Dream Big

Consider the Bartle types, but also consider the aspects of Purpose Driven Learning that Matera puts forth as you think about

how you currently use the language of learning in your class, and

how you would like learning to be discussed in your class. Dream big! After we envision some of these uses of language, we can think of ways that we might bring them into being more visibly in our classrooms. 

Purpose driven learning and the growth mindset make such good sense in the classroom (and parenting!). The exciting part of the research is that it reminds educators that we CAN make an impact.  Tierney (2014) makes an intriguing statement with regards to gamification and higher education:

“As educators, we have the authority to tell students to do assignments. We regularly hand out assignments with little to no aplomb, no mystery, and no sense of expectation or promise…As game designers, we cannot rely on the kind of compelled participation …we would quickly find ourselves without players…”

Perhaps we are a bit too comfortable with that authority of handing out assignments and would do better with some expectation of fun and mystery. I will be considering this thought and how I talk about learning in my classes, which is probably not explicit.

In moving away from player types, which I found a bit overwhelming, I appreciate Radoff’s 4 key components of game design: immersion, cooperation, achievement, competition (2011). This helps immensely when thinking about creating a gamified classroom, or even just a more interactive classroom. When we add in Gabe Zichermann’s SAPS model focusing on the elements of Status, Access, Power, and Stuff I begin to beleive that I can actually create a game-based class (Matera, 2015).


Matera, M. (2015). Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, Enrich, and Elevate Your Learners with Gamification and Game-inspired Course Design [E-Reader Version]. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting.

Radoff, J. (2011). Game On : Energize Your Business with Social Media Games. Hoboken, US: Wiley. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Tierney, W. G. (2014). Postsecondary Play : The Role of Games and Social Media in Higher Education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com



4 thoughts on “Dream Big

  1. I really like the quote you shared about homework and teacher’s just assigning things without any sort of mystery to them. Maybe the way we give students assignments could be something easy to change to get students more involved and turn our classrooms into student-centered learning environments.

    It does help to be reminded that we can make an impact, even if it is small. The kinds of things we are trying to do by gamifying go against pretty much everything the current education system uses. If we want to make a big change, we need to stick this through and keep on trucking. It’s going to be tough, but the more we share our newfound knowledge with other educators, the more change we will see.


  2. Heather,

    I am fully on board with the fact that we CAN make an impact on our students’ lives with the language that we use. I’ve heard firsthand from more than one student how the demeaning words of a teacher have turned them off of education completely, some even at very young ages (speaking to high schoolers reflecting on 1st and 2nd grade experiences). Conversely, I know so many students who find that one teacher, the who believes, who creates a lasting positive relationship, who shows the student what they are truly capable of, and the student is able to reach back and grab hold of that feeling and draw strength from it, even when the teacher is no longer in the classroom.

    I can related to Gerald’s comment above. I use a similar strategy with my fifth graders during math. Giving them a certain number of problems to choose from, but letting them have the power to pick the ones they want to tackle gives them ownership of the assignment, furthering their engagement in the lesson.

    Dream Big!



  3. One of the strategies that I use for my high school math classes is to not “assign” specific problems from a lesson for students to do. I don’t call it “homework” either. During my lesson, they are required to copy notes. I believe they benefit from this old school task. Other math teachers in our school provide hardcopy notes that are partially complete. After my lesson, we do “guided practice” problems together, and the assignment after that is “do at least 10 problems.” I believe it gives them some control because they are responsible for their learning and practice. It is possibe to complete those problems before the class period ends, and so it doesn’t become “homework.” I suppose there is an element of gamification in this procedure and I hope it helps students. I have done this for the past 4 years.


  4. Heather,

    I believe that my focus has been so much on asking myself where do I get a learning management system (LMS) or learning platform to use for gaming, that I was forgetting the most important part of the game for engaging learners; game elements. Creating an interactive classroom that is focused takes time as well. I know that one focus across our district has been to expect our students from primary level to start being less dependent on the teacher and more dependent on their bilingual pair (which is then sometimes put into groups of four). The structure for this starts to look like shared assignments and activities. This is a start.


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