[Gamification] Game Element #4: Coopetition

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So, I feel like I just need to write something today because I haven’t written in a while.  And this is a game element that I am very interested in using in my class-as-a-game, so here goes.

Coopetition = cooperation + competition

On the cooperation side: I already work on finding or developing good group work tasks.  I look for tasks that have a low entry point, a well defined goal, and an “Open Middle”.  This way, I can get lots of buy in on the front end because it’s easy to get started, and I also get lots of different strategies for reaching the goal.  So the group work part comes easily. I have students who used different strategies share with each other and/or the whole class through short presentations.  What I need to improve is the collection of these strategies and presentations.  I want the students to bring everything together in a wiki or something, the same way gamers do when they share walkthroughs and tips.

On the competition side:  I really don’t do this at all yet.  I’ve never been good at creating a fun, competitive atmosphere, but I know it can be useful for motivation so I want it.  My first thought on competition is usually head-to-head games.  Like a “Quiz-up” competition, or a physics card game.  We played “Heads-up” with the iPads a few weeks ago and it went really well.  The kids love playing this game!  So I put some simple physics questions in and they played with just as much enthusiasm as they showed when playing the pop culture or celebrity categories.  This says to me that it’s the game play and the competition element that they are into, not necessarily the content.  If you haven’t seen your kids playing Heads Up, check out the game play here.

I also think this may be where my XP/Leaderboard system will be useful, as I will need to track completion of the “coopetition” activities.  With a good XP system set up, I can have different categories for leveling or prizes, and hopefully encourage the cooperation and competition aspects of the game.  For instance:

“Your team must attain 500XP to reach level 3 on this topic”

For this one, students would be relying on their teammates to acquire at least part of the XP needed to move to the next level.  So, if I can get students to want that next level, they’ll need to work together to get there.  And as long as I give XP for a variety of tasks, I can maintain the “choose your own adventure” feel to the class, while still leading students through a progression of topics.

“To receive this badge, you must complete 5 entries in the class wiki”

This is an example of an individual accomplishment, but one that requires a product that’s all about collaboration. Hopefully, students would want to complete the activity for a variety of reasons.  They might want the XP to move up the leaderboard, they might want their name to appear on the class wiki the most, they might want the badge to display on their binder, or they might want to “save the lost spaceship” before anyone else.  But whatever their reason for wanting to clear the obstacle, they’ll need to collaborate to make it happen.

Coopetition.

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