ETOM Fall Conference 2016

November 11, 2016


Mott Community College
1401 E Court St
Flint, MI 48503

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School is a Game… But is it a good game? Barry J. Fishman The University of Michigan We want our students to be deeply engaged with our subject matter. We want them to work hard and take on intellectual challenges. We want them to take risks and try new things. And perhaps most importantly, we want our students to be resilient in the face failure. So why it is that the design of our educational system – including colleges and universities – encourages exactly the opposite behaviors? I propose that our grading and assessment systems are the heart of the problem. In this talk, I describe an approach called gameful learning – based on observations of one of the most durable and natural environments for learning – learning from play. This is not about learning by playing games. Rather, this talk posits that learning in school is already a kind of game, but a poorly designed one. The goal is to design a better game, and a better system. What makes for great engagement? Three keys: feeling like you can make choices that matter, being part of something bigger than yourself, and being supported as you develop competence. Great games do this. University courses… not often enough. This talk presents a vision for how university classrooms can be as engaging as good games, and introduces GradeCraft, an application designed at the University of Michigan, that supports “gameful” teaching and learning. We are currently accepting Proposals for Presentation – Call for Presentations

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