Course 5: The “Game” Plan

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Gamifying LIS Reads – LIS Lê is my Course 5 project. I’ve specifically decided to make it the gamification and not the technification of our year long reading program, because I want technology to be the tool supporting the goals, not the reason itself.

My Goals

  • Increase the number of students engaged in LIS Reads – LIS Lê
  • Deepen the connection to our school community by linking into the House Program
  • Increase the conversation around reading by offering students different ways to interact with the texts and each other
  • Break down the “walls” around the book club by bringing folks around the globe into our community
  • Develop student transliteracy skills by linking a traditional reading program with activities involving a wide variety of platforms, tools and medias
  • Develop life long readers

Photo by Flickr user Leo Reynolds under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Photo by Flickr user Leo Reynolds under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Here’s The Initial (Game) Plan

We’ll kick it off in February (and by that I mean this Wednesday, basically) by introducing our first challenge.  My tentative plan is to use February as my experimental month and then dive in deeply for March and April.   This means it may be a little less” techy” as I get the game entrenched in school culture with low barriers to entrance.
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First Week: Submit a picture of yourself with the book, signifying you are IN! (Thank you, Level up Book Club)
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Second week: submit your favorite quote from the book

Third week: points for each contribution to the online book club conversation (hopefully with another school!) – What are platform we going to use? Who’s going to talk to us?

Fourth Week: points for submitting questions for and then participating in our Skype/Online Twitter Chat/ Google+ Hangout with JCW and/or Anne C. Voorhoeve.
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Somewhere near the end of the month: Battle of the Books-style competition during Assembly or Lunch… it matters not. I am thinking we’ll use Socrative or another online “clicker” quiz kind of system. or MAYBE we could do it through the morning notices, allowing all classrooms to participate at the same time in different places. So many choices!
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What I’m going to work out…today and tomorrow
Points System: How will this points system actually work?  I’m meeting with our house coordinator, Fiona Tweedie, today during our professional learning day. We have a variety of house related activities throughout the year; this program can’t dominate all of the other programs.The
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Story: there just isn’t one.  Most of the game based learning literature I’ve read emphasizes the importance of a “Save-The-Princess” style story behind any educational game.  Well, every thing I’ve brainstormed has been contrived and silly.  So I’m sticking with good old fashioned competition between the red, blue, yellow and green houses.
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Badges: Will badges become a part of this crazy venture?  I hope so, but I have to see first how the beginning bits work out. If there’s enthusiasm, I’d like to move to multiple challenges each week, each under a different theme and then completing three out of the four challenges from a specific theme in a month results in earning your badge. I feel like this is where I start turning it into more student centred game as opposed to a classic competition.

What I need

Photo by Flickr user Andres John under CC BY 2.0

Photo by Flickr user Andres John under CC BY 2.0

  • Examples of great online book clubs: The LevelUpBC was fantastic, and I am intimdated by their greatness.  Come On COETAIL, scare me with fabulosity.
  • Schools to connect with: I really want to have some interaction with other schools in February, March, April and May. Ready to break down some walls, try an online book clubs and make it happen? Tweet me, message me, send me an email: let’s make it happen!
  • Feedback: What do you think?

14 thoughts on “Course 5: The “Game” Plan

  1. Hi Katy,

    I’m really impressed by your courage to implement something like you described above. Great. Coming from the German public school system in which I grew up I have never experienced the house system myself. Is it motivating for the students? Is it a real competition? I’m wondering how motivating it is to get points for books and quotes … Just something which is difficult for me to imagine. Does it make sense? Maybe I misunderstood something? The questions will be about any book? Maybe my confusion is due to the fact that I have never experienced an online book club neither. So … I’m very curious how everything will develop. Keep us updated.

    Reply
    • Hi Verena,

      Yes, you are hitting on some of the things that are making me nervous. Very nervous. So, the house system is fairly new at our school. Started about two years ago or so, it divides our school into four different communities and occasionally pits them against one another in fun activities. Our house leader approached me soon after I arrived at LIS in August of 2012 and wanted me to do something library related with the house system. Her idea was related to number of books or pages read, but that seemed insufficient, hard to validate and motivating for the wrong reasons for me. So this has been in the mental works for a while now.

      Yes, they are motivated by the house competition so far, but it’s not part of the everyday culture of the school yet. I am hoping that this will help to make it more present in the everyday culture of the school as opposed to a series of one-off events that only happen on individual “special” days.

