In a world where video games and MMORPGs take up a large portion of students’ time, it seems only natural that teachers would begin to incorporate some of the components of these games in their classrooms. Time, technology and price often keep teachers from bringing this technology into the classroom. 3D GameLab is working to overcome the obstacles that keep teachers from incorporating game mechanics in the classroom by offering an affordable system that can transform the way students learn.
What is 3D GameLab?
3D GameLab is a quest-based learning platform. Just as students complete quests and earn rewards while playing video games or popular MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), they complete quests and earn badges for completing educational activities through 3D GameLab. Rather than textbooks and lectures, teachers use the 3D GameLab system to bring text and activities into the game in the form of quests. Students then complete the quests of their choosing and earn badges and awards, level up and try to top the gamer leaderboard.
Learner-Centered, Standards-Based Education
The quest-based learning platform offered by 3D GameLab is learner-centered. In most cases, students will not be completing the same quest or working on the same skills at the same time. Instead, the system is designed to allow students to choose what skills they want to work on by choosing a specific quest to complete. Teachers can align the quests that students complete to the standards, so when they complete a quest and earn a badge, they have reports that they have met a specific standard. This makes it easy to keep track of mastery when students are all working on different quests and skills.
The quests are designed to motivate students by encouraging them to learn at their own pace and take ownership of what they are learning. Students know exactly what it takes to win the game and there are multiple ways to win. They are motivated to play and win because the quests focus more on mastery and specific tasks rather than homework, busy work and one size fits all learning experiences. Some students may be able to master a quest in a few minutes, while it may take others a few days and, with 3D GameLab, that’s okay.
Creating Quests and Curriculum
Initially, deciding to use a platform such as 3D Game Lab can result in more work for teachers. The process of setting up quests and creating activities is a time-consuming one. Sarah P., a teacher at Heatherwood Middle School had trouble keeping up with students when she first began to use the system in her classroom, noting that students were completing quests faster than she could create new ones and were begging to have their quests checked off so they could move on to the next one. While that situation may seem stressful, seeing students anxious to complete their work and to learn something new is exactly what many teachers dream of seeing in their classrooms.
While 3D Game Lab works when it is used every day in a traditional classroom, it is not limited to that environment. Teachers can introduce the system slowly, using it one day a week to help students master a specific set of skills or as part of an after school program where students are reviewing skills or completing enrichment activities.
Teachers also do not have to reinvent the wheel as they create quests. The same websites, online games and other activities teachers use on a regular basis can be incorporated into the quests. Deborah B., a nursing faculty member at Asheville Buncombe Technical College splits full-length articles up among quests to help students get the information without feeling overwhelmed by the length of the text. She includes online videos, games and other resources that she has presented to students in her quests.
As with anything teachers introduce in the classroom, not all students will immediately come on board. However, when teachers introduce quest-based learning through platforms such as 3D Game Lab in their classrooms and take the time to use the platform to its maximum effect, they see results. Students are more motivated to learn, earn better grades and, most importantly, begin to take ownership of what they learn.