High school science teacher Paul Anderson has turned his class into a video game. Is he capitulating to the worst aspects of the youth culture? Throwing his hands up in defeat? Not at all. Anderson says he’s exploiting a central quality of games that often goes unnoticed: Games are about learning.
In a recent TED talk, Anderson describes three of the lessons games taught him about learning:
Anderson took a whole summer to apply these and other lessons to his science class, which now looks very different the way it did before. The class includes narrated scenarios, opportunities to apply learning, the ability to take quizzes over and over again until students master material, a “leveling system” where students begin a year with zero points and gradually advance to “grand master” status, and a “leaderboard” where students track their progress against that of other students.
Anderson notes that he is learning from the mistakes he made in his first year of teaching this way. Here are some of the lessons of his early failures:
His concluding message? Do what you’re passionate about, and then fail, learn, repeat. That is a message a gamer can understand.
Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs