SuperPhi Bonus Quests & Achievement Badges: Game-Based Learning 3

The Heartland in Pandaria’s Valley of the Four Winds is a vegetable-lover’s delight with its giant carrots and squash, purple pumpkins, and leafy greens. But watch out! Munching in several fields are the most vicious rabbits I’ve ever had the misfortune to bump into. In Philand we have our own vicious creatures, at least in the hostile territories surrounding the capital. Yes! the Phier trainees (students) did embrace the bonus quest I mentioned in my previous post and asked for more. They seem eager to flesh out the Philand narrative and help create this fantasy world, which is our playground for applying and evaluating social-political philosophical thought.

Purple pumpkins grown in The Heartland (WoW)

I was glad to agree to post a bonus quest each week. However, after receiving the second bonus quest, a few students apparently spent more time on fantasy than philosophy; so I informed the group that I would unlock the third quest after follow-up work from a raid (applied philosophy) was accomplished, work on which they were dragging their heels – and the work got done in a timely manner. Unlocking bonus quests on the condition of completing necessary work is a practice I will probably continue.

Giant carrots, with their root tops taller than my toon, grow in The Heartland (WoW)

For the bonus quests so far, students have created vivid maps of Philand and its territories (cartographer badge); placed Philand and its star-system in a galaxy (astronomer badge); and described administrative leaders and their duties, including a cabinet of sorts (executive branch organizer badge). Each of these quests required the use of images along with text. Most students used found images; and one student, MidNight, earned a special Video Astronomer badge for producing a charming YouTube video for his images. Praise from his colleagues may have led him to include another video as part of his mission quest on Plato’s Forms of Government. MidNight now holds the title Philand Filmmaker.

The Temple of the White Tiger in Pandaria (WoW)

Creating achievement badges is something I rather enjoy. Pretty much I follow the World of Warcraft model of awarding badges after students have shown substantial progress or accomplished something epic. Progress badges, for example, include “Five Badges Earned,” “Busy as a Beaver” (after earning 1000 XP), and “Gaming Giants” (for completing all the quests in the first four missions, which focused on philosophical “giants”). Epic or special badges have included “I Did It My Way” for a student who blended creativity and scholarship in an exemplary PowerPoint on John Stuart Mill’s political views and “Let’s Get Connected” for another student who stylishly completed all four quests for “Mission 3: Reconnecting” in record time

Farming giant green squash in The Heartland (WoW)

To create a badge, I simply use clip art or Google stylized images, frame the image, give it a title, and include the student’s name and the date accomplished. I keep a running list of badges earned on the SuperPhi Achievement Scroll and send the scroll to students once a week. When a student earns five badges (two have so far), she or he receives an individualized scroll.

Lotoa off to mine ore on her dragon Phlox (WoW)

Like World of Warcraft achievements, these badges have no experience point (XP) value; in other words, receiving a badge does not affect students’ grades (at least not directly). Rather, badges publicly acknowledge students’ accomplishments, and in this way, I hope, add to students’ incentive to do good, timely work. I like to imagine that when they receive a badge, they experience a fiero moment and express it with an energetic fist pump :^).

Now I’m going back to The Heartland, which is rich in ore as well as vegetables, where I plan to mine ghost iron ore – this time without getting killed by a vicious swarm of rabbits.

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About Lotus Greene

I started the blog called "Educating Lotus" in 2011, shortly after I began exploring the virtual world Second Life. With friends I met there, I migrated my virtual life to World of Warcraft (WoW) and joined an educators' guild. Lotus Greene is my gamer name, one I kept when I started another blog in 2015 called "Not Quite Ignored," which originally focused on the lighter side of news. For a year I didn't blog at all - just didn't get around to it. Lots has changed since then: for one thing I'm now completely retired from teaching; for another, the U.S. political climate has grown darker. I return to blogging with, among other things, the goals of providing "Political News in Brief" every week or so in "Not Quite Ignored" and in "Educating Lotus" occasionally posting screenshots and reflections on aspects of Legion, WoW's most recent and quite exciting expansion.
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