Level Up!

Using games culture to enhance learning & innovation
is a project that involves embedding games based learning to enhance students’ abilities to become better independent learners through promoting high order thinking, engagement, collaboration, problem-solving, selfregulation and knowledge integration. Teachers also play games to deconstruct how games engage players and the metacognitive processes that players undergo while playing game.

The outcomes of the project are to: • Increase the quality of engaging activities for students to develop and apply literacy and numeracy skills • Increase the frequency and quality of feedback provided to students • Provide hands-on experiences for students that are not usually possible in the classroom • Enhance differentiated and personalised learning to better meet student needs • Increase the capacity of teachers to better implement elements of quality teaching and learning in order to improve student outcomes by providing more tasks that are challenging, have authentic contexts and require the use of higher order thinking skills according Bloom’s taxonomy and digital taxonomy. Merrylands High School http://www.merryland-h.schools.nsw.edu.au www.facebook.com/merrylandshigh @merrylandshs

Head Teacher Science at Merrylands High School

Merrylands High School is a comprehensive high school (Years 7 to 12) in south western Sydney, Australia. The school has approximately 800 students. The school serves low socio-economic communities and has high expectations for all students. The school takes pride in being a leader of innovative technology.

About Merrylands High School
@aliceleung alice.leung@det.nsw.edu.au http://missaliceleung.wordpress.com

Alice Leung

enhance learning & innovation

using games culture to

Using games culture to enhance learning & innovation

Level 1

Out of the Box Learning

Small groups of students play Xbox games to engage in learning experiences that are not possible without the games, including filming the game play for Formula 1 to make a short film about Newton’s laws, using Sonic Racing to design and conduct an experiment to test the pacts of using mobile phones whilst driving, and using Kinect Sports to learn about average speed. Microsoft OneNote is used to embed gaming elements into units of work. Units of work were presented to students in “levels” using sections in OneNote notebooks. Each level contained a range of activities worth different amounts of points based on the difficulty of the activity. Each level was also password locked. Students were given passwords to unlock new levels once they have completed all required activities on a level. Students also created their own game for Year 5 students in partner primary schools using OneNote to organise a collection of existing online games, creating their own challenges based on these games and setting passwords for players to unlock levels.

Evaluation data was collected to inform whole school implementation of games culture. Student survey results showed students enjoyed learning science more when gaming elements are included. Students cited team work and collection of points as the main factors.

Level up!

“The fact that it was a game made it fun to learn about science.”
“It makes it competitive and makes me want to work more.”

“I think that this topic was fun and enjoyable way to learn. It would be cool to do it again.”

“I think the best about the topic was learning and working as a team to complete a task.”

“an incredible experience for both the game maker students and the yr 6 kids ... I love how the students creating their game had to state their goals at the beginning of each session – an excellent strategy for all PBL type activities”
Anne Vogelnest, teacher

Level 2
Designing Games Outcomes

Students designed and programmed a geolocation game about Merrylands High School for mobile devices. The game was played by Year 6 students in primary-secondary transition activities. Students divided themselves into teams to make the game. The roles of project managers, programmers, narrative writers and media collectors were assigned and negotiated by students based on their strengths. Students collaborated with Macquarie University to make the game. Game design experts at Macquarie University conducted workshops on good game design principles with students and gave programming advice to students. Students coordinated their work and communicated with each other and with Macquarie University using Edmodo.

Students learnt to collaborate, set and work to realistic goals and timelines, lead each other and monitored the team’s progress, apply higher order thinking skills and apply literacy skills in authentic contexts.

“My favourite part of the day was the mobile phone challenge”

Level 3 Games culture
Outcomes Teachers

to drive teacher innovation & build teacher capacity

Xbox Kinect sessions are held after school for teachers to play games and explore game design principles that they can use to engage learners and personalise learning. Students & teachers also present to other schools. Through this a community of practice has formed and continues to grow. This project is shared with over 30 schools in Sydney through TeachMeet, over 650 Twitter followers and over 600 blog subscribers.

have implemented or have started plans to embed gaming elements into their classroom practice. These teachers include primary and secondary schools and include teachers from Merrylands HS and other schools.

“Loved!!! the presentation on gaming in the classroom – this should really re position our thinking and planning across all KLAs”
from a teacher at a Northern Sydney Region technology conference

“Already thinking about Kodu for next year’s year 9 and 10.”
- Henry Yavuz, science teacher

“Great post. I think what people absolutely miss about developing a model from game theory is that it requires an understanding of, and ability to create, nurture and support a culture that should be free to grow, rather than to be strategic. It’s the model that matters – the ability to see play as a fulcrum with instructional design balanced with game design.” – Dean Groom, Head of Educational Design at Macquarie University, in an online blog discussion

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