Building Formative Assessment into Game-Based Learning (Transcript)
Student: Playing games in school is helping me learn better than I ever had before in any other subject in other schools I've been to in my entire life.
Student: Do we have any more green?
Student: Where's the key?
Student: Wait, so how about the top is right here? I'll start like--
Student: Wait, are we supposed to do it on this side or do we do it on the back?
Teacher: The only thing you're making in this round is a good continent. Possibly an isthmus, if you earn it, islands and peninsulas. So it will be very blank except for your continent name.
To somebody who's never seen Galactic Mappers before, basically it looks like a class-wide map making slash art project, where students are working in teams to build different sections of a gigantic map of the world. The better the students do, the more complex their continent can get, because they will keep earning. And then the more they earn, the more challenging the game becomes. And if they want to have a really fully developed continent, that need to know within them is going to start to seek out this additional information.
Teacher: You have a land mass?
Student: We have one, and then we can make this into another one.
Teacher: Well, that would make you have two continents. Is there another way--
Students: Yes we have another-- we have different people around.
Student: Oh, just cut this out, like here.
Teacher: Okay, group number one and group number five you guys have an isthmus. You need to somehow share that isthmus between the two of you. You guys can communicate amongst yourselves to make that isthmus work.
An embedded assessment is a form of assessing students' knowledge while they're engaged in the learning process. So rather than giving them a test at the end of the unit, we try to find ways of assessing them while the learning is actually happening.
Student: Rubric: your group will be graded on the following qualities, map skills.
Student: It demonstrates clear knowledge of the category and physical geography while playing the game. Being positive in the group, it's up ten points. Yeah, be positive.
Student: Okay, so now what?
Teacher: So what I do in advance is I create a rubric with certain things I'm going to look for. Part of what I'm assessing them does include content knowledge. It includes application of that content knowledge. It also looks at systems thinking and design thinking. And I assess them just by either listening to the types of things that they're saying about the different pieces. So if I can hear a student explain to another student why they want to put certain things in a particular spot or correcting students on certain map technique or something, you know, those are good clues as to that student's depth of knowledge.
Student: Sunny Bacon is a continent where aliens like Kay and Kodos eat a lot. So that's why it's called Sunny Bacon, it's based on breakfast.
Student: Sunny Bacon has a lot of vegetation and hills and a lot of mesas, yeah.
Teacher: Galactic Mappers forces students to use their knowledge of maps to apply it to something that hasn't been created before. So they're designing a map from the ground up, and the maps some of these groups design, they get this done in twenty minutes, you know, in a group of four or five. So it allows them to really make sure that they're properly designing a good map with sensible map components and also incorporating physical geography as well as cartography skills. So Galactic Mappers tests that.
There is a peninsula on this continent. Can you show me where the peninsula is? Excellent job, and you have one other card. I see you have an isthmus card. Where is your isthmus leading to? Where's the isthmus? Very good, excellent.
In the discussion phase of Galactic Mappers, it really gets them to think about maps in a collaborative space and sort of imagine the possibilities of a spot on earth. So it becomes more than just making a map, it's also designing a living, breathing planet, and it gets them to start thinking about the components of that planet in a different way, and the possibilities if we were to put people on this planet.