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Event: Boston CanvasCon 2015 (http://www.bostoncanvascon.org/)
Title: Game-based Learning in Canvas
Description: Among rising trends in the edtech space, "gamification" has emerged as a popular approach to increase engagement and enthusiasm for learning. In this session we'll look at a few examples of game-based learning design in Canvas to explore features and functions that support gamification.
- Showcase Canvas features that work well for self-directed learning approach to course design
- Share examples of gamification in Canvas
- Connect game-based learning design to Canvas interoperability (intro Credly, show Minecraft LTI)
- What do we mean by "gamification"? Define it for this session, this group
- What could gamification be? Why are we talking about it in higher ed, K12?
- How Canvas can be used for this type of course design
- Leveraging Canvas and the Canvas Community to more on game-based learning design
Title: Game-based Learning in Canvas Description: Among rising trends in the edtech space, "gamification" has emerged as a popular approach to increase engagement and enthusiasm for learning. In this session we'll look at a few examples of game-based learning design in Canvas to explore features and functions that support gamification.
Objectives: - Showcase Canvas features that work well for self-directed learning approach to course design - Share examples of gamification in Canvas - Connect game-based learning design to Canvas interoperability (intro Credly, show Minecraft LTI)
Topics: - What do we mean by "gamification"? Define it for this session, this group - What could gamification be? Why are we talking about it in higher ed, K12? - How can Canvas be used for this type of course design? (Minecraft, Suffolk, Strain) - Leveraging Canvas and the Canvas Community to more on game-based learning design
Let’s first look at the world of games.
Minecraft, one of the more popular video games today, has no instructions. Players learn by exploring and whacking things first with their hand and then, if they try whacking a tree repeatedly it breaks apart. Then they learn they can break trees and rocks and make things like sticks and flint. With flint and sticks they can make tools. Sounds very caveman-like. But its all digital, on little devices that kids like. So they like Minecraft, because they can whack things and break things. But they also like it because they can create things. And creating things is cool.
The 21st century skills pushed in education and sought by employers - include critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. Minecraft taps into those skills and helps players develop those skills. Most games tap into these skills. Maybe not Hungry Hungry Hippos, but most games, especially multiplayer games, foster creativity, critical thinking and problem solving
Behold, the Google Search result for Gamification.
Gamification means taking game elements and applying them to things that are not, or were not, originally designed as games.
This is not simply playing games during classtime, or replacing math worksheets with interactive math games. I
t might help to think of “gamification” as game design, and focus on the design aspect of it.
Let’s look at both ends of the game design spectrum.
On one end of the spectrum we have low-level game design, like follower and tweet count in Twitter.
The makers of Twitter intentionally revealed this information as part of user profiles because they knew people cared what other people think of them. And they knew people want others to think they are good at doing twitter because if they think they are good at it, they might keep doing it.
Follower count and number of tweets could indicate mastery (or lack thereof, if counts are low). This was an intentional use of game design in social media, to get people to tweet more and to tweet things that would be interesting to other people in order to attract more followers.
Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ stats are all aggregated by a platform called Klout. Klout claims to measure someone’s influence based on an individual’s social media activity.
They designed their platform with game elements to motivate users. Positive icons, up arrows, stars and points, or scores are displayed to show, or simulate, levels of success. This design taps into the user’s desire to be recognized for what they do which may motivate them to do more.
Geo-location apps also use game design. It’s pretty low level game design because it’s just acknowledging things we’re doing anyway, like going to Starbucks and visiting parks or museums.
There is no additional value in checking in and getting a badge in Foursquare, the park is still the same park. Maybe we feel like we accomplished something, but we really haven’t accomplished anything by checking in. But we earned a badge for it!
Badges are popular in the same space as gamification. People are looking at badges as ways to recognize achievements and mark milestones along the user experience timeline.
Again, this is low-level game design, in Foursquare. We’re doing these activities anyway, we’re just adding this extra layer of activity - the check-in- using our phones. It’s not super meaningful and it’s not adding anything to the experience of being at the park or at the museum.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is high level game design.
Jane McGonigal is a game designer and researcher. Jane has found that gamers exhibit specific behaviours or possess certain attitudes that make them unique because of their gaming.
