Monday, March 11, 2013

Gamifying a Classroom: Step 2

Earlier, I posted that I have been looking at applying the principles of gamification to a classroom experience for my students. I started with the idea of revolving the class around a Star Trek-like world where students would be earning ranks by fulfilling achievements. I began a website here.

I am planning this for my Astronomy class, in a unit that is rough for them. The underlying topics to be covered are Electromagnetic Radiation, Spectroscopy, Doppler Effect, and Telescopes. It is basically the "science" part of astronomy in terms of what principles astronomers use today.

The basis behind the game is that students will enter a classroom that is to prepare them to be the captain of their own starship. They begin the game as Cadets, graduate to Ensigns, then Commanders, then finally Captain. You can read more about this on the site or the previous post. 

I have worked out a pretty cool advancement tool that I am going to incorporate. I plan on taking some safety pins that they can attach to their school issued lanyards. Upon completing a level, they will be given a bead to place on the pin (think cub scouts). The color of the bead will indicate their level of completion. For instance. If they pass their advancement exam on their first attempt they will be awarded the title Cadet 2nd Class (Blue Bead). If they complete the enrichment exercise, they will advance to 1st Class (White Bead). If they fail their bar exam, but pass it on their second attempt, they will be considered Cadet 3rd Class, but can move up to 2nd Class by doing the enrichment exercise.

Thus by looking at their pin, they have their rank right on their chest.

0 beads - Cadet
1 bead - Ensign
2 Beads - Commander
3 Beads - Captain

1st Class White (Passed test on first try and completed enrichment)
2nd Class Blue (passed test on first try)
3rd Class Yellow (Failed test on first try but then passed)
4th Class Red
5th Class Black

Let me know if you think this is a good idea or if you have something that will make it better. I am seriously thinking about trying this in late April with my astronomy class. It will take a lot of work re-writing labs and resources to give them a Trekky feel, but it is timely with the reboot of the movie franchise. I will post more when I have more. Any feedback on the development of this would be appreciated.