At ISTE 2014, I was thrilled to share a critique of poorly implemented gamification through participating in my first IGNITE session – one of those 5 minute rants during which your slides progress automatically every 15 seconds. It’s a challenging thing to prepare for because time is precious and you can’t dawdle on any thoughts. In this case, it was further complicated by the fact that the slides were due 3 weeks before the presentation, and I wasn’t totally sure what I was going to say. Unsure of what to do, I decided to use a rhyming couplet structure to help guide my talk. I identified a “main idea” for each slide, made sure I put them into the right order for an argument, and then wrote a couplet for each idea. Here is the poem. Some day I’ll post the slides and record my voice over them. . .but not yet. Thanks for @magistrazee for snapping the pic and sharing about the Ignite session on twitter!
— Zee Ann Poerio (@magistrazee) July 2, 2014
1) The past few years gami-fied learning has gained some traction
Today I’m here to speak with you – represent a concerned faction
Though not a critic of the approach itself, poor implementation drives me nuts
I’ll argue to producify – show learning at its guts
2) So who’s this guy, speaking out, with a critical poem?
My name is Andrew, I taught 12 years, the classroom felt like ho-em
An ADE, GCT, now at BrainPOP I reside
I love to think ‘bout how kids learn, I share with anyone by my side.
3) Most everyone can agree that engagement of a learner
is the holy grail to educate – make knowledge that much firmer
Research shows that engagement solidifies knowledge in our brains
So it makes a lot of sense that teachers looks for best mechanisaims
4) One approach that works real well to engage is using games
well designed and thoughtful ones have practical learning aims
taking risks, failing fast and building a mind of growth
are meta skills, beyond content, that frequent players know most
5) The concept of gamification is not playing games to learn
its applying game like structures to non-game situations in turn
making an experience, like driving a hybrid car
into an energy saving game-like world, where braking makes you go far!
6) Game like structures have been applied to curriculum and schools
the most well known is Quest to Learn when gaming structures rule
Kids don’t “sit around playing video games all day!”
game structures are applied to curriculum in each and every way
7) Games and Learning go hand in hand because the concept of flow
that “ooh yeah” mental state where time and space disappears out the “doe”
When challenged just right, its human nature to feel just really great
a well designed educational game makes learning new things your fate
8) Many entry points to flow exist for human beings
the intrinsic motivation to learn is the educators perferred means
That inner drive to engage and learn just for learning sake.
Yet each learner’s intrinsic drive is different, arguing otherwise would be fake.
9) Another entry to flow can be extrinsic motivators
For student we use tickets, games, pizza parties – reward instigators
Though useful for many things - notably eliciting certain desired behaviors
depending on them solely can damage a child far far greater.
10) If means to flow is behaviorist we have a population that does not think
As skinner’s rats and pavlovs dog were conditioned in a blink
Frequent flyer, foursquare checkin, and discount loyalty cards
use these behaviorist notions to get you spending far
11) We humans are addicted to escape within state of flow
we leave our present state behind play, more, more, more, we go
In many cases this is great – fitbit, superbetter by McGonigal
yet gambling is based addictive games with destructive thoughtless pull.
12) Games as an end to themselves are fab for a short escape
and in some situations can motivate us to do things that are just great
but its scary how some games are designed to create addictions
the designers are such physchological wizards doctors begin to write prescriptions.
13) Learning is messy and not always direct to reaching a final goal
but the indirect incidental learning can be what we come to behold
the windy path is full of unintended learning and wonder thinking,
while the gaming path is a clear and straight the imagination is shrinking
14) It’s scary to see a learning badge for something like a “worksheet ninja”
a star “behavior” warrior or a click the right button “winna”
Jaron Lanier has written alot about not becoming a gadget
but gamifiying without useful objectives can be very problematic
15) Designing a decent learning game that learners consider “hard fun”
is complex and difficult to do – shouldn’t be left to anyone
Harder still is applying game elements to an educational experience
if behavior management is a learning objective – why are we here to do this?
16) But now that we’ve thought critically about gamifying life
Producing is a better option thats filled with a lot less strife.
be it a tweet, a wooden box or even a bunch of code
to produce instead of gamify assures we’re not in matrix mode
17) To gamify is great if the player produces a something of use
I say start with producify – assuring the objectives aren’t loose.
Making production a meaningful part of learning for a student
Provides engagement, useful curriculum and creative movement.
18) In my last poem verse, is the plea to producify
As you can probably tell by now this writing process was gamified
by adding a structure to these words and fit ideas into it
I’ve navigated space, with mechanics toward goals – a game like process though 2-bit
19 However the result is more than a game, there’s also a strong opinion
shared with you, dear ISTE crowd, go share it with your minion
regardless of whether you agree with my thoughts or think them overblown
you cannot argue that I did not producify – this ISTE ignite poem!