The Doors’ hypnotic rhythms provide the musical backdrop as students in Chris Haskell’s educational technology class use laptops to work their way through their final quests.
As they complete a task, students can earn a reward or advance to a higher level. The highest rank is “teacher.” That’s what most of these undergraduate students want to become in real life, and along the way they’re among the first to venture into a new teacher-training approach devised by Haskell and Boise State University’s Department of Educational Technology Chairwoman Lisa Dawley.
The two are using the platform to teach those future teachers, and they hope those new teachers, in turn, will use it with their students.
It’s called 3D GameLab and sports the tag line, “Turn your classroom into a living game.”
This August, Dawley and Haskell will host a three-week online summer camp expected to train 500 teachers from across the world, each of whom can use the quest-based gaming platform to teach up to 60 students this fall.
“That’s 30,000 people,” Dawley said. “Eventually, it will easily become millions.”
Owned by Boise State, the platform is in “closed beta” trial mode now but later will go public and “become commercialized in some way, shape, or form,” she said. That could happen as early as next spring.
“We’re exploring the business model behind it now,” she said.
Watch the video to learn more about the platform on eSN.TV
Eventually, Dawley would like to see GameLab take off as a sort of “Facebook for education,” an online social network that would offer basic access to its learning programs for free, worldwide.
To some, applying the lessons of the game “World of Warcraft” to a teacher-training curriculum might seem odd. But it’s really a natural avenue, one that taps into students’ interests and aptitudes, Dawley said.