Classroom Game Design: Paul Andersen at TEDxBozeman

Classroom Game Design: Paul Andersen at TEDxBozeman


Hello, my name is Mr. Anderson and my classroom is a video game I can’t think of a better way to start a story better than Alice falling down the rabbit hole and she comes upon a bottle and the bottle says simply “Drink me” and so I am a teacher, so I wanna try to recreate that so what I did is I left my computer in my class and I had angry birds on it and then I had a card next to it and it simply said the word “play” and then I walked away but I want to see what happened so I left the webcam on so I got a little video that kids come into class so… Would you like to see that? (Audience: Yeah!) Yeah… As if you have an option Ha… Yeah… I love how they take turns And I love Jackson’s eyes if you watch him Yes! Success! So that look in his eyes, that look of learning try something new and failing and try it again is something we inspired to see in the eyes of our kids we don’t do that, a lot of the time it’s glazed over look and so I want to try to apply some of these dynamics into my classroom so I grew up in 1980s playing video games, and these video games taught me lessons that I think we could apply to schools today the first thing I learned, is the video games are fun and school should be fun as well unfortunately, most kids wouldn’t say their school day is fun however there are elements of school that all students love they love seeing their friends, and they love learning unfortunately they spend most of the day, just passively sitting down in front Sitting, listening to a teacher lecture¶ so I think school should be fun second thing I learned, is that failure is OK If it takes you 8 times to clear the third elevator stage in donkey kong, that’s OK failure is simply part of a learning process however, in schools, we tend to stigmatized failure you don’t take a quiz over and over and over agian until you finally pass it in fact, failure individuals right now, failure in schools is highly stigmatized. so I think we need to send a message that failure is OK! The third thing I learned is the importance of leveling This could be applied in schools in two ways When a teacher decides to move in a specific pace that’s ok for some of the students in their class but some of the students are automatically to be bored some of the students are quickly gonna be confused so I think students should be able to move on their own pace through mastery system where they master a level and they can move on to the next one they also should be able to level up becoming more powerful as they learn new material in the class I also think that, we give the wrong lecture at the beginning of the year as I said the lecture at the beginning of the year, I would say, You all have an A, from this point forward, you will fall precipitously , until eventually you land your final grade no game will ever be designed this way so one of the great thing to be a great teacher is you have a summer break Summer break is great because you get a break from school, but you also can reinvent your class make it something that’s never been before if you try to do that during the year, if you try to make a radical changes, kids will just simply be confused but if you change it during the summer, you make huge, swiping changes in your class the kids will never know what hit them So, this was my dream. I wanted to reinvent my class as a video game but i didn’t want kids just sit in front and watch the video game like Oregon Trail where the world in common Sandiego I want to take them in most compelling elements of gaming, then applied in the classroom this took a lot of work, and so I had created a class, it’s called “Biohazard 5″ It’s got narrator, got the narrative, all the kids come together there I’ve created about 150 podcast that take them through the lecture and so when they get that point, they get kind of learned I have all the special activities in class that kids can applied the material that we’re learning in the real world I have a bunch of inquiry labs, this one right here, is a photo of synphetheis lab you can see my students very riveted they’re studying photo synthesis using little chop we cut from a leaf I’ve developed hundreds of questions that I have a mastery where the system students can take quizzes over and over and over again until they finally get it I have a leveling system so they start with zero experience point at the beginning of the year I borrowed this from Lee Sheldon in the University of Indiana so basically they coming on day 1 I invented the button level as the primordial soup cause I teach Biology So they gain their experience point, and they can move their way up like dumble octpus, and mountain gorilla, and maybe grand master at the end I also have a leader board, so they play with the avatar and they can see how they’re doing in the class how they’re doing to against everybody else this is the most popular resource in the class kids are constantly logged in and see how they’re stacked up I also got a piloting set that of a iPad so kids got an internet connected devices at all times Finally, the summer was over and I stood in front of the class Like this, apparently [laugh] and I said Hello, my name is Mr. Anderson and my class is a video game, so what I want you to do is grab an iPad I want you to logging into Biohazard 5 I want you to watch a video, I want you to do some reading I want you to take a quiz, and head off the class now if I have done this with my students’ parents that would be the most frustrating day of my life but the kids grew up with the technology and the technology today simply works so they were headed off on their own So my class, is a learning classroom if you come in, you’ll find the kids are reading, watching videos, applying, doing special activities, trying to solve challenges, working together or working alone so it’s really need at the teacher come we were just talking in the half way through the class he said ” well you created is like a shop class” cause he was a shop teacher once he said the shop teacher, you teach them some skills and the kids can apply that so it’s like that I would love to keep telling you how great it is how the test score seem to be going up and how the kids learning how to learn independently but I am a science teacher and that’s not what get us excited in science, what gets us excited is discovering something new so I wanna talk about 3 ways that I failed Number 1 a conventional classroom is like a school bus where all the students were all logged in they just get on and the teacher is like the bus driver and it drives from point A to point B you can make sure that all the students get there so what I have done is like I get each of them a brand new car, keys, and I said “Drive” so some of them stalled out and some of them raced ahead and some of them drove right into a wall so I need to get them more scaffolding next year next thing I learned is the importance of reading kids struggled with reading when you make your class independant and I should’ve seen this coming because this is the biggest indicator of success and I think the reason I didn’t see it coming is that I never stopped talking, because that’s what good teachers do we read the book, and then we come out with really good examples then we present it in a really dynamic way and the kids can just sit there and then they can learn it why would they want to read the book? we read it for them so when I forced them to read the book a lot of them struggled and we have to work with that the last thing I learned, is that we’re not Vulcans In the most recent star trek movie young Spock sits in a little module and he surrounded by computer screens and the computer keeps throwing questions at him, and philosophy, and relativity and that’s his school day, just sits in a module like that so a lot of people think they can change education by somehow use videos or automating the learning process that sucks, who would want to be at a school like that? kids are coming to school to be social so I add elements of social learning at the class to make it more compelling This is a TED talk, all the good TED talks always end with a call to action so what can you do? I think schools need to move from a passive teacher-centered learning environment to an active student centered environment that’s what I did I was off to the side now, there’s a mentor in the class so how do we do that? If you are a student, you get feedback to your teachers, everything I do in my class all I got is a result of feedback I got from my students what you do if you are a parent? Your write an email if you want your schools to change the only emails I get from parents are complaining about their students grades I never get “My students had an A in your class, but I have a problem with the philosophy in your class” that doesn’t happen, so message you are sending to teachers is that the grade is the only thing that’s important but maybe you’re not a parent, and maybe you’re not a student but you are human so what’s the lesson? what’s in the bottle? what’s in there it’s your passion, it’s the one thing you wanna do can you figure out what my passion is? I love my family and I love teaching and if you can drink that bottle, also remembering to fail, learn and repeat the process over again, then I think you’ll have a life worth living

