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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Let's All Laugh At the Tabloid Nonsense - Classroom turned into game

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21898927

    But more importantly let's laugh at that person's name. I guarantee you'll giggle when you see it. If you don't you are probably too mature to have fun!

    As for the article, I had to double check to see if it was April 1st.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus LTK's Avatar
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    What's so funny about it? We've had multiple examples of RPG-like elements being introduced into classrooms to motivate children to do more work. This is nothing new, although it might be more novel in the UK. I can't say I'm in favour of also using the system for punishment, but maybe it works.

    Regardless, do you really think initiatives to make education more effective using games are a laughing matter?

  3. #3
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    I'd say it's pointless. The XP of the tutor needs a boost. A roll for initiative must be really low at that school. While making a game out of things can be fun, I think stats should be put into learning first. Then they can upgrade their pencils +1 HP. Soon they will get to the next level of the cause, and will what they have learned be of any value? I'm not sure you can respec without having to grand all the exams over again.

    Could be worse, they could have based it on a Zynga game...

    In a serious reply. There are things that look troublesome. They reduce the time spent on exams etc due to this "game". That is no problem in and off it's self, the points are just a number system for "is the child behaving", and so a misbehaving kid is naturally going to end up in detention etc. However, as there are random events and game related stats, it may not be the fault of the child. It might be the "mage had no healing potion left". That's making a mockery and a fictional stage of the classroom for the benefit of the phantasy and power play of the teacher. Not sure anything good can come from that. Oh, it will for a privileged few I guess, or for a short time, but as soon as someone "games" the system, by being a rouge with fireball (they don't mention the "powers", but I guess they are dire :P ), gets them infinite XP, and then what?

    PS, I also went to a school with names like that... quite a few names like that. :O
    Last edited by TechnicalBen; 25-03-2013 at 12:03 PM.

  4. #4
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    My mother trained as a classroom assistant for primary school, and a lot of the work was focused on learning through games, although this was some time ago and video games weren't mainstream, so it was mostly simple games and the concepts of progression weren't present. You can also consider that schools have for hundreds of years used external arbitrary reward systems to encourage children, often team-based like a House system. Since it's now probably more accepted that games aren't too childish for secondary school children or adults to play, it seems reasonable that more elaborate such systems are being designed, particularly as more adults will be familiar with the sorts of game mechanics that work well.

    I wonder what sorts of checks there are in the system to make sure that the bright kids don't become really high-level and make the low level kids feel miserable. Presumably higher levels need more XP, but that's always a fairly depressing way to maintain balance. I suppose you could have "quests" for low-level characters that would help them progress, and "world events" where Evil Forces poison the high-level kids and the low-level ones need to counteract the poisons and save the kingdom (which would also encourage the high-level players not to be dicks because then they'd not get saved). You could also have exams for high-level characters have level-draining powers like vampires, although then your class might complain that your classroom has too much level-scaling.

    This is also just begging for Achievements. Pass an Exam as a Wizard without casting a Spell.
    Last edited by NathanH; 25-03-2013 at 12:00 PM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, it's not a problem in and of it's self. It's just the article misses out any details that would make people go "ah, that's ok". I wonder if it's bias reporting, or if the teachers did not want to let anyone know what the "powers" were?

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
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    Big part of life disturbing game addiction comes from games being more rewarding than life / studies / job (remember, brains don't care if it's real or not). So if they attempt to somehow make studying and life feel more rewarding for people then go for it.
    Twitter! Occasional impressions on random sim games.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Ah it is childish but I did snigger at that name a bit. Still not as good as Randy Bumgardner or Tiny Kox.

    I don't see what's so bad or tabloid about the article though.

  8. #8
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    Didn't 'house' systems used to be really common at schools? We had one for a while. You were assigned one of four houses and sports, academic and other achievements in those areas got you points for your team and one house would 'win' each term.

    This is basically a very gamed-up version of that.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LTK View Post

    Regardless, do you really think initiatives to make education more effective using games are a laughing matter?
    I was more coming from the angle of there being humour/tabloid style reporting in the way the article was presented (see TechnicalBen's second post) rather than the idea of rewards/punishments itself, probably should have made that clear.

    But I'm largely with TechnicalBen's serious post, there's nothing wrong with incentivising good behaviour (my school did this, to varying degrees of success) but rewards like time off in exams etc are a pretty bad idea, particularly with kids in the age range mentioned in the article (at 16 you could soon be leaving school and heading off into the real world, where doing a good job does not win you a late start because you're planning a big night out and are going to be hungover the next day).

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Didn't 'house' systems used to be really common at schools? We had one for a while. You were assigned one of four houses and sports, academic and other achievements in those areas got you points for your team and one house would 'win' each term.

