Creating Excitement

Like any board game, or video game for that matter, there is an element of excitement.  How do you re-create that in a classroom, especially in classes that students hate…or at least dislike?  How do you create that in your classroom when the administration may not be completely on board?


Creating Excitement Through Disruption

Excitement can be achieved through small and large disruptions in the style of instruction.  By disruptive, I mean anything that is done to break up what may be considered the traditional classroom.  Deviations from the norm might include:

Class held outside of the classroom

Re-arranging the seating in a classroom

Learning that takes place in a non-classroom context

Having students lead portions (or all) of the class

The professor speaking less than two minutes for every hour of instruction

Rewarding and recognizing expected and unexpected outcomes

Creating a sense of friendly competition in the classroom that includes all players.

Making Traditional Learning Objectives Exciting

For inspiration, look no further than any board game or online game you may have ever played.  One of the inspirations for my gamified system is ‘Cranium’.  If you’ve not played it, you should give it a go.

More importantly, look at the challenges you have to do.  Here are a few of mine:preview2_Página_1

What do you notice?  Some are standard questions, and really typical activities found in textbooks, but these have a twist. The twist is what creates the excitement, and generally the more complex, or outlandish the twist, the better the engagement.  Take for example the Creative Genius problem:

Create a name tag that that tells someone everything you might want someone to know about you.

A 3D prototype is required along with an explanation of how it works.

Your facilitators will provide materials for creating the material you might need.  Click the timer to start.

This task provides quite a problem for both the students and the teacher.  It also provides a variety of opportunities for assessments depending on the desired skill sets.  For example, see the rubric from the Global Digital Citizen Foundation. The rubric measures solution fluency.

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How did you and/or your group solve the problem?  Did you find that you did some or most of the things on the rubric? What else could you use this activity for?  What areas might be assessed for language learning?  What else could be added to this task to give the students a fuller (and fun, please!)  experience?

The Twist

story cubes

Rory’s Story Cubes. c.2010 Gamewright


Game-like means just what it says…make it like a game.  It’s your turn.  You and your partners need to come up with a Creative Genius challenge.  This time, you will be given the object, but the twist…or how you word the challenge is up to you.  This time you will only have five minutes to create the question.  The object that your students are to create will determined by which face of the story cube you choose.


We will be grading you according to the rubric above…so, click the timer to get started.

How did you do?  Display your question, then, in groups, you will have five minutes to come up with improvements in everyone else’s question.  Click the timer again to start.  The winner will be the team who had the least number of suggested improvements.  Let’s now go to the future.

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