A Course Curriculum is Much Like a Game Level…

I don’t know if I’m a real gamer or not, but I love gaming. I love everything about high quality games, and learned via the classics on all consoles. I’ve never bragged about high scores or mastery at certain characters or levels, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I recall every aspect of playing being a part of that enjoyment. The costumes, the game play, the easter eggs, the graphics, the challenge, the creativity, and how original it was, all being different components that factored into the whole.

With a year’s worth of curriculum, much like a video game level, all components must be working in tangent with each other, so the costumes impact the characters, that work through challenges beautifully arranged in an order that makes sense to cap from a beginning to an end to show progress.

Let’s break that down a bit in comparison.

Video Game needs per level: costumes, setting, challenge, creativity, and rigor

Curriculum needs per annual plan: unit headings, essential driving questions, content ideas and sources, assessment methods, and skills included

Rigor equals skills included.

The difficulties of every game level revolve around the fusion of time frame and location — with story line needs — with the characters and villains.

The difficulties with every curriculum revolve around having students master skills that grade level standards dictate achievable. Everything that is taught, is to foster an environment that enables certain skills to be acquired.

Costumes equals content and sources.

This is the best and most difficult part. What avenues within your subject matter, do you want to entice the learning routes with? How engaging the characters are in any game will eventually lead to the game’s ultimate gamers rating. What genres? What time periods? What wars? What perspectives? What eventual exposure to events and people will foster the initial steps towards intrinsic learning of new information?

Remembering content within subject matter for years to come revolve around the ability to use the skills necessary to truly comprehend the topic of study. Using those skills to assist in learning more, is the essence to making it to the next board.

Essential Questions are the Challenge.

Essential guiding questions foster the challenge. The challenge must ultimately attempt mastery of skills and the knowledge that application of such can lead to. You learn a new move or weapon and it opens areas to new solutions in games. The same goes for progress within a game, however each guided question can revolve around an overarching theme which drives the year.

Having a direction of a world or a time period within a game, makes POV gaming so awesome and possible, yet limited in that regard.

Think of it as 3D versus 2D gaming. Going in many directions in a level makes the completion of such so much more awesome to the gamer because it was their way. Not forwards and backwards like everyone else…

Unit Headings equal the Creativity, and not by default.

Unit headings should be what they organically turn into. But perhaps a selection of many can offer the same path to the same goals?

If you have 4 teachers, who all teach the same class and subject and grade level — do they teach the same things? It may be similar, but not the same. The way each decide to organize, obtain mastery, expose, and engage — is up to themselves to lay out for students.

Why not have all 4 teachers, take their ideas and put them into a format that is obtainable by students at their leisure. Make a weekly menu of questions answered using the content be the unit headings displayed on a menu of choices, and have students choose their own path?

I’ve played crappy games, and amazing ones that I end up playing on and off for years — and I know that the good ones are holistically well rounded, every changing, and creativity on a level that leaves a permanent mark on our minds from play. Let’s get school there now too.

My name is Joe Clausi, and I have over 20 years of experience in secondary education, on both coasts of the United States, and with all kind of schools.

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