Classroom Game Design: Paul Andersen at TEDxBozeman


Hello, my name is Mr. Anderson and my classroom is a video game I can’t think of a better way to start a story better than Alice falling down the rabbit hole and she comes upon a bottle and the bottle says simply “Drink me” and so I am a teacher, so I wanna try to recreate that so what I did is I left my computer in my class and I had angry birds on it and then I had a card next to it and it simply said the word “play” and then I walked away but I want to see what happened so I left the webcam on so I got a little video that kids come into class so… Would you like to see that? (Audience: Yeah!) Yeah… As if you have an option Ha… Yeah… I love how they take turns And I love Jackson’s eyes if you watch him Yes! Success! So that look in his eyes, that look of learning try something new and failing and try it again is something we inspired to see in the eyes of our kids we don’t do that, a lot of the time it’s glazed over look and so I want to try to apply some of these dynamics into my classroom so I grew up in 1980s playing video games, and these video games taught me lessons that I think we could apply to schools today the first thing I learned, is the video games are fun and school should be fun as well unfortunately, most kids wouldn’t say their school day is fun however there are elements of school that all students love they love seeing their friends, and they love learning unfortunately they spend most of the day, just passively sitting down in front Sitting, listening to a teacher lecture¶ so I think school should be fun second thing I learned, is that failure is OK If it takes you 8 times to clear the third elevator stage in donkey kong, that’s OK failure is simply part of a learning process however, in schools, we tend to stigmatized failure you don’t take a quiz over and over and over agian until you finally pass it in fact, failure individuals right now, failure in schools is highly stigmatized. so I think we need to send a message that failure is OK! The third thing I learned is the importance of leveling This could be applied in schools in two ways When a teacher decides to move in a specific pace that’s ok for some of the students in their class but some of the students are automatically to be bored some of the students are quickly gonna be confused so I think students should be able to move on their own pace through mastery system where they master a level and they can move on to the next one they also should be able to level up becoming more powerful as they learn new material in the class I also think that, we give the wrong lecture at the beginning of the year as I said the lecture at the beginning of the year, I would say, You all have an A, from this point forward, you will fall precipitously , until eventually you land your final grade no game will ever be designed this way so one of the great thing to be a great teacher is you have a summer break Summer break is great because you get a break from school, but you also can reinvent your class make it something that’s never been before if you try to do that during the year, if you try to make a radical changes, kids will just simply be confused but if you change it during the summer, you make huge, swiping changes in your class the kids will never know what hit them So, this was my dream. I wanted to reinvent my class as a video game but i didn’t want kids just sit in front and watch the video game like Oregon Trail where the world in common Sandiego I want to take them in most compelling elements of gaming, then applied in the classroom this took a lot of work, and so I had created a class, it’s called “Biohazard 5″ It’s got narrator, got the narrative, all the kids come together there I’ve created about 150 podcast that take them through the lecture and so when they get that point, they get kind of learned I have all the special activities in class that kids can applied the material that we’re learning in the real world I have a bunch of inquiry labs, this one right here, is a photo of synphetheis lab you can see my students very riveted they’re studying photo synthesis using little chop we cut from a leaf I’ve developed hundreds of questions that I have a mastery where the system students can take quizzes over and over and over again until they finally get it I have a leveling system so they start with zero experience point at the beginning of the year I borrowed this from Lee Sheldon in the University of Indiana so basically they coming on day 1 I invented the button level as the primordial soup cause I teach Biology So they gain their experience point, and they can move their way up like dumble octpus, and mountain gorilla, and maybe grand master at the end I also have a leader board, so they play with the avatar and they can see how they’re doing in the class how they’re doing to against everybody else this is the most popular resource in the class kids are constantly logged in and see how they’re stacked up I also got a piloting set that of a iPad so kids got an internet connected devices at all times Finally, the summer was over and I stood in front of the class Like this, apparently [laugh] and I said Hello, my name is Mr. Anderson and my class is a video game, so what I want you to do is grab an iPad I want you to logging into Biohazard 5 I want you to watch a video, I want you to do some reading I want you to take a quiz, and head off the class now if I have done this with my students’ parents that would be the most frustrating day of my life but the kids grew up with the technology and the technology today simply works so they were headed off on their own So my class, is a learning classroom if you come in, you’ll find the kids are reading, watching videos, applying, doing special activities, trying to solve challenges, working together or working alone so it’s really need at the teacher come we were just talking in the half way through the class he said ” well you created is like a shop class” cause he was a shop teacher once he said the shop teacher, you teach them some skills and the kids can apply that so it’s like that I would love to keep telling you how great it is how the test score seem to be going up and how the kids learning how to learn independently but I am a science teacher and that’s not what get us excited in science, what gets us excited is discovering something new so I wanna talk about 3 ways that I failed Number 1 a conventional classroom is like a school bus where all the students were all logged in they just get on and the teacher is like the bus driver and it drives from point A to point B you can make sure that all the students get there so what I have done is like I get each of them a brand new car, keys, and I said “Drive” so some of them stalled out and some of them raced ahead and some of them drove right into a wall so I need to get them more scaffolding next year next thing I learned is the importance of reading kids struggled with reading when you make your class independant and I should’ve seen this coming because this is the biggest indicator of success and I think the reason I didn’t see it coming is that I never stopped talking, because that’s what good teachers do we read the book, and then we come out with really good examples then we present it in a really dynamic way and the kids can just sit there and then they can learn it why would they want to read the book? we read it for them so when I forced them to read the book a lot of them struggled and we have to work with that the last thing I learned, is that we’re not Vulcans In the most recent star trek movie young Spock sits in a little module and he surrounded by computer screens and the computer keeps throwing questions at him, and philosophy, and relativity and that’s his school day, just sits in a module like that so a lot of people think they can change education by somehow use videos or automating the learning process that sucks, who would want to be at a school like that? kids are coming to school to be social so I add elements of social learning at the class to make it more compelling This is a TED talk, all the good TED talks always end with a call to action so what can you do? I think schools need to move from a passive teacher-centered learning environment to an active student centered environment that’s what I did I was off to the side now, there’s a mentor in the class so how do we do that? If you are a student, you get feedback to your teachers, everything I do in my class all I got is a result of feedback I got from my students what you do if you are a parent? Your write an email if you want your schools to change the only emails I get from parents are complaining about their students grades I never get “My students had an A in your class, but I have a problem with the philosophy in your class” that doesn’t happen, so message you are sending to teachers is that the grade is the only thing that’s important but maybe you’re not a parent, and maybe you’re not a student but you are human so what’s the lesson? what’s in the bottle? what’s in there it’s your passion, it’s the one thing you wanna do can you figure out what my passion is? I love my family and I love teaching and if you can drink that bottle, also remembering to fail, learn and repeat the process over again, then I think you’ll have a life worth living

