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6 Tips for Creating Role Playing Games in the Classroom

You’ve read about the many benefits to students when role playing. Maybe you incorporate role play in your classroom already. However, in most role play scenarios, some students will have lead roles and others won’t. Enter the digital age and role playing games where every student is the hero and has the same access to learning. But, what happens when a role playing game doesn’t already exist that meets your learning objectives?

Creating your own role playing adventures might sound daunting, but that’s where tools like the Odeum Creator can help. Seeing your students engaged and helping them build real connections to history can be very rewarding and is not so daunting if you follow a few tips. 

Here are 6 tips to help you meet your learning objectives and engage your students with an immersive role playing game: 

1.  Identify educational outcomes. 

What is the big takeaway you want your students to have when they’ve completed your game? Are you trying to engage students, instill empathy, different perspectives, think critically, or build real connections to a historical event? When you look at your lesson, what are you really wanting your students to understand? Have a clear goal for the learning outcomes helps you stay focused. Write down the learning objectives and make sure for every quest and dialogue you’re advancing these learning outcomes. 

2. Narrow slice or big epic story? 

When you think of Role Playing Games (RPGs) you probably think of big epic games that take months to complete. While games created in Odeum can be any length, we’ve found through classroom testing that creating a game that takes about 20 minutes to complete fits perfectly in a teacher’s lesson. This also allows you to focus on your educational outcomes. That’s not to say you couldn’t create an epic role playing game that takes multiple sessions across multiple weeks to complete. You could also make a series of smaller games all to the same theme/unit. For example, when reading Macbeth, you could have a different Macbeth experience for each act of the play. Each with its own learning objectives. In this way, students could play from different perspectives and different characters in each game. 

3. Bring on the story!

The story is key to providing the motivation for the “why” of the game. Why are we in this world? Why do we need to save it? One of the story themes for Odeum is that players time travel to stop evil doers from altering history. This story premise can be applied to beyond just social studies but to language learning, math, and science.

4. Creating compelling and educational quests. 

Now that you’ve identified your learning outcomes, the size of the game, and some ideas for the story, you’ll want to think about a series of quests that meet your learning objectives and are engaging to students. The key here for role playing is to make it authentic and natural. A quest does not need to have the same objectives as a learning objective but should bring your students closer to your educational outcomes. For example, in teaching the reasons for American Revolutionary war, instead of a quest “Find 1 cause for the war” (which is a learning objective), have a quest “Find out why the colonists are rioting.” This allows the player to organically learn about why the rioters are upset and therefore satisfying the learning requirement.

5. Place nuggets.

History is full of interesting facts and can really come alive when placed into context. When students stumble onto these nuggets in their proper context they are able to make real connections that promote long-term memory. Make sure you take advantage of this. Nuggets can be an entire side quest, embedded into a dialogue of a character, or a clickable item in the world.  

6. Get into the characters. 

When you create the dialogue for characters, roleplay and imagine how they would talk and act. The more believable you make the characters the more your students will be immersed and feel they are really in the historical world you have created. Don’t be afraid to add backstory and small talk. The more real you make it they more they feel they are living and experience it.

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Game-based learning encourages engagement and motivation!

What if you tell your little gamer that they can learn a new language while playing a role-playing game! What do you think their reaction would be? Probably, “Let’s do it!”

When you first enroll in an online courses your enthusiasm is on the roof! You’re excited to learn and try out the new program. However, once the program progresses you lose interest as the boring monotony of it takes over.

In fact, completion rates for online courses are an average of 5-15%. So the challenge for educators is to explore ways to make learning more engaging for students. Studies show that a child’s learning outcome will be heavily improved through engagement and motivation.

Game-based learning is engaging

Engagement in game-based learning is the act of participating in a certain situation with the outcome of belongingness and commitment. 

Motivation in game-based learning is the act of feeling rewarded as you progress in the program with the outcome of being eager to move further.

Experiential learning is the outcome when you play an education role-playing game.

The concept is learning from practice. It is the evolution of the 70:20:10 model by Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinge which states that 70% of the development of an individual happens from experience, 20% of learning is from social and 10% from lectures and structured programs.

A basic example of this is when a child learns how to communicate for the very first time. A child becomes a literate member of society by listening and interacting with the people that surround them. Social interactions involving language that a child experience during play helps build their literacy knowledge.

Role playing is an extension of Experiential Learning

For today’s generation, we see more and more similarities to this approach. Children learn through the advancement in platforms they are accustomed to such as Youtube, game-streaming, and online games. Our role as educators and parents is to ensure that we give them the proper guidance so they watch or play is something that they will learn from.

The best part about learning through experience is that it tends to be more long-lasting than just memorizing modules. At Odeum we strongly believe in making kids love learning by creating real experiences for learning through role playing. We believe that learning is most effective when it is through experience and interaction.

Odeum is currently developing a Chinese Learning Role-playing game (RPG) that immerses students into ancient China where they must survive and save history by learning and speaking Chinese.

Stay tuned and follow our Facebook page to get more updates regarding its release date!

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6 Ways Teachers Benefit from Odeum’s Game Based Learning

There are many game based learning benefits for students discussed in today’s literature including improving critical thinking, memory, and meeting learning objectives due to increased engagement. However, not as much is discussed about the benefits of game based learning (GBL) to teachers. Here are 6 benefits to teachers of using the Odeum platform for game based learning.

  1. Single Library of Game Based Learning Games

According to a recent survey, 80% of teachers have a difficult time finding games aligned to their content. The Odeum platform makes it easy with a single library to search for games by subject, topic, keyword, and grade. Teachers rate and review games to ensure quality. 

2. Student Feedback through constant Assessment 

The Odeum platform provides customizable feedback on student progress. It lets teachers know what concepts, vocabulary, or learning objectives students had difficulty with. It can be used as an assessment to provide teachers with instant and auto-graded feedback. Teachers can use a flipped-classroom approach and assign games as homework. 

3. Class Feedback 

The class dashboard is a single place for a teacher to view assessment feedback on all students. This gives the teacher feedback to determine if they need to re-teach any concepts or move at a faster pace. Class data can be synced up to Google Classroom. 

4. Customization of content and learning objectives 

One problem teachers have in finding games is they don’t always align with a teacher’s curriculum or their student’s needs. All the content in Odeum’s games can be modified, simplified, or expanded on giving the teacher complete control. Quests or learning objectives can be modified or turned off and individual character dialogue can be altered. Have specific vocabulary words you’re working on, simply edit the dialogue to add them in. 

5. Create your own games

If a game or topic doesn’t exist in the library, teachers have the option to create their own. Not every teacher will do this, but if they do, they can share it back to the library for other teachers to use. Creating games in Odeum is easy. Teachers just worry about the educational content, not the 3D environment. The 3D environment is simply connected using drop-down menus. 

6. Seeing your students engaged

Allowing students to explore topics in 3D Virtual Worlds through game-play that is directly aligned to learning objectives allows students to have fun while learning. This positive engagement with a topic allows teachers to see that spark of learning in their students and set them up for a lifelong love of exploring and learning about their world.  

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21st Century Critical Thinking Skills

Today’s student is facing an even more fast-paced and knowledge driven society than what teachers prepared students for just a few years ago. Information is everything, and it is changing at a rapid pace. Students who cannot keep up with new knowledge and who cannot synthesize and parse out what they need to know to successfully complete a real-world task will be left behind. Even more importantly, students who do not know how to analyze an authentic, real-life situation critically will be considered ill-prepared for life and the 21st century workforce. Critical Thinking is one of the most important 21st century skills teachers want to instill on their students.

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Learning from Experience

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