Those characteristics include: Urgent optimism: Gamers always believe they can solve the problem at hand. There is no self-doubt. They don’t give up and walk away. They keep playing until they solve the problem. They do this because they believe the game is worth playing and the problems the game presents are worth solving. Gamers are really good at building relationships. When we sit down and play a game with someone, there is an agreement that everyone will play by the same rules and stick around until the game is over. Where else in life do we share such strong unspoken commitments with other human beings we don’t even know? Gaming brings people together in a unique way, centered around trust and focused on problem solving together. Productivity. Gamers are engaged in 3 billion hours of game play happening around the world each week. They are totally committed to this game play. Gamers love being busy solving problems in games. They spend the equivalent of a part time job (20 hours each week) on play that is using critical thinking and social skills to solve problems. Jane McGonigal believes this is because we humans are happier in a state of productivity, using our brains, not just sitting around relaxing.
McGonigal believes gamers are well suited to change the world because they already believe they can, and because they do it everyday in virtual worlds. And she believes that if this commitment, collaboration and productivity can be applied to real word problems, like the energy crisis, then games can solve some pretty important problems. She has been building socially conscious games since 2007 hoping to tap into game play to solve real problems.
Games have been around since ancient times. Game play has forever given human beings an opportunity to come together, use their brains and feel good about solving problems.
In game play, someone maybe really good at one game, offering advice to other players on how to move pieces or critiquing the someone else’s game play. “Why did you you move your piece there? If you have moved it here instead you could have won!”
That same person may be less good at another game and feel compelled to explain or defend a move or rationalize a loss. “I did not know about the rule of three stones. Had I known I would have made a different move! Next time I will use that rule in my play.”
Human beings have an inherent desire to be good at things. They are inherently enjoy learning. What they may not like is being punished for doing things wrong - which is what happens in school sometimes - but in gaming it’s OK to make mistakes and OK to ask for help, because you can restart the game, you can start over, you cna keep playing.
Photo: Ceramic figures placed in a tomb in China (4th century BC)
Here’s a bunch of guys playing backgammon in Greece. Backgammon is a two player game. We have these other guys standing around watching, participating. There are watching, learning, strategizing, maybe demonstrating their own expertise by offering up advice to the players, or bragging about games they’ve won in the past.
This is what we want to see in our classrooms. This level of engagement and sharing and talking about what is being learned, how it’s being learned, and how that knowledge is applied, and what the outcomes are.
One game element that does not exist in some classroom learning is variation. Often students are exposed to information one way, and for a limited amount of time. In games, the experience is always different. The roll of the dice changes the options. Playing the same game against different opponents changes the game. They have different levels of skill or different strategies to use and we have to counter those changes by changing our strategy. It would be amazing to see what would happen if students could vary their learning experience, and get increasing levels of difficulty in their learning to the same degree they increased levels of game play.
Game play is an excellent example of experiential learning, the “see one/do one/teach one” methodology often associated with apprenticeships and skills-based education like medical education.
Showing students how to do something, then letting them try to do it themselves is a big part of the tradition of teaching.
It’s harder to teach critical thinking. It’s harder to teach problem solving.
Games create an opportunity to develop critical thinking and exercise problem solving skills (exception: Hungry Hungry Hippos).
Players have to think before they act: Should I take two cards or three? They need to speculate based on the information they have in the situational environment: Should I place my pieces on the board now or wait until next turn in case someone else has a card I need? Players must strategize: There's a lot of blue cards left; one is picking up the blue ones; maybe I can get ahead by collecting blue since no one else is collecting them.
These concepts are one of the drivers behind a surge of interest in game-based learning design.
So let’s take a look at game design in Canvas.
Robbie Collett started blogging about using Canvas in his middle school computer science and media arts teachers.
In this post, from 2013, he talks about different game elements he used to “gamify” his lessons.
This is a direct quote from Robbie’s blog and it pretty much sums up a great way to add a single game element into a Canvas course.
If game mechanics include allowing players to move through the world at their own pace, and figure out on their own, how to do things, and learn as they go, Canvas Assignment Groups can create that type of experience.
Instead of creating one assignment to collect work that shows student mastery of one concept, Robbie suggests creating multiple assignments and allowing students the option to choose the Assignment they want to do to demonstrate mastery, and learn by doing.
Canvas Assignment groups have “Grading Rules”, you can set the Group to drop the lowest scores making grading simpler. And when you go into Speedgrader to score the assignments you’re scoring only what they submitted and because of the grading rule, you don’t have to worry about unsubmitted assignments,
This is one simple way to add game design to give students more opportunities to interact with new information and apply it in a meaningful way.
History of Boston is a course running on Canvas Network - you can sign up today and start playing right away and explore their course design. Canvas.net
The course uses Modules in Canvas ot organize content into themes or topics. Students can choose the Module they want to work on.
