Gamification: Star Trek Science

The video below shows a teacher transforming his class into a game by embedding a story and using quests. He had the students imagine that they were part of the Star Trek Enterprise with a goal to do science missions in different parts of the galaxy. These missions are directly connected to topics covered in their science curriculum. An example he provided was a topic on volcanoes. His students would study volcanoes on earth and then travel to a planet that was experiencing a volcanic emergency.  Their mission would be to provide advice on the evacuation methods that was most appropriate based on the situation on the alien planet.

Initially, I wanted to complete this quest at the beginning of the course, but glad I waited before making comments in my blog. It gave me a chance to go through the quests in our course to better understand a class designed as a game.  With that in mind, I can imagine the Star Trek Science Class having multiple types of quests related to volcanoes. This would allow students to pick the activities to learn based on their personal preferences and gain experience points while doing them.  This particular class did not use Second Life but had it been an online class using this software would be good fit.  It would help to embed the story in a virtual environment.  Second Life has a high learning curve especially for creating a customized virtual world, but the advantage is an unlimited creative possibility of story and matching virtual world to capture the user’s imagination.  To begin this kind of project I would read some books or watch movies to generate ideas.  I would also ask help from creative writers, specialists in Second Life, game and instructional designers.  It would be a fun project to work on.

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