      As far as the quiz questions go, the questions will be about each month’s books. For example, February is “Where Things Come Back” and “My Family for the War”.

      The thing is, motivation for an online book club HAS to come from the participant. I was really involved in the LevelUpBC until I lost interest…And I know I have interested readers. The key is to get them interested in this NEXT level of participation.

      So, thank you for your questions. They are helping me to work through these details.

      Obrigada,
      Katy

      Reply
  2. Like it! Coming along well. What about your “Save the Princess” be something the house gets? Something they get to save….like the house mascot or something like that? Just a thought.

    Reply
    • Jeff!

      That’s a great idea. And you couldn’t have know it, but our houses just had a day in December where they developed chants and chose mascots! So they could be competing throughout the year to see who earns a giant stuffed version of their chosen mascot…

      Good thinking!

      Thanks,
      Katy

      Reply
    • Hi vivian,

      Yes, I am going to check this out. I had read a little bit about the 3d game lab, and I think it will be very helpful for the March portion of our LIS Reads competition. We’re going to move toward a wider variety of possible tasks then, and I think it would be impossible for me to manage completely on paper. So here goes!

      Thank you for the comment and the link.

      Have a great day,
      Katy

      Reply
  3. How exciting! I do hope year 6 can be involved too!
    Mags

    Reply
    • Hi Mags,

      The game oriented part will be a secondary initiative only this year. We’ll see how it goes and perhaps we can expand it next year. Kerrie-Anne has a structure set up for the primary right now that’s working well for her age group. With the different books and themes per level, I don’t feel comfortable trying to pull it off for the whole school quite yet.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Have a great day,
      Katy

      Reply
  4. Hi Katy,

    I just looked into the Level up Book Club (https://levelupbc.blogspot.jp), and it’s great! Thank you for sharing. We do extensive reading in our school, and we ask them to turn in reading reports. Instead of having students turn in a favorite quote from a book, we ask students to summarize, rate the book, from one start to five stars, five stars meaning that the book was really engaging. They are also asked whether they would recommend this book to some other student and then to give a rationale for it (why or why not). They are also asked to select three difficult vocabulary words that they have acquired through the reading. Our students get “points” for the number of pages and the number of books that they have read for the semester. For example, they need to read four books and five hundred pages for the second semester. If they complete this task, they get 100 points, which is worth 15 % of their total grade. I wonder if instead of finding favorite quotes, such tasks can undergo ramification. I do know that the badge or point theory, though primitive and the carrot and the stick method, does work in that it motivates students. Though you probably know already, here is a great video on gamification:
    link to librarygamification.weebly.com. I am trying out gaming at my university and at my high school (the latter is more like an international school in that two-thirds of our students are returnees from all over the world). The first one is in Japanese, but it may give a glimpse of what kind of things are available here. Students practice such skills as pronunciation from a favorite movie by speaking to the screen (shadowing a few lines). They will take a quiz on the vocabulary of the subtitles; English Central is based on gaming theory. Here is the link: link to ja.englishcentral.com
    A final link that I can recommend is Inklewriter.link to inklestudios.com. Students can write their own twists to the plot with this tool in a game-like way. Enjoy!

    Reply
    • Hi Kayo,

      Thanks for dropping, sharing resources and giving feedback. That’s what Course 5 is all about! I am interested in what you all are doing at your school: is it through their language classes? I like the review portion of their response. I thought about giving credit for reviews, although because we are doing this through our LIS Reads program where the “whole school” (whoever wants to participate – it’s not required or graded) reads three books each month, I was afraid reviews about the same book would get boring. In the next several weeks, I am going to diversify what we do each week, so I’ll be interested to see what you think of some of the newer challenges.

      I LOVE the look of InkleWriter. Have you heard of Figment? Or how about NaNoWriMo? There are so many fascinating options out there for writing online.

      The EnglishCentral site looks cool, although my Japanese is nonexistent (I hope to change that someday!) so I could only get a cursory understanding. Have you heard of DuoLingo? I wonder if that’s something you could use with your students as well, although I don’t know if there’s an English language version.

      Thanks for stopping in,
      Katy

      Reply
  5. Great job on your project! I know it’s not easy to gamify anything, specially trying to add the technology bit in and having the kids getting pumped about that. I was quite impressed that you got two authors to talk to your students. What an experience! I”m sure they will never forget. I’m looking forward to hearing what you choose to do next year with LIS reads!

    Reply

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