100 comments

  • Bozeman Science

    Thanks for the comment Jackie. If you really want to be a teacher go for it. You will meet other amazing educators and your students will always be a source of inspiration. I love my job and I always enjoy going to work. The same could not be said for many professions. Good luck.

    Reply
  • Orin Bishop

    Tell me, Mr. MacKinnon. What good is a YouTube comment if you are unable to speak?

    Reply
  • martinez8290

    I think this was a good presentation and am very happy for the successes of Mr Andersen, however I would like to ask educators to not get too excited about this "gamification" of the classrooms. I believe that this is a good idea for some students, who don't do well in traditional classes but maybe there are some students who actually prefer to learn from the books and not by using their IPads or laptops?

    I mean there are just some kids who don't need to be additionally stimulated in this way.

    Reply
  • Mariam Hussien

    It's always inspiring to see passionate teachers like you who work hard to make change. Thank you Mr.Andersen

    Reply
  • SaraGiraffe

    I like how he actually cares about his students. I have teachers that don't care how well their students do and think that when an entire class isn't doing well they blame the students. I love Mr. Anderson

    Reply
  • meenu narang

    nice thoughts
    all the very best

    Reply
  • Darío Verdasco

    Paul, you're the great! Perhaps one day I could teach like this!
    Thank you!

