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Game Designer Says the Multiplayer Classroom Model Reduces Boredom

The word gamer in pixels

Having engaged students who are motivated to learn more and take risks is every teacher's wish. There are plenty of times when a snoozing student causes instructors to question the many hours they spent lesson planning. Instead of reinventing the wheel, some educators are using games and gaming concepts to complement what goes on in the classroom.

John Brhel of Binghamton University wrote a story recently about a talk that Lee Sheldon gave on the Multiplayer Classroom model. Sheldon is an associate professor in the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and wanted to make his classroom more engaging from the get go.

[Sheldon] had just arrived at Indiana University and, totally new to academia, had no idea what to do. Reflecting on his experience as a professional game designer, he realized that he could design his entire class as a game and actually engage his students.

“I thought, ‘I’m really bored, and if I’m bored, the students must be bored, too. What can I do to change that?’” said Sheldon. “And then I thought, ‘Well, dummy, you’re a game designer. Why don’t you design the entire class as a game?’”

Rather than hand out letter grades, Sheldon gives his students experience points (XP), units of measurement used in roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons, to signify a player’s progression. He starts the first day of class by welcoming students and telling them that they all have an F. He then tells them that they can build XP and work toward an A.

“The idea is that by doing it this way, they’re not focused on A’s and B’s,” said Sheldon. “And because A’s and B’s are kind of meaningless, all you’re doing is adding. You’re not falling back.”

Read the full story.

Corrie Kerr, EducationWorld Editor


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