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Gamification Diaries 2: Day 3- 42

Episode Overview

In this episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin sits down and talks with Grace Withmory about gamifying her curriculum. If you listen to our Gamification Diaries mini-series you will learn about the process Dustin and Grace used to gamify a high school English language classroom. In this episode, Dustin discusses his design choices in creating the system and Grace and Dustin both discuss the successes and challenges of implementing the system in Grace’s classroom.

Read more about the episode and take a look at the games they talk about in this episode below.

Our new Facebook Group for Educators: Games-based Learning, Gamification, and Games in Education

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their song “8-bit Heaven” for our sponsorship segment. This song can be found in full on this music archive.

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Episode Topics

Amped Up Learning- 1:10

Amped Up Learning, a teacher owned company, that strives to make
learning fun, engaging and competitive with their unique games and
teacher-created lessons.

Check out their game FRECK!- A new tabletop card game AND classroom resource aimed at teaching your students key social studies vocabulary in an engaging, competitive & creative way. Easy-to-learn game steps, quick-hitting clues & dynamic gameplay make FRECK! a must-have for every history classroom.

Dustin talks with Gregg Williams from Amped Up Learning. Be sure to listen in for the full interview, or read a concise version of the interview below.

Day 3 of Gamification- 2:11

Dustin talks with Grace about day 3 of using a gamification system in Grace’s classroom. Be sure to listen in for the full discussion, or read a concise version of the discussion below. You will also find some of the same resources Dustin and Grace used!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: If you win a game of PUBG (an online shooter video game), the winner receives a message on their screen that says “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” A lot of students today learn expressions or language of games like this through video games. Grace talks about an interaction she had with some of her students to express how comfortable students are with games and gaming. This is the language student know, and if teachers can meet students on their playing field the impact of learning can be much stronger. In this great episode from Extra Credit, Patrick shares how a shared interest helped change a students attitude and engagement in class.

Gaming Elements: Grace talks about the use of dice in class to spark student interest. This is one of the first noticeable positives that has come from adding a physical gaming element in class this week. Dice are not normally associated with the classroom, and adding a new element can help spark student interest.

Chair Setup: How the chairs are organized in class is very important. This should be part of every teacher’s classroom management toolbox, and there is no exception when games are involved! Grace and Dustin set the desks and chairs in a U-shape with Dustin, the teacher and game master at the front of the class. This allows for easy interaction and discussion among students.

Dragon Roleplay: Dustin talks about how he walked students through the process of role-playing and dice. A specific RPG system (rules of an RPG game, like dice rolls, abilities, etc.) was not used in class. Instead, a very simple dice rolling mechanic was used. Students decided to do something or interact with something and then needed to roll a dice versus the dungeon master (Dustin the teacher) to complete their action. If they failed (rolled a number lower than Dustin), then they were unable to complete their action and an adverse effect was applied in the story or towards their character. If they succeeded (rolled higher than Dustin), then their character carried out the action.

Check out the PPT that we used in class. This is a PDF version. If you would like the PPT, be sure to join our Facebook group: Game-based Learning, Games, and Gamification in Education.

Character Relationships: Each student had to develop their character relationship with the entire group and at least one other character. This helps to solidify class culture and encourage teamwork and relationship building in the classroom.

Check out our handout for developing relationships.

Giving Students Options: Dustin decided to give students options during their RPG adventure. Dustin and Grace both talk about their first experience playing an RPG game, and how they felt paralyzed with the number of possibilities in the game. This way students have some structure and understanding the direction they could take the game/story.

The Story: Again, be sure to check out the story and the PPT. Dustin designed a story based around the theme of Interdimensional Travelers. He went with this theme out of the ability to be flexible. They took the Interdimensional Travel Device (ITD) for the first time and it crashed. They wound up facing down a witch who was brewing a potion.

Students travel through different times and dimensions in the story.
They find out their ITD is broken!

The party came face to face with a witch brewing a potion. Everyone was still dazed by their hectic and turbulent travel on the ITD. They saw the witch adding mushrooms, a giant spider, and other strange liquids into a potion. They were faced with some choices:

The group decided to confront the witch. Immediately, they wanted to fight her without questioning her reasons for creating such a potion. Eventually, they came to their senses and realized the witch could help them. The witch was persecuted in town and was trying to escape by concocting a potion to time travel. The group realized through questioning the witch, that this liquid could be used to fuel their ITD.

Students had a couple of other options in the story that they did not explore. They could have tried to go back to the ITD to get it to work. If they did this, they would find out the ITD was missing some sort of liquid to fuel the device. Or, they could go to town and explore a bit. Most of the explorations would lead to a dead-end, except for one. They may find the Chief of the town, who owns a witch as a pet. They would need to promise the Chief a favor to get the witch to make the liquid they need for their ITD. Any way the group took, should have led them to gain the liquid required to fuel their ITD.

The group could explore the town. Most of the explorations led to dead-ends or more knowledge about the Chief and her pet witch.
The Chief of the village owns a pet witch that can make the ITD liquid for the group to return to school on the ITD.

Tying in Learning Objectives: These adventure games are paramount to developing class culture and making meaningful characters who students become invested in. This investment carries over to their investment in class and leveling their characters. However, there are always opportunities to tie in learning objectives. Grace decided students needed to work as a class to create vocabulary sentences to gain the liquid needed for their ITD.

Successes and Challenges: Grace saw student engagement skyrocket in class. Students needed to work with vocabulary to create sentences and when they had the opportunity to complete this object to fix their ITD, no time was wasted. Students jumped out of their seats and go to work on the board writing the sentences. For all the students that wanted to write a sentence, there were not enough markers to go around!

Grace saw a challenge in making sure all students have an opportunity to participate in the story. One way to address this, is to allow students an opportunity to debrief through a writing exercise. The students can write about what their character wanted to do, how their character felt, or how their character thought about how other characters in the group handled different situations, and if they would handle it differently.

Dustin saw one success in the amount of energy student brought to class as the lesson continued on. Initially, students were less motivated to engage in the lesson, but as the lesson carried on and the story was introduced, students became more engaged in the class.

Working to develop more meaningful characters is one challenge that should be considered moving forward. Character interactions in the story can carry more weight outside of the story. A way to address this challenge is to introduce a voting system at the end of the story. Students can vote on the most helpful character, or bravest, etc.

Finally, check back soon for the third part to the mini-series “Gamification Diaries!”

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