Get Your Game On at K12 Online Conference

A MiddleWeb Blog

Working_Draft3-240X300-gameI had the good fortune to be a keynote speaker at the K12 Online Conference this fall. I didn’t have to travel; I keynoted right from my own home. And I had the opportunity to team up with some creative people to gamify our conference experience.

If you’re not familiar with the K12Online Conference, it stretches over a two-week period each fall, during which themed video presentations (and resource links) are released daily at the K12Online site. It’s an asynchronous experience, by and for educators.

You can visit when you want, picking and choosing the topics that interest you. Since everything is archived, if the mood strikes you can go back in time and watch presentations from previous years, beginning in 2006.

It’s a great way to target your own professional development on your own schedule. This year, the themes are Stories for Learning, Games and Gamification, STEM & STEAM, and Passion-Driven Learning. There’s a whole wealth of sharing and learning going on in the 2014 K12Online Conference, and best of all, it’s completely free to everyone and anyone, anywhere in the world, at any moment in time.

Getting our game on

I was honored to have been asked to give the keynote presentation for the Games and Gamification strand, although I am not all that knowledgeable in the area of gamifying a classroom space.

But, as readers of this blog know, I have done a lot of work around bringing video game design into my sixth grade classrooms, connecting writing and design to our science curriculum. My keynote — Game On: How Design and Play Impact Learning — focused on that topic as well as how we can view gaming as a literacy activity. Other presenters in the Games and Gamification strand took on the topics of gamification in more detail.

The presenters in our strand also decided that it might be interesting to try to gamify the K12Online Conference itself, so we developed our own K12Online Conference Game to help spur people to do more than just watch the presentations.

We hope, through gamification, to get people having conversations, making connections and taking what they have learned into their classrooms and buildings, sharing the innovative practices within their own learning communities.

k12gamemap

The result is a two-tiered K12Online Conference Game. It begins with a short and easy video game, which then leads you to the gamification rules and a tally chart.

k12online game shot

In this kind of game, everyone is a winner, even though we added a point system to give some incentives.

What it’s really all about is the connections. Come play with us!

Kevin Hodgson

Kevin Hodgson is a sixth grade teacher in Southampton MA and outreach coordinator for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. An aspiring writer and former newspaper journalist, Kevin believes that all students are writers and that writing is one of the most fundamental means of understanding the world. His views around literacy include interaction within the digital world, meeting students on common ground, and helping them make the shift from passive consumers to active creators and collaborators. He is a co-editor of Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change and Assessment in the 21st Century and blogs regularly at Kevin’s Meandering Mind. He can also be found on Twitter as @dogtrax.

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