For those of you just starting out in the gamified classroom I wanted to share what my game planning looks like.

It is easy to get caught up in the polished final product that you see on Pinterest, shared through Social Media, or in a published book. Don’t get caught up in other people’s final products. These are highly curated examples and we don’t always get to see the mess ups, mistakes, and flops. We also don’t often get to see all of the planning and iteration that goes into the creation of a class game. May and June are the time of year when I reflect on the past year and start crafting next year’s curriculum and game.

Honestly – It is a process of writing every idea down and then seeing how all the ideas play together. Here is what a week or so looks like.

At some point I start crafting the actual rules of the class game, the win stakes, and how I think the game will go. Throughout the process I am reflecting on last year’s class but am also drawing on about 10 years of gamified experience. The notebook pictures don’t include the Google Drive Files, the spreadsheets, the post-it notes, or the conversations that I have going on in my head. There is a lot of truth to this meme:

What progress looks like - Transparency and Accountability Initiative

This process is a lot like being a cartographer. Over the years I have been creating a roadmap – adding details, offramps, dead ends, and destinations. If I get off track I can reflect on gamification principles and hopefully find my way back toward my destination. It is easy to look for gamified recipes and it is possible to follow someone else’s plan for success. The problem with following a recipe though is that when the inevitable problem occurs it is hard to get to success. Everything has to go perfectly for the recipe to come out right. Classrooms are messy though and without the ability to get a little lost, to have a few misturns, and still find your way back the class will flop. One of my goals with this blog is to help folks understand gamification theory and my practical applications. In this way I hope to help people see the theory behind the mechanics, how they work in practice, and what can be done if things get off track.

So, embrace the mess!

Get lost in the unknown and try to find your way back!

There are plenty of guides in the gamification world to help you find your way back!