Gaming + Passion = Engaged Students by Dr. Robert Pletka

Nationally, student disengagement is a problem in schools. In Fullerton School District we are working to reverse that national norm! We plan to make that change through personalizing student education via ramification.  Sound extreme?  Read on . . . . .
 
 While in primary elementary grades, engagement or active student involvement  rates are close to 70%, those rates decrease with each subsequent year students are in school. By the time, students reach junior high, disengagement rates are 50% .
 
Students often cite school as meaningless and irrelevant as reasons for their life.  Meanwhile, for decades data shows that students learn and retain more of what they learn when they are personally, actively involved in their own learning. 
 
To address these issues of the  irrelevancy of learning  Fullerton School District developed the iPersonalize program. The program utilizes a personalized learning environment to teach California State Standards in Language Arts, Math, and Science with a strategic and gamified use of tools.  Student assessments continue in the gaming program allowing opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery.We call the program “iPersonalize”.
 
 In iPersonalize, similar to a  learning Augmented Reality Game (ARG), students are guided by the storyline utilizing a blended learning environment. Students are able to do the assignments on iPads that access their “quests” while learning standards. In some contexts, teachers do direct instruction of students, however, the role of the teacher is largely one of a facilitator. Students apply their learning in Challenge Based Learning Quests by which students develop products that are more relevant to their lives.  Sometimes their results are shared with a broader community or audience  utilizing social media and community events to showcase student artifacts. For example students might write an essay for their local newspaper or develop an article/video to persuade people to vote.  That student product may be posted on YouTube. 
Students receive bonus  points, badges, and messages of appreciation through the game and are pushed to higher levels of learning.  Through a variety of gamified strategies in assessment and learning, student choice, voice, and achievement are promoted.