Gaming the System: Can We Get Students Excited about General Education?
Teach Gen Ed classes? You teach what you teach because you love it and you KNOW it is important. Yeah, me too. But let’s face it, most of our students take our classes because they have to. They’re “getting their generals” and at best they’re mildly interested. At worse, they’re looking to have one more box checked off on their transcript with the least possible effort. So how do we engage them in the material and convince them that their general education classes give them the skills to succeed in whatever it is they want to do? One way might be to use game mechanics, the characteristics that make game players involved, excited and willing to work long and hard to achieve a goal. Come discuss the possibility of developing a college-wide Gen Ed game that would encourage students to use skills from math, science, social and behavior sciences, art, history and critical thinking in pursuit of an epic win.

In this session we discussed the concept of the alternate reality game, how ARGs are used to create "serious games" that teach real-world skills and concepts, and how we might use an ARG at Yavapai College to promote general education outcomes.

Resources for those interested in pursuing this topic:

You are welcome to check out my own personal learning environment/blog, where I have collected various and sundry links, presentations, videos and other information about ARGs.

By all means, read Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, by Jane McGonigal. It is this book that really got me interested in games in education. Another author to check out is James Gee, who has written several books on video games and education.

In this session we watched a short video about one of the most successful and innovative ARGs yet created: World Without Oil.