Gamifying MS History

Jenn and I met about this unit way back in October. She wanted to design a unit that incorporated elements of gaming.

After meeting with her to discuss which unit she would be doing, when it would happen, what she wanted to accomplish with this unit [student outcomes], we both went off and did a little research to gather more ideas.

I came across many articles, but then I came across Paul Swanson’s blog. He is a technology coordinator at UNIS Hanoi and had experience assisting a middle school humanities teacher, Kelsey Giroux, gamify her unit.

At our next meeting, Jenn had a better idea of the direction she wanted to take, so I added what I had found — most notably to add a narrative to the unit.

See how the unit has unfolded so far – Unit 3- Medieval Europe

  • She created a Google Site in which the sections (levels) are divided by pages.
  • For her first level, the students each created their own coat of arms. They then took a picture of it and used Thinglink to explain their thinking. (This also pushed students to more critically evaluate their own work.)
  • The students then voted on the best coats of arms.
  • Throughout the unit, pictures are uploaded to Instagram and displayed on the class blog through an Instagram feed widget. This has led to authentic discussions about digital citizenship and responsibility.
  • The Thinglinks were then embedded into a Padlet where all of them could be displayed at once.
  • Each unit has Google Docs with directions, creating independence amongst the students.
  • Students independently move through the levels after they have attained the point requirement.
  • There is a leaderboard so students can see their own progress. This has freed Jenn from reminding them what to do next.

The unit is still in the toddler stage — and all that stage implies — but what has become most apparent is the increased motivation and engagement from the students.

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