The course blends pre-existing content and custom content for a variety of learning resources and a varied learning experience.
Every Module is a little different, but has enough recurring tools to keep the design simple.
This tool is called History Pin (historypin.org) and its simply embedded into a Canvas page to allow users to take the virtual tours of Boston.
Side note: I can see how the course be used by a classroom teacher preparing for a Boston field trip, or a regional trip to a local historical place. Just by taking this course, students can learn how to appreciate local history by exploring landmarks in person and investigating online. Imagine a high school history teacher having their class enroll in this MOOC then build projects based on this design (a scavenger hunt) for a landmark in their city, town or state. Imagine then if the class posted their resources as a collection on HistoryPin.org. Pretty cool.
In each Module there are one or two quizzes that are set up like scavenger hunts. Students can attempt the quiz anytime and they have multiple attempts so they can go back and revisit the content to relearn concepts if they want. Basically, they can restart the game if they need to.
Note: The course designer added instructions to each Quiz that informed the student what to do and what to expect. Not assuming students would complete every module nor assuming they would do them in a specific sequence, having instructions for each activity helps learners along the way, no matter what way they chose.
At the end of each Module the student got a code to unlock a digital badge. The whole series of badges was clever and smart; Suffolk did a really ice job with badges (wicked smart, chowderhead)
These examples showcase providing different pathways for students to engage in the content and learn along the way.
Robbie Collett’s idea of using Assignment groups with multiple assignments; Suffolk’s use of quizzes and interactive content for a scavenger hunt experience allow students to have a unique and authentic learning experience.
Let’s take a look at a few more ideas.
This course examines the real-world science behind TV show themes of parasite biology, cyber security and epidemiology. Participants can do one, two or all three “strains” of learning.
This isn’t the first time we built a course around a TV show.
One of the lessons we learned from “The Walking Dead MOOC” was that sandwiching harder to learn concepts within more tempting content helps students try it. (Like mom grinding up an aspirin and mixing it in with applesauce. Mmm, yummy.)
In the Walking Dead course, students told us they planned to skip the math or physics stuff but ended up trying because it was related to the show and because they wanted all 8 badges. Some said they never were very good at math and were surprised (and proud of themselves) that they could do it.
Giving them choices gives students a sense of control. Giving them options to approach the content when they want is helpful, too. Doing “easier” work might give them the confidence they need to try something new. Having some sort of reward helps, too, especially if it’s a series (humans like to collect all the things).
The Strain course applies this principle in a slightly different way. This time UC-Irvine design the course expecting some people to skip some units or modules of content. They present the three strains and hope students will complete at least one.
For further experimentation, UCI is using Zaption to better connect lecture material to the clips from the show.
Zaption lets the designer weave the lecture material into the studio clip. Vimeo and YouTube clips can be combined in the same “tour” using Zaption. Zaption also allows the designer or instructor to overlay text onto the video, add selfcheck or quiz questions to the video, or a discussion prompt.
Zaption is LTI compliant; you can find Zaption and learn more about it in the EduAppCenter or learn more at zaption.com
The Strain course uses Module progressions with Requirements to issue Badges for Strain completion.
Froma design research perspective, UI assumes students will complete at least one of the three and hopes students complete all three strains.
Each “Strain” of learning has three parts. Each part has a quiz. When a student completes all three quizzes in a strain, they unlock a badge. If they complete all three strains, they can earn a “super badge”.
Credly is used to deliver badges. The Badge module unlocks a badge “claim code” which the student can use to claim their code in Credly.
In this example, the game mechanics are choice and reward. The content is presented in a somewhat linear fashion, but the student has choices of how much they want to do. And they get badges for solving the problems they try to solve.
In this example we saw Zaption at work. Zaption is not necessarily a game element, but it compliment the game-based design. So what else can we do?
Note: This is Ida, the character in Monument Valley, Monument Valley is one of my favorite games because of its innovative designs. If we could design learning platforms, it would be amazing.
Game-based learning design is bound by the technology we have at our disposal.
But we can’t discount the creativity of educators and designers like us here in the room today. We can learn from others and apply game concepts to our courses. we can explore new tools that help us create new worlds.
Canvas is flexible enough to provide a platform for experimentation. The core functionality of Canvas provides the foundation for innovation and experimentation.
Sp, what else is happening and what are the possibilities?
Our first Minecraft MOOC, Getting Started with MinecraftEDU, was designed to introduce teachers to using the game as an educational tool and provides help for teaching to create lesson plans using Minecraft.
