Games, Gamification, and the Need to Engage Learners

We’re so glad to have come across this informational slideshow from Karl Kapp!

In his presentation, Kapp explores how games make for engaging learning opportunities. Kapp provides a broad scientific overview of what is known from research about the effectiveness of game-related techniques for engaging learners.

This session explains ways to use the existing research literature in your own design and delivery of engaging online learning. It also provides tips and techniques for matching research findings to your own e-learning design.

Learn more about Karl Kapp here.

MOOC Fail!

A couple of months ago I enrolled in my first MOOC, the course was on Gamification. Interesting topic, one that we think about a lot at Zulama. I was hoping to:

  • gain new perspectives,
  • understand gamification from a more formal educational perspective, and
  • connect with other people to form a more cohesive personal learning network.

The video lectures were interesting enough, the quizzes were a good check to make sure I understood the content, but my first “fail” came as I was asked not only to write a short reflective essay, but also grade four or five others in order to receive a grade on mine. Very valid peer-review process, to be sure. I just wasn’t prepared for the sheer amount of work involved. And there was a haunting thought about whether others would give my work the time and reflection that I planned to give theirs.

I worked through that first assignment, in spite of some Coursera problems that made the process even more tedious.

As a full-time student who is able to budget the proper amount of time to such a course, I may have had a completely different experience. As a CEO running my own company, there are other, much more efficient ways to learn the same information.

The next reflective essay assignment was the brick wall that I just couldn’t find the time or energy to blast through.

Anyone have a similar experience? Disagree with me and think I should have stuck it out?

My first MOOC!

Today started my first day in Coursera’s Gamification MOOC, taught by Kevin Werbach, Associate Professor, The Wharton School, Univ. of Pennsylvania.

I watched the first 5 videos while multitasking, and still got all of the quiz questions correct. Not sure if that’s a reflection of my superior multitasking abilities 🙂 or my fairly extensive knowledge of the gamification even going into the course.

His videos are fairly well done, just about the right length. So far I haven’t been inspired to share or comment.

I have 5 more videos to watch before completing my first assignment. It’s a six-week course, I think it must be short to keep the dropout rate low!

Don’t know if any of my friends or colleagues are taking the course–maybe I missed some Facebook link, but I haven’t discovered how to find “others” yet.

Any helpful hints from other MOOC-ers out there!?

-Nikki Navta, President of Zulama

Zulama Student in the News!

A newsmaker you should know: Sophomore puts love of computer games to work

Thursday, February 02, 2012
By Kathleen Ganster

Like many students his age, Andrew Duerig, 16, loves to play computer games.

But the North Hills High School sophomore has taken his passion one step further and has started developing his own computer games.

In recognition for his efforts in computing programming and creating games, the Ross teenager recently was selected to receive the Zulama Online Video Game Academy Scholarship from Waterfront Learning.

The value of the scholarship, given all the coursework, projects and opportunities, is about $750 per student.

According to Andrew and Waterfront Learning’s website, he will study video game design and development by participating in an online “Games Through the Ages” course that started last month and runs through June.

This summer, he will attend a Game Design Studio Boot Camp at Carnegie Mellon University. In November, he will participate in the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference.

“I basically want to learn how to make better games and this will help me,” Andrew said.

Andrew has four years of programming experience already.

“I started when I was about 12 and started playing around with Flash. I had developed a pretty simple game when I was 13,” he said, explaining that Flash is a program that has many applications including game development.

In addition to learning on his own, Andrew has enrolled in digital design classes taught by teacher Rueben Clark at his high school.

Mr. Clark was impressed with Andrew as his student.

“I knew right away that Andrew was extremely talented in programming at a young age,” Mr. Clark said. “It is exciting to help him to continue to develop these skills.”

Next year, Mr. Clark plans on offering an advanced programming class.

“We developed this class for students exactly like Andrew, who are ready for the next programming challenge,” he said.

Andrew learned of the video game academy scholarship opportunity through Mr. Clark and was told by his guidance counselor that he had been chosen.

“I was pretty happy,” he said.

Andrew said Mr. Clark’s classes have helped him to identify and solve programming problems. “He has taught me to keep at something and figure out how to work though [programming errors].”

Andrew said he has created three games that he feels are “competition worthy” for other gamers and plans to create more, especially now that he will be participating in the Waterfront classes.

He plans to study computer programming in college, although not necessarily game development.

“I think this will help me and it will look good on my college applications,” said Andrew. “It is pretty cool.”

Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer:

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