Gamified: Engagement is good, creation is better.

December 28, 2012 — Leave a comment

Gamified? Mooc! Blended?? Flipped!!!

Ed Speak by Branzburg

(click to see larger image: The Innovative Educator)

Thanks to The Innovative Educator Lisa Nielsen ( follow her on Twitter @InnovativeEdu)  for sharing this graphic by Jeff Branzburg (follow him on Twitter @branzburg, Blogging at

These are the big words that we are tweeting about and considering on our 2012/2013 lists of reflection and forward gazing. Forward gazing, navel gazing, personal devices gazing: how ever and where ever you are looking, you can’t avoid thinking about gaming and learning.

Thanks to @edkidsplay of Educational Kids Play for asking for my thoughts along several other tweeps (@ZapplePi @Robitaille2011 @schmidtjake @barb_seaton @davidfifeVP @chriswejr @datruss @marshatkelly @Kate_TL @TCDSB_21C_AICT)

Mr. Pai Gaming in the Classroom You Tube Video

Here Mr. Pai uses several handheld devices, computers and laptops to engage his students in gaming activities to work on multiplication, math facts, converting fractions and some reading activities (not shown).  I think this is a great way to practise basic math facts, and possibly for some decoding and spelling.  This is especially valuable if the students are practising at their own level in small groups and Mr. Pai is able to conduct small group instruction and assessments.  However,  where is the making?

Mr. Pai is doing a super job of engaging kids with tools they love and are familiar with to achieve success in the classroom. I applaud his sincere and honest efforts to augment education into something engaging and focused on outcomes.  As far as I can tell, however, gaming in this sense falls down on the students’ ability to create content.  We must be making stuff.

Hats off to companies for making spelling and multiplication games. This no doubt eases the conscience of the parent buyer (you know, you can learn on it too). Using devices that motivate children and using devices students are familiar with as levers for learning is noble.  But I want to talk about big “L” learning. Yeah, Learning.  Learning where you make stuff. Learning for the 21st century where you critically consume, converse and hack your projects with innovation and creativity.  Let’s use these tools for allowing us to help kids make, create and innovate.  Let these kids know that they do not simply need to be consumers.  No, kids can up-down-shift-a-a-a (that’s my talk for managing a controller) to working these devices into creation mode.

Let’s have a BigThink (plug for my new favourite consortium of ideas Big Think).  See The New Digital Literacy  by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd calling on an urgency for programmers to be thoughtful about the web that is being created.  We are the consumers of the web, and we as teachers filter for our students.  Filter wisely dear colleagues, filter wisely.  We must ensure a healthy diet of consuming (including gaming) and making.  Balancing the inputs with the outputs is essential. Though I would argue that we should be heavier on the outputs.

Into gaming?  Why not programming?  Let’s talk about Scratch. I want to see that in the classroom. Anyone interested?




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