One of the videos, Games in Education - How Games Can Improve Schools (see below), made the point that play has to be an act of volition; therefore, games shouldn't be imposed. Students should be able to voluntarily choose to engage in game play, because "to impose games in education would be antithetical to engagement." On the other hand, it is noted that students have a natural desire to play and learn (this is hardwired in us), so it is this curiosity and innate desire to play that should be harnessed. It is felt that teachers can help to harness this curiosity by providing students the opportunity for focussed exploration through the use of games.
The video Gamifying Education (found below) discusses how we can make education more engaging, and one area that is addressed is grading. It is stated that educators tend to use grading systems that are de-motivational and that set up feedback loops to reinforce failure. This means that students begin subjects thinking they are A+ students, but then come to the realization that with every 'failure' the only direction they can go is down. However, with games, it has been shown that "progress encourages progress". Therefore, if assignments are awarded points for completion, and students work their way up by accumulating points, students should feel a greater sense of accomplishment from gaining points rather than losing points. I can directly support this notion, as this is the way OLTD 509 was set up by instructor Avi Luxenburg using 3D GameLab. It has certainly been a very motivational learning approach for me (working up instead of down).
Another topic discussed as being important for engagement is agency. A sense of agency means that students feel they control their own destiny and that their choices matter. Gamifying Education notes that without agency, it is almost impossible for students to feel motivated as they lack long term goals. Furthermore, a sense of agency is said to contribute to resilience, and students who have a sense of agency tend to do better when things don't go their way; they just start working towards their goals again, rather than giving up or being deterred. Therefore, it is felt that games can impart agency, as they can give students the sense of being able to control their future. Students can make choices and therefore control the outcomes of these choices. It is said that this reinforces the idea that "life isn't something that just happens to you". Finally, external motivators are said to be important to keep students engaged and to continue learning beyond school time. Therefore, Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) or other motivators that can get the whole class excited to learn are said to be important; they are about "communal solutions and information scouring", and they help students to learn about other tangentially related topics. This encourages curiosity and helps students to understand how ideas are linked.
- Kill quests - "kill X number of critters" - these quests direct you to more quests like this at your level
- Fetch quests - "go and bring me this thing" - these quests tech you the hubs you need to know about in the zone you are in
- FedEx quests - "go and deliver this thing to this place" - these quests direct you to the next zone you should be in
- Collect quests - "go get X number of things" (often another arbitrary layer on top of a kill quest)
- Escort quests - "usually a variant of the FedEx quests"