The Moment My Gamified Classroom Almost Failed

Back in August (ouch…its been a long time) I decided I would take a huge leap and share my gamification planning process. I had big plans. I would start by sharing my planning process and then throughout the months to come I would continue sharing by giving others deeper insight on my process. I decided to start by sharing the process of how I create my game and what goes on in my head when I am creating it. I recorded my process, components I consider and my thinking. I finished what was going to be the first in a series and proudly typed “ This is the first part in “My Gamification Process Series” (I’ll be recording and sharing my entire process as I create this year’s game)”. I hit the publish key.

….then there were crickets.

Nothing.

No more blog posts.

I could tell you that I was super busy. That motherhood and after school activities were sucking away any free time I had. That I was working full time. Or even that I was busy getting to know a classroom full of new students and planning this year’s curriculum… but that wouldn’t be the whole truth. You see as soon as I pressed the publish key on that Part 1 post I excitedly began to build my new game. I created the first level of it. I even unveiled it to my new classes with a trailer for it. I was on a mission to up my gaming game!

I smiled and was filled with energy as my students built their avatars on the first days of school. As the weeks went on I watched proudly as they earned points and began to purchase powers for their Jedi Padawans. I teased and filled them with curiosity with the promise of great Padawan adventures in their future, “WOW! That is an awesome power! OOOOOO wait until you see what you get to use it for!”

….but deep down inside I had a secret. I had the beginning of a game but absolutely no ideas for where my game was going to go. Deep down inside I was lost.

Weeks went on and the Part 2 post nagged at me, “Write me Carrie, share your journey!” “but I have no story to share. I’m lost,” I would whisper back to myself and then think, “How could I write a post sharing with others about my process, if I had no direction, no guidance, no answers…if I had no ideas to share. If I was failing at creating my own game!”

Then it happened….

One day on my drive to work (it’s a 45minute drive each way for me…lots of time to think each day) I was going through my game in my head, thinking and rethinking about where I could take it (something that I had been doing for weeks).

Then it hit me.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know where I wanted to take the game. I was that I wasn’t letting myself take the game where it needed to go.

You see all summer I had been talking, chatting, connecting with and learning from some ridiculously amazing educators who also gamify their classrooms. I had worked hard to become a student of the game. I spent time reading and learning all about gamification so I could up my own gamification game. My fellow gamifiers shared ideas and all the awesome they were doing in their classrooms. I admired the games they created, I was (I still am) in awww of their creativeness and I wanted to have their gaming abilities. All summer they inspired me and made me want to to push my own game creating skills. So as the new school year approached I told myself, I made it my mission to push my gamification comfort level. I was really going to stretch my creativeness and my comfort zone with this year’s game. None of my fellow gamifiers used a board game in their game like I had liked to use in my classroom. So I had told myself I was going to “graduate” from this “baby game” (aka my board game) and create a more virtual /living game. A game board would not be part of my game any more.

It wasn’t until this drive that I had realized something very important about myself and about my game. It wasn’t until this moment in my car that I learned to truly own a powerful part of my gamification and an incredibly powerful part of my creative journey…

My way isn’t their way and that is ok

My way is my way because it is what works for me and that’s ok

My way isn’t the way they create, it is my way and that is totally ok

My way is my way because that is where I am in my journey

My way is my way but it is still valuable, forward thinking and creative

My way is my way because it what works for my students

My way is my way and that still makes it equally as awesome

obiquoteThat night when I got home I knew I needed to do. I pulled out my computer and started creating the game board for my gamified classroom.

As I stare at the game board that has become an integral part of my gamified classroom I smile and know that my idea of sharing my gamification process has not died…not even a little. My desire to share my thinking behind how I gamify my classroom, my process and where my ideas all come from is stronger than before (I still plan on sharing Part 2 of my gamification process the part when I finally figured it all out…at least where I am so far). This experience has been a powerful reminder to me that while goals and missions are integral parts of improving and pushing my skills, valuing my individual creative style is equally important. That creating my way doesn’t make it wrong or less or inferior…it just makes it where I am in my journey, it makes it different, it makes it my way and that…is ok!

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