Gamify Literacy – Part 1

One of the greatest benefits of membership in ISTE is the professional development offered to members. The webinars and book studies are really pretty good if you are trying to keep up with the myriad of technology applications that are possible in education. Last week ISTE’s Literacy PLN started a book study on the book Gamify Literacy. I signed up for the book study a bit ago. The reading specialist in me was thinking what a great idea it was to marry gamification and literacy. I was preparing for a purely intellectual read – boy was I surprised.

I’ve only read the first couple of chapters and already my head is spinning. I have only dabbled in gamification so far, but I really understand the appeal. The book is written so that you can really walk through the activities from each teacher’s perspective. They align their activities to ISTE Standards for Students – which is great since they are new and still a bit foreign. Of course, my thoughts immediately turned to how I could put this into action and try it myself. Now that I am working with teachers virtually, it takes more work to try something out. I used to be able to march down the hall to a teacher that I knew would bite at the idea. I’d stand at the doorway throw out a little teaser and schedule an appointment so that I could make my pitch…

The cool thing is that I have a Book Study coming up soon. It’s a repeat exercise that I am going to try to refine, so the basic activities are already mapped out. I’m just going to have to add a gamification layer – if it’s even possible to just layer gamification on something. I have a feeling that by the time I add a backstory, challenges and quests – I’ll have something completely new. What I envision for this gamification exercise isn’t chocolate covered broccoli, but since my “students” are teachers I can’t go in too deep. For many, an immersive experience with a foreign setting would be uncomfortable. I’ve seen some of them work so hard at trying to “make sense” out of something that was supposed to be fun that they’ve stripped the engagement factor away and just become frustrated with the exercise. So I’m going to try something a little more familiar…I’m going to stage my game in college and make them graduating seniors. How does this sound for a storyline?

It’s your last semester at Savant U. You’ve really applied yourself over the last three and a half years. Most of your difficult classes are out of the way. One more class to take for your major and the rest of your classes are electives this semester – Pottery I, Public Speaking, and Introduction to Fitness. You can practically taste the food at your graduation reception.

The name of the class rarely tells you what the class is about and this last education class is no exception…It’s called: Integrating Technology in the Classroom. You walk into class on the first day of the semester, unsure of what you might find and look up to see Professor Ludd. There’s been some mistake – you think to yourself. He retired last year. There is no way that Professor Emeritus Ludd is teaching a class about technology. You try to be respectful as you confirm the name of the class with others who are arriving and find that you are indeed in the right room…

Still working it out…Comments welcome.