There were several home school parents enrolled and it was interesting to compare their experience to the regular classroom teachers. As you might suspect, home school parents had more freedom to explore this area and play with game design in their lessons. But the lesson plan ideas were similar across all participants. Even the ideas for teaching languages were agreed upon by both groups - language learning! in Minecraft? yeah. Really. It shows how creativity can transcend technology.
One of our engineers developed this LTI tool last summer, for fun, as part of one of the regular “hack weeks” that we have. The Minecraft LTI tool is readily available int eh EduAppCenter.
Instead of separating out the game from the learning or the game from the assessment, this LTI tool allows students to submit assignment from Minecraft to Canvas, and allows teachers to access that assignment from Canvas and port over to that location in Minecraft. Crazy cool!
We’ll want to see more meaningful integrations between actual game play and game-based learning design. Rather than just use games and say hooray, it is possible to actually connect the game worlds to the classroom tools for better experiences. Canvas API provides some of the resources - the rest is up to, well, anyone who has an idea and some programming skills or resources. This is the kind of stuff we love to see.
UC Berkeley has been developing game-based learning LTI tools. They showcased two of them at Instructurecon this year. When the session videos are published on the CanvasLMS YouTube channel you’ll be able to learn about what Berkeley has done. You can connect with the Berkeley team via the Canvas Community.
One of the LTI tools is a leaderboard that displays student scores from a visual media gallery that allows student to vote on each other’s work. It’s a visual peer review activity. The LTI is elegant in design - it really loosk seamless in Canvas. The experience is seamless for both the student and the teachers.
This is what is possible with Canvas and your creativity.
Join the Canvas Community Instructional Designers group - Gerol Petruzella from Mass College of Liberal Arts has launched a conversation about gamification and Canvas. Ask questions, kick around ideas, share your stories. Be social, learn from each other. See one, do one, teach one.
Canvas LIVE! is a free weekly webinar series hosted by the Canvas Community team. Last year they invited several Canvas users to a panel session about gamifying Canvas. Simply modifications like referring to “Assignments” as “Challenges” and referring to students as “agents” or “recruits” in a spy-themed course altered the experience of learning in the course.
In the panel session, one of the instructor designers, Travis Thurston, explained how he used the Quiz Access Code as an “Easter Egg” in the course. He had a quiz available that students could complete to earn “experience points”, but in order to access the quiz they needed the access code which he had hidden somewhere in the course. This was a brilliant and clever use of a function in Canvas for something completely different than its intended purpose.
And that is exactly what game-based learning design is all about. Using game mechanics in a non-game experience.
Badging is a big part of gamification. While not entirely necessary for the teaching or learning, badges serve as a reward - a motivator for learning.
Canvas and Credly have partnered with a major university to develop an LTI integration for issuing badges.
We aim to go beyond simply awarding a badge for submitting a quiz and earning a certain score on a quiz.
The working partnership between Credly, Instructure and the university ensure we’re doing something technically that makes sense pedagogically.
We expect the LTI will be ready this fall.
So here we are. We know what game-design include - the motivation, the choices for students, the opportunities for students to restart the game and have continuous play.
We know Canvas has built in features that give you ways to add game mechanics to your courses, and the open API and LTI capability allow you to plug in external tools like HistoryPin or Zaption, or built your own tools like Minecraft LTI or the Leaderboard Berkeley built.
So the question is - what will you do? Are you ready, player one?
Game-based Learning Design with CanvasLMS
Game-based Learning Design
Sr Manager Instructional Design & Development
Like modules, assignment groups may appear
to be a simple way to organize your digital
assignments. However, you can add "Grading
Rules" in order to give students more choice
in what work they do.
For example, you could create 10 assignment
options, and tell students they must choose
5 of them. Simply have it drop the lowest 5
scores and you're set. If there are certain
assignments in that group that they must
complete, add the rule to never drop it.”
Collet, R. (2013.) Why I Intend to Switch to Canvas (with Bonus Gamification Ideas!) Design in Tech.
[blog]. Retreived from http://designinteched.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/why-i-intend-to-switch-to-canvas-
Lieberman, M. (2010). Four ways to teach with video games. Currents in Electronic Literacy.
McGonigal, J. (2010). Gaming Can Make a Better World. TED.
Trybus, J. (2009). Game-based learning: What it is, why it works, and where it's going.
Voss, J. (2014). Suffolk University Offers Free Online History of Boston Class Utilizing Historypin.