Explore Like a Pirate Book Study: Chapter 2

I'm back for Chapter 2 of the Explore Like a Pirate book study! Thanks again to Sweet Sweet Primary for setting this up!


This week is all about the myths surrounding gamification, or game-inspired course design. 

Still confused about what gamification is, exactly? In simplest terms, it is "applying the most motivational techniques of games to non-game settings, like classrooms." Best part about gamification? You are applying it to what you already do, not starting from scratch!

Now, I am fortunate enough that if I bring an idea to my principal and explain why I think it will be beneficial to my students, her response will almost always be, "Go for it!" I realize that not all of you may be so lucky, and may have to "sell" the idea of gamification to your administration. This is the chapter for you! The author, Michael Matera, lists 9 of the most popular myths regarding gamification, and the truth behind them. 

Don't have time to read all that? Here are the 3 myths you are most likely to hear your administration express concerns about, and how to debunk them:




Myth: Games are just for play. There is no challenge or educational rigor.


First of all, raise your hand if you're tired of hearing the word "rigor." Anyhow, Matera makes some good points while debunking this myth. He points out that many professionals in many industries, including federal defense, emergency management, engineering, etc., use games to solve real-world problems. In addition, games "allow students to learn from mistakes, practice both short and long-term planning, and, best of all, develop informational literacy skills." These are skills I'm certainly interested in developing in my students. 

If you've ever had a kid explain exactly what they're doing while they are playing Minecraft (and seriosuly, I still don't get it!) you would know how complex and challenging a game can be. Since this is the "gamer generation" (according to Matera, by the time students finish high school they will have gamed for more than 10,000 hours), it's about time to meet them where they are!


Myth: It won't work for _______.

You may be told your kids are too (insert age/demographic barrier here) for gamification to work effectively. I agree with Matera- this myth is "just plain bunk." Another point he brings up that I LOVE:

"The question shouldn't be IF you can connect it to your content. it should be HOW you are going to connect to your students." 

You can use gamification for any subject and any group of learners. It's just a matter of viewing your content a little differently!


Myth 3: Games in the classroom are too much about competition.

For better or worse, we are living in the world of participation ribbons and gold stars for everything. As Matera points out, there are positive aspects to competition, and game-based learning has the potential to support those positive aspects. It's important for students to learn how to work together to achieve a goal, and internalize the skills required for collaboration. I have personally witnessed children who regularly fight like cats and dogs come together to beat a level on a computer game, so I know that gamification has the power to bring people together for the common good!

If you've been thinking about how to gamify your room and want to get people on board, make sure to check out Chapter 2. Don't forget, the book is FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!













8 comments

  1. I am so glad I am not the only one who doesn't get Minecraft! LOL! I just listen to them and nod my head as if I understand every word they are saying!

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    1. My go-to phrase is "Wow! How cool!" but yeah....no clue what they're talking about!

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  2. I completely agree with the point "The questions isn't if you can connect it to your content. The question should be how you're going to connect to your students." That's so true! The kiddos we have now are definitely gamers, so it would be much easier to meet them where they are and take that enthusiasm they have for gaming and run with it!

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    1. I really loved that quote! Can't wait to see what's in chapter 3.

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  3. Myth 1 just blows my mind. There are so many ways to create content based games. I'm excited to delve more into gamification. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Exactly! Kids respond to games and will most likely work harder if content is presented in a game format. Can't wait to see what's next!

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  4. I love how Michael Matera busted all of the myths! Girls are not gamers?? What? I can't wait to continue reading!

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    1. Seriously! Who would think that in this day and age! Look forward to seeing your takeaways on Chapter 3!

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