Making Learning “Gameful”

[Here’s an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education that reviews a new product developed by a professor at the University of Michigan, Barry Fishman, with one of his graduate students. GradeCraft is much more than a tool for gamification. It is a learning management system that provides choices or alternative paths for learning without penalizing students for trying different activities or strategies.]

May 15, 2015 by
Photo by Norton Gusky CC 4.0

Photo by Norton Gusky CC 4.0

What if the classroom were more like a video game?

Barry J. Fishman, a professor of information and education at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, would like to help you find out. Mr. Fishman has borrowed elements of gaming to develop GradeCraft, a learning-management system that lets instructors organize their courses in a “gameful” way.

The system lets students choose their own path through a course, selecting the assignments that interest and challenge them. At its heart is a tool, called the “grade predictor,” that helps to “manage some of the chaos” of such a personalized system. The grade predictor also helps students figure out what they need to do to reach the classroom goals they set for themselves.

GradeCraft also aims to give students the ability to fail without detrimental consequences. There are many assignments to choose from, so any students who do poorly on one can find plenty of other tasks to redeem themselves. Instructors, meanwhile, can allow students to revise their work. Mr. Fishman’s assessment system treats unsuccessful assignments not as failures but as learning experiences that pull students closer to mastery.

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