Hello all. My name is Rich Lewis (aka Kalculator). I work as the Universal Technology Access Coordinator for a K-12 school district in north Texas. What that basically means is that I coordinate our online courses for students, facilitate staff implementation of blended model classes, facilitate online professional development (synchronous and asynchronous), and oversee our telepresence and technology lending library programs.
I firmly believe that the act of playing games is inherently educational. Games may not always address the state-mandated standards we require, but they build the mental qualities and abilities we want to see in students. Not only are they educational, but I also believe that they can be just plain good for you!
I also believe that the Industrial Age model of public education is no longer a viable solution for most modern era children. I know there is no silver bullet (including gaming), but I'm interested in ideas for change. I'm also interested in not only the ideas themselves, but in discussion on how to make the changes happen in a system that is resistant to it. I've read "Disrupting Class" by Clayton Christensen and I agree with the idea that if you target the unserved population with disruptive innovations then you can eventually change the whole system (we're beginning to see a bit of that in the online learning space), but it's not fast enough for my taste and there are students that need help !
Ooooh, that felt like a bit of a rant! Sorry about that. Just frustrated. On a lighter note, I'm am an avid gamer as well, so I suspect that biases me toward a gaming solution.
I took part in the 3D Game Lab training in Aug 2011 and implemented a "gamified" blended Geometry course this past school year using the 3D Game Lab platform. I also used "The Multiplayer Classroom - Designing Coursework as a Game" by Lee Sheldon as inspiration. Mixed results, which I'll be happy to share, but I still definitely believe in the concepts. No actual games were used in the course (if you have a recommendation for a game supporting what needs to be taught in Geometry, I'm all ears!). I just applied the concepts that make games motivational to the structure of the class (XP rather than grades, student choice of quests, branching quest paths, awards/badges/achievements, etc.).
So I literally, just today, discovered this Games MOOC. Was doing a Twitter search on Game Based Learning (#GBL) and saw some of the tweets. This seems like a great follow-up to my experience over the past year, and an opportunity to learn more. I can't guarantee the amount of activity I can put in (as I said, I just learned of the course today and I have other things happening the next few weeks), but I'll do the best I can because this is important!
Lastly, from a social networking perspective, I'm a Google+ man. Hope some of you are as well and will add me to your circles (an add back is guaranteed if I know you're from this MOOC!). +Rich Lewis! I think Google+ is a great environment for targeted sharing of information and ideas.
Thanks for your time and attention - I know I can be overly wordy! Looking forward to meeting and interacting with you all.