to negative stress: we produce adrenaline, our reward circuitry is activated, and blood flow increases to the attention control centers of the brain. What’s fundamentally different is our frame of mind. When we’re afraid of failure or danger, or when the pressure is coming from an external source, extreme neurochemical activation doesn’t make us happy. […] But during eustress, we aren’t experiencing fear or pessimism. We’ve generated the stressful situation on purpose, so we’re confident and optimistic. When we choose our hard work, we enjoy the stimulation and activation. It makes us want to dive in, join together and get things done” (32). Eustress and “Hard Fun”
Sex: you can be “sexier” than you really are in a video game. Take on and explore alternate identities, experiment with identity Lies: you can be “better” than you really are in a video game. Stronger, faster, more powerful, more adventurous, more ethical, etc. Multiple Lives: you can freely experiment without a pressing and debilitating fear of failure. Video games offer a safe place to take risks The Psychology of Superheroes
I teach a course about [X]. How does this apply? X = A subject with no clear connection to game design So what?
Key Strategies in Game Design: 1.Iterative Design 2.Playfulness 3.Storytelling 4.Multimedia Assault 5.Interactive Moments and Real-time Feedback You’re Probably Already Doing It Anyway
Loosen requirements in response to a desire to create. Allow a space for innovation (or assumed innovation). If it’s not broke, break it so you can fix it (but let them know it’s not broke). Create spaciousness in classroom discourse. 2. Playful Experimentation
A few strategies: Think-aloud protocols for usability testing Collaborative design of an unfinished assignment draft with your students Create an ungraded early assignment to help you design a later one Other ideas? Playtesting Your Pedagogy
In game design, storytelling is often used as the reward that keeps players playing. What stories do you use in the classroom? Our personal stories. Our current students’ stories. Prior students’ stories. Popular culture narratives. Different types of stories may serve different purposes. E.g., motivation, discipline, reward, etc. 3. Storytelling
Technology is neither friend nor foe, but a tool to be used for good or for ill. The more ways a student can hear a message, the more chances he or she has to hear it the way that works. Students communicate through multimedia, thus multimedia is often a good way to communicate with them, even in the classroom. Infinite resources. 4. Multimedia Assault
http://www.ted.com/talks/brenda_brathwaite_gaming_for_understanding.html Brenda Brathwaite’s TedX Talk
What do you think? What do you feel? What would you like to see? What would you like to avoid? Can you turn potential distractions into opportunities for engagement? 5. Interactive Moments
Pair up with a partner. Open an existing assignment from one of your courses or spend a few minutes roughing out an outline for a new assignment. Incorporate one of the strategies we talked about in today’s workshop into the design of your assignment: Iterative design Playfulness / Playtesting Storytelling Multimedia Assault Interactive Moments Ten Minute Activity