My friend and former co-worker Megan often used an expression in encouraging teenage girls to stay focused and motivated in our youth development programs at Oasis For Girls. The girls would often get frustrated or confused (as we all do from time to time) with the program expectations (show up, participate, be a supportive listener, respect yourself, etc.) and she would tell them, “trust the process.” We ask each of them to trust us. To trust that we have developed a program that will be a rewarding experience in its entirety. That it will “all make sense” if you just give it a chance and be your best self. As educators, we work to earn and maintain a student’s trust in our “process.” Each learner walks in with their own set of knowledge, experiences, assumptions, fears, skills, and expectations. Our role is to facilitate a learning process that accommodates each learner and elevates the group as a whole. Sometimes, as adults, we need to follow our own advice, model what we teach, and “trust our process.” That’s how I feel about our team; from our meetings, blogging, and MinecraftEdu sessions, I am confident that we have the knowledge and expertise to pull off this seemingly daunting task of hosting a MinecraftEdu MOOC for 6th- 12th graders later this fall. However, I think we’ve been getting in our own way because we’re trying to make sure we ask all the relevant questions and we’re not using our time together effectively.
Our essential question this week is “How has your team approached and documented the design of your game?” I think this week is a turning point for us (our class) as a team; we have struggled to organize our ideas and our process but that has prompted us to regroup and focus on the project as a whole by assigning roles and answering big questions about our overall goals and concept. If we are to earn the trust of our learners and their teachers through our MinecraftEdu MOOC later this fall, it is essential that we organize our efforts to communicate clearly, and collaboratively build a quality learning experience through gaming.
The reading this week is Chapter 9 – Managing the Gamification Design Process, from our text,“The Gamification of Learning and Instruction : Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education,” by Karl Kapp (2012). In the reading, he outlines what a gamification project should include and what roles and responsibilities team members have in designing and managing a game. He also details two approaches to game design, the ADDIE and Scrum models for organizing your teamwork.
The ADDIE Model is a linear process that essentially has asks your team to:
(A)nalyze the content you want to gamify, identify what type of content is to be learned, and to consider the skills and knowledge that learners bring into the game and what technology will be used.
(D)esign the game’s instructional objectives, strategies, and assessment; create a shared document that outlines your game design, including a storyboard of how these elements will play out.
(D)evelop the game by using the technology you selected; include instructions and supplemental materials; have learners test your game and incorporate feedback into your design as needed.
(I)mplement the game only after trying it out as you intend to use it and after training instructors to become familiar with the game and its implementation.
(E)valuate throughout the game implementation using formative (during the planning process, incorporating feedback and making changes) and summative (reflection on implementation and instruction) assessments.
In contrast, the Scrum Model is a process that repeats itself until the game is complete:
Step 1: Start with an idea for a game;
Step 2: Create a list of requirements or game elements and prioritize the list;
Step 3: Create cross-functional self-led teams that tackle parts of the list; this is complex because it involves planning, working on tasks, documenting progress, daily check-ins, reviewing work, getting feedback, and recognizing and addressing issues. The team’s progress is tracked on a visual chart showing all remaining tasks and time available to complete tasks. Kapp (2012) recommends a customized hybrid of the ADDIE and Scrum models for organizing our process.
After being asked to create a MinecraftEdu game to run in a 6th-12th grade MOOC later this fall, we began with a group Hangout to brainstorm ideas for content. We eventually agreed to use a book, The Giver by Lois Lowry, as our content for creating a MinecraftEdu game. Think book report via MinecraftEdu; students would read the book and then complete building tasks in the game to reflect their understanding and interpretation of the book’s themes. We have also been meeting for weekly practice sessions in MinecraftEdu to gain familiarity with the various tools and strategies that can be used in our game. After reading the book, we split it up into three sections and worked in smaller groups to create game tasks for our respective sections. Through this process, we realized that we were not using our time effectively and the tasks should be based on the book in its entirety. We have created a shared folder in Google Drive to document our ideas, meeting notes, and project tasks. We also assigned roles for each group member based on our individual interests and skills with the understanding that we would continue to contribute ideas and feedback for all project areas but focus our attention on one aspect of the project.
So far we have:
- Builders to create the game environment in MinecraftEdu,
- an Advertiser to develop promotional materials and manage our online game information hub during the MOOC,
- Lesson Planners to develop the student objectives and tasks in the game, based on our chosen standards,
- Liaisons to create an orientation packet and communicate with teachers about the game, and
- Game Supporters to provide tech support for teachers, provide resource guides and tutorials about running the MinecraftEdu game and will help troubleshoot issues during the MOOC.
Here are some next steps that we need to address:
- MOOC LOGISTICS: stay organized and focused
- Meet weekly to report on progress, discuss tasks and obstacles, set priorities and deadlines, and identify tasks to be completed by the next meeting.
- Finalize dates for the MOOC
- Build online information hub for students and teachers to access game materials and instructions, share their work, reflect on their learning, and access support documents.
- Create and distribute promotional materials
- Setup a registration process for teachers
- Outline technical considerations and support teachers to assess their tech capabilities and needs that can be addressed in advance
- DESIGN DOCUMENT: outline our process and our assumptions and expectations; everyone should review and comment (use our shared folder and planning doc as a living document)
- Overview of game, clarify our overall our goals and objectives
- Explain our concept and summarize the activities that take place during the game
- Articulate tasks and roles for team members
- GAME DESIGN: crystallize our goals and objectives
- Finalize our concept and create the storyline (student experience)
- Write student tasks and instructions based on standards and objectives
- Develop assessments before, during, and after the game
- Build game environments and elements, consider the game flow
- Test game environments and elements using student tasks & instructions
- Is our game playable? Is it educational? Does it reflect our goals, standards, and objectives? Is it achievable or realistic within our time frame?
- INFORMATION PACKET: create and compile documents
- Welcome Letter to teachers (and students) introducing the game concept, our team, and outlining the MOOC schedule
- Tutorials and Guides for teachers and students – need to reflect skills that will be needed in the game
Kapp, K. M. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction : Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.