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I thought I’d drop a post about games-based-learning, as there seems to be total confusion about it, and where it sits with social-media. I’ll try to just make points.

  1. Games based learning could be just like a MOOC, given that games operate similarly, except there’s no time table limit, no prescribed readings in a folder and they have way better reputation systems.
  2. Game operate best when players are dialed into the ‘social graph’, so games based learning could be on Twitter, if Twitter was ‘seen’ as a text based game (which it is). You can use it, we did, no one died.
  3. Seeing a long list of who’s better than you is de-motivating to MOST people. This is why class scores suck. However leader boards are useful. Game Based Learning just re-casts better leader boards
  4. Badges work. As long as the loop they are connected to adds personal and social value as an experience.
  5. Games Based Learning is more likely to appeal to multiple personality types than using social media in learning, which has little appeal to ‘explorers’ for example, but bias towards socialisers. In the mean time, school likes ‘killers’ those who thrive on competition, rank and so on. GBL can then be differentiators, even levellers. You still get the top 1,2, 3 – but they might finally not be just the academic kids and be more socially inclusive. OMG.
  6. In Games Based Learning, the priorities are to influence learner behavior – to use them to get people to do what you want. So the ‘outcomes’ sit front and centre as they always have. Put down the chair, it’s okay. Other priorities are diminished by degrees of importance – but hey, at least you can assess them.
  7. Social games can revolve around a points system. This doesn’t mean you have to declare every point. It not like collecting stupid coins (marks) for no reason. Think of it as formative assessment and error checking. Points are not aligned only to academic ‘yes’ and ‘no’, they are used against social and academic work – useful to the student and the teacher. Again, nothing changes as far as reporting goes – except maybe it gets better.
  8. Games ‘inside’ social media friendly platforms are the most common use-factor – which means games occupy more of people’s time that Tweeting of updating Facebook. Go look at the top 25 iOS apps and figure it out.
  9. There is no lesson, topic, subject that cannot be made playable – even Maths.
  10. Social Media (in many common educational rationales) represents one component of the experience loop. Yes it’s multi-layered and complex, but there are at least 3 more BIG elements being ignored. For example, why do people play a game when the reward for solving a problem is just another problem. It’s not learning how to follow people on Twitter and ping questions to get a quick answer or a high-5.

What games quietly whisper (when done well) is KEY (Keep Educating Yourself). That’s the art of listening, learning, sharing and undertaking meaningful work. Finally, Game Based Learning does not mean computer and video games. It means being able to sustain an experience loop towards a goal with a satisfactory conclusion. This means you can run a perfectly respectable game in EduBlogs.

Here’s a counter intutive scenario:

“The secrets of the Bayaux Tapestry”

It’s a heroic game (there are types of game-narratives).  It uses a piece of wallpaper and a wiki and a video I didn’t have to make, just to illustrate the point – the stuff is out there, use it, don’t remake it.

All games have rules, so here are mine:

The student(s) are players in the game. They have to overcome problems for which they are rewarded with more problems. Some are more interesting than others, some easier than others. The game has a goal, and everyone has to work through levels to get to the goal. There is NO teaching needed. The teacher is the game-maker (way more fun), they can leave clues, offer some guidance, a few lies, but they can’t explain everything – else the hero will never find the extremes of reality, and make less sense of the ‘real world’ because of it.

Anyway, I thought I’d put up a 10 things post as they are all the rage in social media I hear.

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