Design/ outline a plan for using “gamification” in a school library.
Aim: To support ‘gamification’ within a school library environment through an online software program that encourages users to be a character and take on a quest of exploring library collections that match what they are learning.
1. User motivation
– To retrieve and respond to the content within the materials and resources of the school library.
– To solve a challenge or problem, and to learn and share.
– To be involved in a social environment to express themselves, and connect and interact with others within their school environment.
– To learn and improve their declarative and procedural knowledge.
– To have fun and enjoy utilising technology.
2. Gamified user assistance architecture
– Journey map design – from which students can progressively improve their knowledge and skills by content that is achievable and requires effort. The levels then will continuously develop in complexity, but a supportive virtual reward structure will support this. Additionally, relevant assistance for each level will be automatically provided, but it is also recommended that there be some monitoring so that if any particular gaps or difficulties are experienced then the individual student can be supported. It is important that each individual student’s needs are catered for.
- User assistance patterns
– Within the journey map design, there will be ‘user interface strings’ that allow students to see their current level and status, and recent messages.
– Additionally, there will be clearly visible tutorial and help function to support the learners.
– It is also recommended that there is a message function, that allows messages to be sent to the ‘GrandMaster” (a teacher, teacher-librarian, librarian, or other information professional within the school community) – to request help or to share content with others (a supportive, safe and secure forum).
– A knowledge base that can be contributed to (is also a consideration – collaborate relevant curriculum content that is currently being learnt).
- Gamification terminology
– The terminology will match the design of the game, and therefore it will have terms like ‘quest’ and ‘levels’. However, to support the history curriculum, it is recommended that there is the potential to create a ‘Gold rush’ quest type setting, and use terminology connected to this time.
– For ideas it is suggested to review, ‘Age of Empires’ and ‘Gold Rush’, from the NationalMuseum of Australia.
– Important consideration: The language needs to be appropriate for each year level, and so be modified accordingly (although for young early childhood students, it would be recommended that the game take place in a ‘buddy’ collaborative setting, for example Prep students paired with year 7 students).
- Gamified messages
– Must include: goals and rules, strategy and tactics hints and guides, supportive messages to guide and provide status progress, provide feedback, open communication and encouragement, to reward players, and provide FAQs.
– It is also important to be supportive of experiences in which an activity is not completed or achieved, to encourage interaction.
– Also important to include etiquette and expected behaviour expectations within this virtual environment, particularly if it encourages open collaboration and communication between peers and classes, on an individual and group level.
- Writing style
– “Informal, fun, friendly” (Rauch, 2012).
– Additionally, that it is simple to understand, and short, concise messages (as opposed to long paragraphs which may prove discouraging).
– The writing style should also be ‘realistic’ in the sense that it matches the characters and the setting.
7 Scheduling for play testing, iterations
– Provide a short-term exploratory basis for the game as it is being developed – provided to all students across year levels, but limited in time that it is available.
– Also, in some situations, other functions of the program could be tested separately, for example a collaborative forum (to encourage understanding of virtual, online etiquette rules, as well as fostering enjoyment in collaboration and sharing, and remove some anxiety of an online presence). It is important that students feel safe and secure in this space.
8. Administration and upgrade considerations
– The program should be monitored by library staff and by others within the school (open communication about potential concerns or benefits). Such as, feedback regarding technical difficulties, or noticeable behaviour by students that the way they use something could encourage the program to be bettered. For example, allowing an easier image sharing and editing capability, then using a separate external program.
– Guidelines – Available to students within school and after school hours, and also suitable for individual differences between students (learning, and other disabilities). With available alternatives and modifications being made to support all students – in some situations this may require more physical involvement than virtual involvement, and vice versa.
– Supportive monitoring is encouraged, and specific rules and guides should be designed for these gaming variations and modifications to encourage positive learning and social behaviour.
– It is also encouraged that if variances are made to the game, that students where possible are given a choice about what they would like to do (i.e. have a more virtual or physical presence in the game).
– Based within an Australian culture context, however it is encouraged that the multicultural nature of Australia is incorporated into the design.
– Additionally, that there be consideration and awareness of the language and design elements used to be supportive of cultural differences.
– Also important to consider that there be less a “winner” goal, but rather a collaborative or point system that they can use, and have rewards not just for achievements but also for character (i.e. teamwork, communication, courage, etc.).
This plan is designed around elements specified in Marta Rauch’s ‘Gamification is here: build a winning plan!’ blog published on October 5, 2012.
Rauch, M. (2012, October 5). Gamification is here: Build a winning plan [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/MartaRauch/gamification-is-here-build-a-winning-plan