"Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to real world situations."
This quote from Jane McGonigal's book SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully was a game-changer for our colleague Kyle Geske.
Back in June the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) hosted its annual conference in Winnipeg. I had the privilege of taking in Kyle's session titled: “Motivation, Feedback and Epic Failure: A Gameful Approach to Project-Based Learning."
Kyle explained how he converted his IT coding course from lectures + assignments + exams to one that instead used lectures + challenges + a project.
With a detailed rubric that outlines competencies, students work individually to meet (or even exceed) the requirements of the project. Project grading and guidance are doled out over four to ten in-person sessions between the learner and the teacher. Students are motivated through a public leaderboard that regularly records where students are at in demonstrating the needed skills.
Kyle's model of I do, we do, you do leaves lots of room for failure. In fact, he models that by making mistakes in front of his students and rewards their experimentation. He also stresses that building trust between instructor and learner is key to the success of this style of course. Students must see instructors as domain experts and mentors, not simply as assessors or gatekeepers of grades.
Kyle's approach is learner-directed and Instructor-mentored. He ended his presentation with an acronym to rethink the work FAIL: First Attempt in Learning.
Please join us in congratulating Kyle on being accepted to speak at the conference and for representing RRC well. He will also be delivering this presentation at the upcoming Science Teachers' Association of Manitoba (STAM) MTS PD Day. Click on the “sign in" button at the top right, enter your RRC credentials, and join the conversation.