Final Project Fun–Week 10

Matera suggests that we “embrace the freedoms within playful planning and put no anchors on the possibilities that take shape” when developing gamification in our classes (2013, loc. 1001).  Matera makes the process sound so fun and I want the process to be fun. Let’s make this project useful, worthwhile and fun–or at least not painful.

Let’s consider Matera’s explorer theme. Instead of a rubric, let’s have a treasure map. Let’s use Matera’s routes (see chapters 6-9) instead of columns and rows. Let me be a renegade pirate teacher looking for places to incorporate (or hide) my gamified treasure in my island classroom. I’m excited about gamification, I want to incorporate gamification in my classroom. I’m a teacher with years of experience. The elements of the rubric are important, but rubrics aren’t fun. Let me create my own path and I’ll have something worthwhile that I can and will use.

If we do use the rubric in some rendition of its current form I have concerns about trying to focus on too many elements and being detailed where I need to be flexible.

After (my rather tangential) reading this week, I’ve been pondering the importance of stories in games and presentations. Duarte asserted, “stories are the most powerful delivery tool for information, more powerful and enduring than any other art form” (2010, p. 16). Stories stick with us, that’s why games need stories, context and themes. This applies to our rubric as some elements may be more important than others and may need to be considered first. Matera’s first route focuses on the story elements and of course the learning objectives are paramount.

Currently, for my own plan, I have a clear purpose and learning objectives, I’ll need to develop a storyline, and add some mechanics  and mini-games so that students are engaged. I’m not sure how to articulate my ideas surrounding feedback, risk-taking and skill mastery, but feedback and skill-mastery are inherent to how I teach, not necessarily gamification.

Needs improvement Meets
1. Clear purpose that correlates with multiple learning objectives standards pertaining to coursework (20) The game does not relate more than superficially to the objectives or goals. The game correlates with multiple learning objectives, requiring only basic understanding of required skills. The game requires deep understanding of multiple learning objectives and provides opportunities to demonstrate higher level thinking.
2. Narrative Context/Storyline (20) Storyline is basic and does not “thread through” all of the game play. The context or storyline is apparent and continues throughout the game but there are limited opportunities to increase understanding of them. Provides opportunity for the player to explore other avenues of learning/adventure. Allows the player to deepen knowledge about various aspects of the game and naturally develops a deeper understanding of the context or storyline.
3. Well-organized, risk oriented problem solving (20) The game does not have well-organized problems. The problems require only basic recall and do not involve taking a risk; the problems do not increase in difficulty. Has multiple opportunities to problem solve at varying levels of abstraction. This may include (but is not limited to): puzzles, decisions with consequences reflecting those choices (i.e. involves risk taking); or playing out scenarios. The user should come away from the experience able to easily discuss with others using interpretation, meta-cognition, logic and other elements of critical thinking. Problem solving opportunities are recursive and transformative. The player is able to finish the game with an added skill set or transformed world-view. The user is able to create their own environment and scenarios that can be shared with other users. Users elicit their own discussion about the gaming experience.
4. Engaging and Motivating (20) Game does not offer sufficient engagement for players. Game play is either too easy or too difficult. The game involves activities that lack enjoyable elements. Game offers sufficient engagement for the players. Game play varies in difficulty and activity. The game has many fun elements that engage a wide range of players. The game is so engaging it is difficult to stop playing. The games learning environment offers an ideal mix of fun and challenging material. The game provides and excellent risk/reward system.
5. Interactivity (Collaboration): students are able to interact with other and the game (20) There is little or no interaction between players or between players and the game. Interaction with other players and with the game is occasionally encouraged, but may not play a significant role in game play. Interaction with others and/or with the game occurs regularly during game play. Collaboration is encouraged and allows the player to progress in the game while receiving support from other players and the game.
6. Skill scaffolding and mastery (20) Game is either frustrating for novice users due to difficulty or it doesn’t provide enough challenge for experienced users. Different levels/stages of game play are poorly related. Different levels of the game build upon prior learned skills. Initial game play may be difficult but rewards are attainable. The level of challenge provided by the game and player ability converge quickly. The difficulty level and pace of the game adapt to the player. Different levels of the game build upon prior learned skills.
7. Encouragement and Feedback (20) Feedback is not specific and does not happen in a timely manner. Feedback is provided less than 25% of the time. Feedback is somewhat timely and moderately specific; feedback doesn’t always help the player learn from his/her mistakes. Feedback may only occur 25-60% of the time. Feedback is immediate and specific, offering support for the player at least 60% of the time, allowing the player to learn from his/her mistakes.
8. Utility (20) Game play takes large allotments of time for instruction. Game play is too difficult for the user to understand. Game play is simple and easy to understand with little administrative guidance. Game play is simple enough to allow for user modification for creative purposes or customization, such as adding an avatar. Game play is intuitive and requires little or no administrative guidance for use. Game play encourages modification and customization, allowing for imagination and ingenuity. Examples might include: creating an avatar or some design elements like building/creating a home.


Duarte, N. (2010). Resonate: Present visual stories that transform audiences. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey.

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.

Zichermann, G. & Linder, J. (2013). The gamification revolution: how leaders leverage game mechanics to crush the competition. New York, NY, McGraw-Hill.

5 thoughts on “Final Project Fun–Week 10

  1. You wrote: “If we do use the rubric in some rendition of its current form I have concerns about trying to focus on too many elements and being detailed where I need to be flexible.” I agree with you. This week as I looked at the rubric I became concerned, because I feel implementing gamifiaction is a process and how can I prove I have met/exceeded that goal with out time to fine tune and tweak my goal?


  2. Heather,

    It is certainly a tempting focus to think of this “final project” as something that needs many details. I considered this as I started to write a draft. This project can get very big, very fast. Maybe the rubric needs to have more generalized alternative statements—the details are helpful in many ways, but if we are also permitted to follow each section of that rubric in more general terms, we will have a framework with some details.

    I do remember stories being the favorite part of one of my college classes. One teacher introduced many classes with a related story as an example to draw in in and prepare us for the following topic. My concern is that while developing a storyline, I am spending much, much time trying to pull every aspect of the gamified classroom environment together—almost as if I am writing a novelette for the class.


  3. I really think that stories are great for social studies or language arts units, but they don’t go well for math. Sounds like people are split between developing stories or leaving them out. I was really excited to see a video interview with Lee and a Alice Keeler, a former math teacher, but currently a teacher preparation instructor at a university. When she described gamification, she didn’t mention, or emphasize story/narrative. She asked people that wanted to gamify their class to really think about games they like to play, and focus on what specifically makes them want to play, and put those elements in gamification. For me, story is definitely NOT one of them! If people want them, great, but it shouldn’t be a requirement for all.


    1. Hi Gerald,
      Story doesn’t have to be the way we traditionally think of storylines. Maybe stories don’t go with math, but if we about connecting to our students’ experiences. (Prior knowledge!) I was math-phobic in high school. It made it hard to learn. Maybe if I had been distracted by another element I could have forgotten to be afraid. Adding elements that stretch us as teachers AND stretch our content could help students who struggle to connect.
      I know my first inclination is to teach as I like to learn and I take my favorite methods for granted. My students hate to read their textbook. They want videos. I LOVE my textbook–it’s SO self-explanatory…to me. I’ve begun telling stories about the particular content using videos. “This week we’re working for a snow plowing company and we’re going to use our database to find out who hasn’t paid their bill…” It’s not the great novel, but it provides context that the majority of my students miss.


  4. Heather- I thought there was many concepts as well and have the same concerns. This is very interesting what you say here, Duarte asserted, “stories are the most powerful delivery tool for information, more powerful and enduring than any other art form” (2010, p. 16). I think it is very important that we have a good story with our units so we can hook students right off the bat. I like the treasure map idea. I need to think of a story for my unit.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s