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JUNE 12, 2010

Games, continued

The evidence is pretty dramatic that we older folks are missing the boat when it comes to incorporating video/computer games into our lives, especially compared to the 18-24 Millennial generation.

Mouse over the chart at right to see what I mean. You can read much more about this in my article Old Teachers, Young Students: Are We Speaking the Same Language.

This is especially critical for teachers, since our students think and learn differently than we do.

Of course we have choices:

  • We can "tsk, tsk" that the younger generation is foolish, not nearly as wise and mature as we were at their age. That would be at best only partly true, and not at all helpful.
  • We can say "I'm too old to learn about games. Can't teach an old dog new tricks." That would be totally false, and not at all helpful.
  • We can try to figure out how to use the technology and interests of younger folks to teach them what we think they need to learn. That would be very helpful.

Moving forward

I'm definitely ready to start figuring this out, but I'll admit to being a complete newbie to game theory and game design. I'm looking around for points of entry, and today ran across a couple that I'll share with you.

The first is the book Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests by Gabe Zichermann and Joselin Linder. This relates to something we discussed a couple of days ago in Games & Badges.

Thing is, we don't have to invent a lot of new stuff, we have to take what works in one arena and translate it to another. So the book discusses business. In the Top 5 Ways to Gameify Your Business below, substitute "student" for "customer," "class" for "business," and resist the temptation to think that #5 has no place in education (it does).

How to Gameify Your Business

  1. What consumer behavior are you trying to drive? ... focus on easy-to-achieve activities that will have an overall impact on your bottom line ... The more specific you can be, the easier it is to build game mechanics around.
  2. Assign points to those behaviors. Think about how much value each of the behaviors has to your business and assign points to each action accordingly.
  3. Create a leaderboard to display points. Just like the Employee of the Month plaques at restaurants, create a socially-networked leaderboard that allows users to feel like they are accomplishing something relative to their friends and peers—A little encouragement goes a long way.
  4. Develop challenges and message them. Just like Frequent Flyer promotions, creating simple challenges can have a profound effect on user behavior...Keep your challenges fresh and topical by knowing your players.
  5. Make “fun” your goal!

Army colonelYou can do it

If Colonel Wardynski can make the Army fun, you can make your class fun too. The latter half of this interview with the Colonel is boring, but the first couple of minutes on how gaming created the Army of the future is pretty darn interesting.

[ Watch video ]


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JUNE 2010