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Instructional Design  - 
 
 
People willingly play games they've played thousands of times before. No one chooses to relearn things they've already learned.

This is one of the reasons that more and more educators are looking at integrating games into their instruction. The fine people over at the Institute of Play, a not-for-profit design studio out of NYC which pairs educators with game designers, are taking it one step further: they are turning curriculum into games. Their site is an amazing wealth of inspiration - I highly suggest spending some professional time, alone or with partners, exploring their work.

The designers at the Institute have put out a fantastic step-by-step guide to presenting your curriculum as a game. This PDF will take you from concept to finished product, from what they call "Mission Prep" to "Mission Reflection." There are specific tracks for teachers/curriculum designers, administration and "curious individuals." If you've ever wanted to give a unit or lesson a new feel or approach, it might just be time. (PDF link: http://playmakers.instituteofplay.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Quest_Curriculum_Design_Pack.pdf )

When many teachers hear about the "gamification" of education (the integration of games into classroom curricular work), they think of modern video games and all of the negative stigmas that come with them. Of course, games have been around for at least as long as humans have been recording history, far predating any computer or gaming console - and also predating any form of formal schooling. 

Games have a number of features that have real benefits, but are difficult to implement in traditional learning models:

Games are inherently social.
The vast majority of games are multiplayer and even single player games have their strategies shared and talked about. Players require skills in both competition and collaboration, and often share their strategies with others outside of the time spent playing the game. Unlike the solo work often done in a classroom, success often relies upon teamwork.

Games provide constant formative feedback.
A player instantly knows if she defeats the monster or gains a level. There is no waiting for grading or report cards.

Games attract and retain interest by frequently rewarding players.
The rewards are intrinsically meaningful to the context. Points are nice, but as motivation they pale in comparison to food or medicine that a character needs to survive, or land and riches from which other necessities may be procured later on. By contrast, the importance of grades comes from an external value placed upon them by some "other." Learning itself is not dependent on GPA.

Games engage by forcing the player to make meaningful decisions.
The best games are not linear. Instead, there are multiple ways to achieve a goal.  A player must choose the path taken and tools used that are best suited to her own approach at the quest. They are not prescribed by someone else, but instead chosen by the player. If failure occurs, it is up to the player to analyze the situation and decide on a course of action.

Games encourage learning and improvement by offering many chances to try again.
Even death is rarely the end in a game - one can always play the game again. The goals are completion-sensitive, not time-sensitive. Movement forward is not defined by testing dates or term endings, but by acquisition and improvement of skills.

Lastly, it is important to note that transforming your teaching of your curriculum - even a little bit of it - into a game does require some extra time and effort at the outset. What many educators find, though, is that this time is gained back later (e.g. when not spending all that time grading traditional work) and the effort is returned many times over by the engagement, and learning, of the students. So go ahead, give it a try! Start small, grow your gamification slowly, and please let me know of your experiences in the comments.

P.S. Awesome fact: the Latin word for "school," ludus, also means "game." True story.
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Kimberly Hayworth's profile photoDonna Murdoch's profile photo
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Institute of play is a fantastic effort!  Thanks for posting - great article.
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COELS
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Online Learning  - 
 
Shared Learning Collaborative

In this video, learn about the technology that the Shared Learning Collaborative is building and what it could mean for schools, teachers and students to personalize learning.

Find out more at http://www.slcedu.org
Follow the SLC on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SLCedu
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Learning Registry  - 
 
SLI, LR and LRMI

Shared Learning Infrastructure
Learning Registry
Learning Resources Metadata Initiative

https://www.edsurge.com/n/potent-alphabet-soup-how-sli-lr-and-lrmi-will-shape-education-technology-content
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Discussion  - 
 
 
Learning Registry

Listen to this discussion of the Learning Registry, an initiative of several U.S. government agencies to make federal learning resources and primary source materials easier to find, access and integrate into educational environments. The webinar features Steve Midgley, U.S. Department of Education Deputy Director of Education Technology, who is leading this collaboration. Topics include the innovative models being developed, the related technical and interoperability standard, alignment with OER models, the progress made and desired outcomes, and the related opportunities (and challenges) for SIIA members and their product and business models.
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A very helpful diagram I thought! (via +Laura Gibbs )

Understanding Collaboration and Cooperation in the workplace via the Internet Time Alliance (See: http://internettimealliance.com)
 
The diagram I'll share: the Coherent Organization.
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Resources  - 
 
COELS - Designing a New Learning Environment

Please visit our COELS team project site.
home | dnlecoels

We'd love your input and feedback. 
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Learning Registry  - 
 
Learning Registry Overview
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And here's a follow-up to that previous chart! From tame to... WICKED.
 
Wow, more great stuff here - thanks to +Paul Simbeck-Hampson for this great follow-up - http://www.internettime.com/2012/07/the-coherent-organization/ - to the Internet Time Alliance chart he just shared earlier. My workplace is tame........ I want it to be WICKED. :-)
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COELS
Cohesive Open Educational Learning System
COELS
Cohesive Open Educational Learning System (COELS)
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COELS is a project for Stanford's Designing a New Learning Environment course, Fall 2012.
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Cohesive Open Educational Learning System (COELS)

COELS is a set of strategies and tools for creating and sharing learning experiences, content and resources. 

Your questions, comments and contributions are welcome. 
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