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Team GiverCraft October 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — grannynannycook @ 12:14 pm
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How has your team approached and documented the design of your game?

The first thing I want to address in game design for our team’s GiverCraft project is communication.  We are all telelearners, not meeting altogether in one place, and not necessarily at the same time.  But we are meeting.  One of the points stressed most in the readings for this assignment is the importance of communication during game design.  For the project design, our team has used the usual communication methods: hangouts, email, google docs, wikispaces, minecraft chats, tweets, and even telephone.  These three questions from Chapter 9 have helped our team focus during the design process:

What have I done since the last meeting?

What do I still need to do?

What obstacles have I encountered?

 According to the author, Karl Kapp, for learning game design, the most effective process is a hybrid approach between ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation), a step-by-step process, and Scrum, a team approach based on an iterative and incremental agile methodology. The first step in the hybrid method is to determine what we want the learning outcome to be, and we have.

Because our team is using the pre-existing game, Minecraftedu, the GiverCraft approach is modified from the hybrid method, but a deliberate process has been followed.  First we chose the game to use (Minecraftedu) and then brainstormed how to use it to address learning domains to teach the content.  Learning objectives were established.  A blend between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation was determined.  The team determined a storyline, reward system, and in-game activities for the concept to be taught.  A rubric for assessment of learning based on the reading Common Core Standards was developed.  The team worked on these things to reach a common goal, not necessarily in a sequential order, but all together to advance the project in a flexible manner, not having to wait for someone to finish their part before we start our part.

There is an advantage to using Minecraftedu.  It has already been tested for playability, engagement, and learning.  Although we did not need to create a paper mock up and play it, we did play a sample scenario to create a similar situation to that the students will experience.  And, the team has been playing a lot of Minecraftedu, both individually and in groups.  The hours spent playing the game provided the team with feedback to help the team improve GiverCraft.  Feedback enables us to determine how closely instructional objectives will be met, to give an insight into how teachers might envision using the game, to identify obstacles to using the game, and to test the reward structure established by the team.

Taking into consideration the author’s suggestions for the ideal gamification design team and elements of a design document, some of his suggestions were implemented, and some were not applicable.   Regarding roles within the team, we seem to be practicing “aces in their places”, letting people do what they do best, because our members have different levels of understanding of Minecraftedu and ability to play the game, as well as different teaching experience.  For our project for the gamification of learning and instruction, these roles seem to have evolved: project manager, instructional game designer, subject-matter expert, information tech representative, and representative from the learner population.  Although the roles may not be exactly defined or implemented as Kapp does, they are approximately what we are doing.  Roles which are basically unnecessary for the team because we are using Minecraftedu are: artist, programmer, music/sound, animator, level designer. There was no need for storyboards and art, but game play challenge scenarios were created.

Since this writing is tardy, I know how the game will be presented, documented, and marketed.  The game is being presented in Minecraftedu.  The group will use a website for marketing, and a weebly for commucication with registered participants.  The website, GiverCraft, open to the public, will have an overview of the project, registration forms, and other pertinent information.  The private weebly, for registrants only, will be used for keeping track of progress, posting screenshots, and other project sharing.  A Google group has been created to address questions and issues from teachers who are participating with their students in our the game.

Although we have been collaboratively working on the Minecraftedu challenge project, not all the answers are clear.   The design document, to help with planning and resource allocation,  is a work in progess.  It includes an overview of the concept, statement of the expected learning outcomes, instrucional objectives, game environment, reward structure, look and feel of the game, technical description, and a project timeline.  The timeline contains start dates, end dates, estimate of how long each phase will take, and a time for celebrating and sharing.

In closing, I want to summarize one of Eric Milks’ Tips for Managing the Gamification Process: gamification should be a balance between fun and pedagogy; keep players interested (fun), yet educate them (pedagogy).1 Ultimately, this is the goal of GiverCraft.

  1. Kapp, K. M. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction : Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. San Francisco: Pfeiffer. Chapter 9, p. 215.

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