66 thoughts on “Classroom Game Design: Paul Andersen at TEDxBozeman

  1. Really good, I always thought about it, our kis have to learn how to play and apply their knowledge. Yes we need to redesign our video games platforms to a platform of learning, this ideia is excellent, if you can not change your school system to do that, do not worry I think you can do it alone and apply it to your needs, this is what I do with me and it works.

  2. Very well done.  I use that technique in my college courses and find, as you have, the difficulty students have with reading.  I find that they struggle with sentence interpretation.  I have them work in groups where each group simulates an independent game company.  In my evaluations students will say that I do not teach.  They are correct, I just create an environment to help them learn. 

  3. I wish that when I get kids I hope they get a teacher like you! I'm reading biologi now and I'm watching your vids and there great even if there in the wrong language 😉

  4. I'm a school Teacher & you are one of my Inspiration (you know after Einstein)…..I love the way you teach big complicated topics in simple short videos.

  5. I clapped for you, in my living room, by myself, after that speech. Way to go! That was such a great message and I love the way you tied in the Alice in Wonderland metaphor back into the conclusion. Your podcasts on youtube have helped me so much this semester with my Biology 101 class. Thank you for being you. The world needs more passionate, intelligent, and creative people in it. Well done sir.

  6. my teacher regularly assigns us to watch his videos. he is AMAZING. everything is so clear in his videos…but I'm talking about his Bio courses though, haha…

  7. I once wrote an assignment on gamification in the classroom after reading an article on the psychology of gaming and why its addictive and how can we use that in a classroom setting.  Needless to say I failed that assignment, yet here we are with people in the real world showing how it can work.  I will definitely be putting more time into this approach to prepare myself, my students, and hopefully my school, to develop a 'school game'..

  8. I will be making my second attempt at Classroom Game Design this school year and this video is educational and inspirational.  Thank you!

  9. This guy is an absolutely phenomenal teacher….. and an even better orator. I just hope more people listen to him because he knows the effective methods in TODAY'S generation. 

  10. This was absolutely fascinating – as a 16 year old student I would give a lot to be taught like this, I'll use what I've learnt to progress my own learning, thank you.

  11. i don't se how having a flat out ranking system in your class could lead to anything good, but as an individual, this is how I've always wanted school to be like.

  12. Hello teacher.
    I'm an English teacher and I teach by using video games in class. Games such as Zelda, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Just take a look of my channel and I'll be more than satisfied to serve you as a server of goodness.

  13. This sounds awesome to me, BUT it does not tell me "how " to do this. I teach middle school math and I would LOVE to use gaming to teach my curriculum. I am willing to spend the time this summer creating if I just knew where to start and how to go about it. Is there a way I can actually see what you have done and how it works?

  14. Really his method of teaching is very informative and at same time not boring. He revolutionize the art of teaching.. Salute to Mr. Andersen i hope we become like you. Cheers

  15. I think that we need to shift the focus towards teaching 'failing' as a positive thing because its how we learn. Succeeding 'all' of the time is not how we learn.. rather its how we feel when we have 'learnt'.

  16. Paul, I admire your ability to reinvent your class during the summer. That's a really unique idea you got there: to make your class a video game. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Your podcasts are amazing sir. I have learnt so much from your videos. I wish i could be there in your actual classroom for learning different methods to teach science.

  18. Lots of love from India .Your videos are helpful for many people here who can't afford expensive coaching .

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