At the 2012 Ann Ferren Teaching Conference I put together a workshop to explain a new word that had been popping up all over the business world: Gamification.  It’s not a presentation so it’s a bit difficult to capture exactly what happened in the workshop.  I’ll try to outline everything here and provide a feel for what exactly happened that day.  I always try to practice what I preach, so it wasn’t enough to just talk about Gamification in a bullet-by-bullet PowerPoint.  So instead I designed a game for the faculty at AU to come, play, and explore.

First when the attendees arrived I gave them a 1 question personality test to determine their role in their groups.  It simply started with “Do you prefer…?”

Based on their answers, they could read the back side of their “Role Card” and begin the game.  Most faculty simply took their card and shuffled off to a seat expecting yet another snoozing presentation.  That was when I went completely mad and (with the dramatic vocal support of a gamey librarian) announced they storyline:

Now that the scene was set.  I played a fun video to get everyone in the mood for a game and posted the rules on the board with the PowerPoint:

With the rules clearly posted on the board and my handy Online-stopwatch we proceeded to pull the chairs away and ask everyone to move around and start playing.  With a little help, all of the groups were quickly formed and the players proceeded to their stations.  At each station one of my librarian game-masters provided each group with one of several quest cards:

Each quest provided one small fact or quote along with a set of instructions on how to explore that idea and apply it to their teaching.  There were a total of 4 “stations” for the groups to explore and after 3 rounds where each group explored one concept or idea before moving on to the FINAL BATTLE.  The last quest at each station was essentially the same for each station.  Review all of the findings for each topic and explain it to the rest of the group.  After tallying the scores one of the “factions” is declared a winner and we are all rewarded with an accompanying video.  With more time we would have discussed the applications and implications of each of the 4 stations and talked about how to bring it all together in their teaching.  But with over 50 active participants, it was a great way to get them interested enough in the topic to go find additional resources on their own.


About Meghan Foster

Instructional Technologist at American University and proud sci-fi, gadget, gamer, and pedagogy geek.

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