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3D Game Lab

August 13, 2011

3D Game Lab ( is a program that I have been beta testing this summer.  It is a game-based learning program that I am hoping to implement in my class next year. It is put on by Boise State University.  When I first started looking at it, I wasn’t sure what exactly it would be.  The beta opened on August 1 and so far I have completed all of the necessary “quests” in order to open up all of the features.  I am so excited about what this program can do for my students!

Game-based learning is basically learning put into a game setting.  Students are players, assignments are quests, and students earn experience points instead of grade points.  They can also earn rewards, achievements, badges, and ranks.  In one of the last quests of Game Lab, the quest was to watch a video and write our reflections.  The video was on the elements of games that can be used in a classroom in order to motivate and engage students in learning.  I found the video inspiring and I am delighted at the possibilities of what I will be able to do in the classroom.

The main part of the video listed seven ways that games engage people that can be used in an educational setting.
1. Experience bars showing progress – Game Lab does a great job of this.  Every quest has experience points assigned to it and the student (or player) has to gain a certain amount of experience before they can continue.

2. Multiple long and short tasks – You can give multiple quests at one time.  The task of earning the achievements is also a quest in itself that could be one of the longer tasks talked about here.  This section says that some of these tasks can be that the students show up on time to multiple classes, answer ten questions, or collaborate effectively with others.

3. Reward effort – The video said that every little thing should be rewarded in some way.  Credit needs to be given for effort and we shouldn’t punish failure.  I like this idea, but I hope that I can motivate students to complete the work so that the grade in the gradebook isn’t a failure.

4. Rapid, frequent, clear feedback – Students need to be able to link consequences to an action, otherwise they can’t learn. Game Lab does a great job of this because you can (and should) give feedback to every quest that students complete.  If feedback is not given, the students might feel like the work that they did was not read or reviewed properly.

5. An element of uncertainty –  The video states that this is the gold mine of engagement. The players need something that they can’t quite predict.  I haven’t really decided what this will be in my classroom unfortunately.  I have seen some things where there are mystery badges or rewards.  I think this might work for some but I doubt that it would work for everyone.  Maybe I could provide some sort of reward for the end of each group of quests and make it different each time.  Students wouldn’t know what the end reward was going to be each time.  I think that this one needs more thought so if anyone has any advice, it would be appreciated!

6. Windows of enhanced attention –  Some quests will require more thought and others should be more simple. This one is fairly straight forward.

7. Other people –  This is one of the biggest emotional turn ons for students according to the video.  People like to collaborate with others.  They like to feel like they aren’t alone and they like to work toward the same goal.  I plan on accomplishing this by having everyone in the class do Game Lab and not just a few.  I also started a discussion board so that students can post on quests, groups, subjects, the class, school in general, or other subjects.  This part also brought in the idea of an in-game currency that students can earn and then spend on items.  I could award a coin for each completed quest then allow students to purchase soda, snacks, pencils, etc with these rewards.  It would be nice if there were purchasable rewards within Game Lab so that I wouldn’t have to provide rewards in the real world for currency earned in the virtual world.  Maybe there would be another way to do this, I will continue to think about it.

Overall, I really liked this video.  I will save this list of items and use them in order to engage my students in game based learning using Game Lab.  I am really looking forward to using this in my classes!

See ya next time!


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