Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stewart Parker Gamifies World Cultural Geography

I recently connected with Stewart Parker, a high school social studies teacher from Florida who is interested in the potential of gamification in education.  We engaged in a great conversation a few weeks ago about Flipped Learning, gamification, augmented reality... you name it.  It is clear how passionate he is about education and that he is doing the most to improve his instruction and the students' learning environment.

I then asked him to provide me with a brief synopsis of his plan to gamify his flipped courses.  In his reply, I realized that he is not only adding some game elements, but creating a rich narrative that provides context and relevance to the course!  Here is his response:

Tom-

     I'm excited about the potential gamification will add to my World Cultural Geography classroom.  I plan to create a game that allows the students to travel throughout the world while learning about various cultures and helping solve geographic issues throughout the world.  They will work to stop deforestation in South America or desertification in Africa. They will help cities in Asia deal with issues of monsoon rains or typhoons.  

     For the past few years, I have found the students engagement in the course dwindle. I wanted to find a way to get them excited about geography and various cultures around the world.  I am concerned if the students will find the game interesting enough to sustain it all year long.  I find high school students can be cynical about anything that changes the status quo. For this to be successful, the game needs to be interesting and engaging. That's what scares me the most trying to reimagine my classroom in a new way. I do, however, believe that gamification can bring a positive change in my class.

     I am excited about the potential gamification has for the students in my class and school!

- Stewart

If interested in connecting with Stewart, he can be found on Twitter @ParkersGeocats.  I highly suggest adding him to your PLN as he is a great resource and yet another passionate educator doing his best for kids!