Gaming with Grades

March 14th, 2011 llcowell Posted in game theory, observations No Comments »

Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen high school students obsess about their scores via our online records systems, often checking grades 2 and 3 times a period.  The behavior have often seemed more “game-like” than constructive (particularly when instruction is going on!).  Came across this interesting quote yesterday.  Speaks volumes in favor of more formative assessment that is constructive rather than cumulative.  This educational practice would mirror the “practice” venue in video games where students participate (voluntarily and enthusiastically) without the promise of points.   Interesting stuff.

In school, the grading system has created the moral hazard of game play. It has replaced the real reward – learning for learning’s sake – with artificial rewards, these arbitrary letters. And when you replace the real with the artificial, you invite people to game the system and take the actions that would earn them these artificial rewards. — Seth Prierbatsch Keynote @ SXSW 2011

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HUSH: A Vignette of Genocide in Rwanda

February 25th, 2009 llcowell Posted in game theory, HistoryRemix No Comments »

This deceptively simple ‘rhythm’ game created by a student in the USC Interactive Media program packs a powerful message. The object of play is to calm your child by singing a lullaby while the Hutu sweep the area in search of hidden victims. The letters that drop slowly down on the screen must be pressed when they’re at their brightest. Anxiety is heightened as the persistent sounds of death (gunfire and screams) impede on the player’s concentration. Each missed letter results in increasely frantic cries from the baby. The game lasts just minutes, simply impossible to win. The impressions made on th player last much longer!

HUSH:  Rwanda, 1994Download the game here: PC or here Mac

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