Cube is a game about Google Maps
This lesson plan represents a hypothetical re-imagining of the Capstone project when game mechanics and motivational strategies are incorporated. This game based lesson addresses aspects of my research interests while delivering the information in a gaming format.
My efforts focus on empowering indigenous people through technology, principally by using a suite of free Google tools. I’m interested in determining effective ways to teach these tools to indigenous counterparts, especially through gamifications of real-life tools.
This lesson provides training in Google Maps, using Cube, a gamified version of Google Maps with eight levels of increasing difficulty. Each level takes place in a geographically distinct global location and uses a Google Maps feature as the game element. The amount of time it takes to complete the challenge is provided upon completion of each level. Playing Cube is a fun and engaging way for users to learn about the wide range of features of Google Maps. Rather than reading a long feature list, learners play their way through to understanding.
1) Pacing: What is the pace of your lesson or game? Who will go first?
The complete game of Cube consists of eight levels. Levels are played one at a time. Learners play together on the same level, but individually on their own devices. When all students have completed a level, individual times are tallied and the class moves on to the next level. If deemed appropriate to the situation, a running total of each student’s time can be tallied after each level is completed.
Bike routes in San Francisco is one of the early levels.
The time is displayed upon completion of each level.
2) Instructions: How will your learners learn how to play your game?
The teacher will direct the learners to the very simple instructions provided by Cube at the start of the game.
3) Controls: What will the learners manipulate in your game?
Learners will control the position of a blue ball rolling about on the gamified Google Maps-like interface. The position and movement of the blue ball is determined by controlling the angle and tilt of the cube with their cursor (via mouse or trackpad).
4) Knowledge: What do you expect your learners to know when they enter the game? What do you want them to learn from this game based lesson? What do you expect them to know when they leave?
When they enter the game, learners should have basic computer skills and some familiarity with Google Maps. From this game based lesson, students will learn about the wide range of Google Maps features, including (1) basic navigation, (2) bike paths, (3) traffic layer, (4) subway lines, (5) road network, (6) restaurant reviews, and (7) check-ins. When students leave the game, they will know the fundamentals of accessing and utilizing the Google Maps features that were introduced in the game.
5) Achievements: What are the short term and long term victories for the learner? How do you incorporate operant conditioning in your lesson?
Students achieve short term victories as they complete each level, gain familiarity with Google Maps features, and compare completion times among classmates. A long term victory is achieved when learners complete all eight levels and gain basic proficiency in Google Maps. Operant conditioning centers on the possible consequences of not being able to complete any level. In some cases it may be necessary that students work together to meet the objectives of the lesson.
6) Story: What is the immersive story or background information that brings the learner deep into your world?
Each level has it’s own immersive story taking place in a distinct location and with distinct learning objectives. The stories are introduced at the start of each level.
7) Endgame: Who is the evil boss character they have to fight at the end? What is the final outcome? Is there an ending to your game?
Some possible “evil boss characters” in this game based lesson are not being able to complete a level or in taking much longer than fellow classmates. Considering each level as a separate game with distinct learning objectives, the final outcome of each is to complete the task and learn one or more Google Maps features. Each level ends when the task is completed. The whole Cube game ends when the final level is completed. The final outcome of the game is to have learned a variety of Google Maps features.
8) Assessment: What are the built in assessments to your game?
Assessments are built right into the game Cube. When the objectives of a level are met, a pop-up confirms the completion and provides the time spent. Students could be required to provide screenshots of each level’s completion pop-up with the time included.
9) Timing: What is the overall time you have to play this game and how do you adjust to make the game go faster or slower?
As a baseline, there should be one hour allocated to complete this lesson. The game could be made to go faster by having students work independently of their classmates. They would complete each level as fast as possible and move on to the next. They would compete to finish all eight levels in as little time as possible. The game could also be made to go faster by focusing only on select levels. The game based instruction could focus on just those levels which taught specific skills determined to be more important for certain learners or situations.
To make the game go slower, the actual objectives to be completed at each level, typically reaching certain places with the blue ball, could be modified to be more lengthy and challenging. At each level, students could be required, for example, to also navigate the blue ball to the highest building or the biggest park. Students would need to provide screenshots as evidence of meeting these additional objectives.
10) Fun and Motivation: Why is this game fun and why would your learners like this game? What motivation theory does your lesson address? What operant conditions are in place?
There are many reasons why the game Cube is fun and learners will like it. The game is immersive and interactive. The different levels facilitate an ever-changing diversity of learning environments, stories, and objectives. Each level offers an immersive geographical perspective into a well-known global destination.
Students will be motivated by competing with their classmates, and also by the sense of accomplishment from learning new Google Maps skills. Learners will be motivated to return to the game in an effort to improve their time and compare these with their classmates. When collaborative opportunities arise, students will be motivated by team dynamics and positive reinforcement from fellow classmates.