After having read Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken, I’m awash with ideas for my classes. The book wasn’t particularly about how to gamify education, but as an educator who recently heard John Gee’s pitch for doing just that, I’m ready.
On a side note, ever since I read the book, after I go to sleep, every one of my dreams has been about games — mostly where I’m a player in a game: unlocking achievements and levels, getting stuck, overcoming obstacles, etc.
The game I’m working on is a 10 week MRPG. The immersive environment will be India and the content will be history and culture. Students will be given missions and asked to provide proof of their missions through a twitter account, which will be kind of like Charlie from Charlies Angels or the Voice on Tape from Mission Impossible.
I figured I could use the twitter account the way video games use automatic feedback systems. In video games no one is there to tell you how you’re doing and mark down what you’ve done. I think the twitter account creates a feeling of automation. In class, I’m usually the authority that they go to for different information, but the more it seems like the missions aren’t coming from me, but from the game itself, the more likely kids will be motivated and engaged by game.
The game is really designed to facilitate personal exploration of the content (in this case India).
Here’s the setup:
You’ve been selected by the Governmental Order of Divinity and Society to go on a quest to India. Because your mission is secret we cannot inform you of all the details now. However, In time you will learn everything you need to know about your objective. Understand this though: your mission is vital.
The nation of India houses an ancient civilization, spanning thousands of years. It’s the seventh largest country in the world, and home to over 1 billion people. While China is the only other country that is bigger in both landmass and population, India is much more crowded. On average, nearly 900 people live in one square mile in India. There are people everywhere!
Your first quest is an easy one. Decide where you’re going to travel to. Use Google Maps or Google Earth, to explore towns and cities, and to look at pictures and videos. When you’ve chosen a location, Introduce yourself to @AgentShiva on Twitter and send him the coordinates of your destination, so he knows you’re serious and ready for this journey.
To ensure confidentiality, AgentShiva will send your next and all other quests via DM (Direct Message) on Twitter.
So this will get them started. I’m hoping to set up both Wiki and Blog where AgentShiva or another Agent will ask them to begin documenting the game/the mission. For the quests, they’ll need to provide proof of completing each quest, which they can do in any number of ways, but which will have to be posted online somewhere (preferably their blog) — that way they can use text, photo, video, et c.
Once they agree to play the game (by messaging AgentShiva) they’ll be given their next quest, which is to find a hidden envelope on campus with Rupees in it. In that envelope will be a link to a site with the blog/wiki, and a key to how much each mode of travel costs per 50 miles. They’ll need to use the money to get to their destination (which involves a plane ticket over there — i think they’ll have to find a real plane and convert the usdollars to rupees) and then travel by bus/taxi/train to their destination. So throughout the game they’ll be spending money as they travel from city to city, but they can also choose to go on small quests to make money. These might involve helping Indians with tasks (courier, fetch, read, write) or learning a trade.
Ok so that’s enough for now. I’ll be thinking throughout the day on what the reward/feedback system should look like and how to build failure into the game.
Comment on Disqus if you have any thoughts.