    This is basically a very gamed-up version of that.
    Not sure if it was nation-wide, but I know that at my middle school they had to get rid of it. According to the "teacher's assistant" (she was a grad student who was doing an internship I think?) the school board had decided to get rid of it as it was making the dumb kids feel dumber and singling out the smarter kids (and by "singling out", I mean "Well boys and girls, Team Blue is doing really really well because Little Jimmy is capable of reading at his grade level. Make sure to tell him how much you like him during recess when I am off having a smoke break"). Of course, said school district were asshats who cut every single "gifted" program they could, so yeah.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Not sure if it was nation-wide, but I know that at my middle school they had to get rid of it. According to the "teacher's assistant" (she was a grad student who was doing an internship I think?) the school board had decided to get rid of it as it was making the dumb kids feel dumber and singling out the smarter kids (and by "singling out", I mean "Well boys and girls, Team Blue is doing really really well because Little Jimmy is capable of reading at his grade level. Make sure to tell him how much you like him during recess when I am off having a smoke break"). Of course, said school district were asshats who cut every single "gifted" program they could, so yeah.
    Typically in my school the weaker or more disruptive kids needed to do less in absolute terms than the stronger better-behaved ones to get house points, so it worked quite well, although nobody actually gave a shit about it so by "working quite well" I mean it was approximately a neutral scheme.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus LTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchops View Post
    I was more coming from the angle of there being humour/tabloid style reporting in the way the article was presented (see TechnicalBen's second post) rather than the idea of rewards/punishments itself, probably should have made that clear.
    I didn't read it like that at all at first, but I can see how a lot of the examples seem to focus on creating unequal opportunities.

    But I'm largely with TechnicalBen's serious post, there's nothing wrong with incentivising good behaviour (my school did this, to varying degrees of success) but rewards like time off in exams etc are a pretty bad idea, particularly with kids in the age range mentioned in the article (at 16 you could soon be leaving school and heading off into the real world, where doing a good job does not win you a late start because you're planning a big night out and are going to be hungover the next day).
    Totally agree. I didn't see that these were 16-year-olds, I thought they'd be 12 or something. So you make a good point, but playing off positives and negatives against each other is probably a bad idea regardless. Changing the conditions of the exam for each student is a recipe for disaster, since it throws the notion of grading them with an equal measure completely out of the window. Free passes to miss deadlines or arrive late are a bad thing to encourage at any age. Good performance and bad behaviour are not interchangeable karma points.

    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Didn't 'house' systems used to be really common at schools? We had one for a while. You were assigned one of four houses and sports, academic and other achievements in those areas got you points for your team and one house would 'win' each term.

    This is basically a very gamed-up version of that.
    You mean the Hogwarts model of student houses is based on the real world?

    My mind, thar she blows.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Being Scottish we has "clans" rather than "houses" but this was only linked to sport and not academic achivement so only the sporty kids really gave a toss about it.

    The other system we had was something called "credit cards" where good/improved work or behaviour received cards and the class/individuals with the most got to go on a trip to a mediocre theme park (but hey it was a day off school at the end of term!).

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    God forbid teachers use unorthodox methods to teach kids... the horror!

    There is nothing wrong with this.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    But is it turn based?

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node Feldspar's Avatar
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    They should lay the classrooms out on a hexagonal grid.

  17. #17
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    This example seems to be a particularly bad one of a teacher doling out harmful rewards and punishments.

    "There are also penalties for pupils who mess about or fail to complete assignments. When that happens, the character representing that player loses some of their hit points...

    "If a pupil's character loses all their hit points and "dies" they suffer real world penalties, This could be less time on an exam or a Saturday morning detention...

    "That engine also generates random events that effect everyone in the class. Some are helpful, such as a blessing that heals hit points, others bad, such as a curse that reduces the same stat."

    So you give a failing child less time to complete a test, causing them to fail again? The whole point of testing is to determine if the students are learning the material, and undermining that defeats the purpose of testing.

    And if my kids got a detention because the teacher decided it was "curse day" and punishments were doubled, I would be PISSED! "You're telling me a day ago if they did the same thing, they would've received a warning? This isn't arbitrary how?"

    If these examples are real, it sounds like it was designed by someone who doesn't understand both education and game design.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feldspar View Post
    They should lay the classrooms out on a hexagonal grid.
    Hexagons make everything better. Fact.

    @ Hyperkinetic

    Nothing wrong with unorthodox methods per se.

  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node NecroKnight's Avatar
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    I dislike the idea of encouraging kids to learn through games like this. Children should learn because it's important for them, you should motivate them to learn because of themselves, teach them self-discipline; not use silly stupid games like these.
    But where did he come from, this fleck of spite in an abandoned paradise?

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    In my school the weaker students were fed to the stronger students in the cafeteria. You need to understand, this was before horse meat.
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