Gamification + Collaboration: Introducing Global Game Strategists
By Jake Parmley
Level Up Village is combining gamification with its mission to globalize the classroom in its recently introduced course: Global Game Strategists. In the course, students will play a game called SEED, an educational, dice-based adventure about protecting Earth’s natural resources.
The action in SEED can be compared to adventure games, like ‘Pokémon Go!’ or ‘Dungeons & Dragons.’ However, SEED’s unique gameplay systems have been built from the ground up with education in mind. Within the Global Game Strategists course, students will do the following:
- Complete challenges that involve solving formulas, calculating percentages and probability, determining averages and measuring stats
- Develop strategies to solve problems alone and as part of a team
- Create their own characters and unlock game-changing skills
- Collaborate with Global Partners to share ideas, game and life experiences and more
- Explore fun facts about trees and discover the importance of being environmentally sensitive
New Methods of Engagement
I am fascinated by the educational implications of games, including phenomena like ‘Pokemon Go!’ With that in mind, I worked with Erin Dowd, Director of Curriculum at Level Up Village to create SEED: an adventure role-playing game that focuses on the educational cornerstones seen in all of LUV’s enrichment courses.
While designing the course, we viewed education and “play” as one in the same. This meant designing gameplay systems in which problem solving and player action are inseparable. For example, if a student wants to check the surrounding area to discover which enemy type they’ll encounter, they must solve a math formula. Similarly, students are tasked with solving three additional formulas when determining Attack strength, Defense strength, and Speed.
These formulas are given context through the game’s battle mechanics to keep students engaged. To scale difficulty for older students, more variables or additional PEMDAS functions can be added to the equations!
In Global Game Strategists, students answer several questions related to percentages and probability:
- What percentage of your attacks hit enemies during your first encounter?
- What was the average strength of your defense?
- What is the probability of facing a Mantis enemy type, or rolling a higher speed than your opponent?
SEED provides context for mathematical concepts and helps students devise and analyze strategies. Strategies are carried out as students upgrade characters and unlock new skills. Based on past successes and failures during play, students can improve their character and adjust strategies to prevent shortcomings moving forward. This upgrading process embodies elements of a growth mindset and is baked into player progression.
Players also work in teams of 3-4 to take down powerful opponents together. In doing so, they discover how strategies can complement each other. Certain skills can heal teammates, or empower them by increasing their Attack strength. Players will also collaborate with Global Partners by sharing character designs, strategies and stats. They’ll even team up to unlock badges that help improve their score! These “group problem solving” scenarios allow peers to actively collaborate and strategize with each other to find what works best for a team.
Level Up Village fosters authentic global connections via video messages, shared project files and collaboration. By establishing this connection, LUV is helping schools prepare the next wave of global citizens – students with a worldly perspective built from meaningful relationships with global partners. Our goal with Global Game Strategists is to expand this process and strengthen these connections through “play.” The result is a game that encourages players to problem solve, strategize, create and collaborate – skills that will no doubt be needed as young minds face new global challenges.
For information on how to bring Global Game Strategists to your school, fill out the LUV contact form.