    Reply
  • crazyspacemarine

    simply we are all different and we cant all learn the same exact way. you can give everyone a book and say, read to page whatever by this day ok fine i got my objective. But then where is the learning? I get assignments like this everyday. Point A to point B. The only thing on your mind is i just want to get it done as soon as possible because i want to play! And this is a problem because we disregard homework as a burden. We need it to be something that is engaging to us.

    Reply
  • Unknown

    I've thought about this idea a lot strangely. I thought it was normal to think about better ways to learn but maybe not?

    Reply
  • sunsetawayJ

    i love my primary school bio teacher. he made our names into riddles and had us guess. the most interesting teacher i've ever met!

    Reply
  • renuka korvi

    i jsss love u

    Reply
  • renuka korvi

    but watchin videos of mr andreson really make things much more clear den wat v get frm r books…. der r 1% in 100 hu dnt need ne xtr stimulation…. may b dey r too smrts.. but evry 1 r nt….!

    Reply
  • martinez8290

    There's no such thing as being 'too smart', though there is such thing as being 'too stupid (for something)'. 😉 And this 1% is just as important (if not more) as the rest 99%.

    Reply
  • Meek

    this is just one perspective…, in asia, either china or japan or both, they have much more rigorous and fail is not ok teaching methods. its very disciplined there and they create very smart children like a factory. just different perspectives on things, u cant say either is wrong. i just wanted to remined ppl

    Reply
  • AuthorTess

    "Who would want to be in a class at the Vulcan Science Academy?" My very introverted son, that's who. When he saw that movie at about age 11 spoke right up in the theater and said, "I want to go to school there, Mom!" It's not for every kid but as a self-starter, excellent reader, and dedicated gamer, he would have driven off like a rocket in Mr. Anderson's class. Like all good Vulcans, though, he is still trying to learn a big lesson from this video: failure is part of the process—it's okay.

    Reply
  • xt0bix

    bio teacher fuckers, I used to watch this guys videos

    Reply
  • eyes21st

    I've seen Pauls online work – It's excellent, Its among the best i've ever seen. I will be adding a link to his great education in our site.

    Reply
  • Reski93

    Mr Anderson was the coolest… He's also the master of simon says… Like really the guy is Simon…

    Reply
  • d3st88

    I have a kid brother (10) and he loves computer games where he can level up, but he doesn't like school or studying much. So I decided to reward him with eXperience Points for various tasks that involve learning and reading and ever since he is pretty much begging me to give him tasks. We collect his XP in an XLS file. He is lvl8 now 🙂

    Reply
  • RuRoom

    This video should be shown at all the teacher trainings.

    Reply
  • Peter Mitchell

    what's in Alice's bottle? I believe the correct answer is LSD

    Reply
  • Ravi Duhan

    yes indeed your lessons are fun

    Reply
  • doombybbr

    but i still won't drink that bottle, I will send some of it to a lab so that I can tell what it is.

    Reply
  • Mia miry

    I have learned more from you than most of my bio teachers combined…you are truly amazing! I wish more teachers had the same passion for teaching and love for their students..thank you!

    Reply
  • ema danial

    Excellent video, wonderful instructor, great video game idea, thanks for point out the failures, however I think the successes are more important. I seriously doubt if the kids logged in to look for failure, they likely logged to see how well they did relative to the whole.

    I do something similar with my students however I use Armis to teach scientific thinking (logical, critical). Each student MUST earn 100%.

    The drink in the bottle is success not failure.

    Reply
  • teena borz

    i agree!

    Reply
  • Will Buckley

    Success is gained by most through failure.

    Reply
  • Will Buckley

    It's not the teachers in training who need this. It's the teachers who have stopped learning.

    Reply
  • Pineapple Harley

    aaaaaahhhhhh 10 years and this will be in schools. for steiner education were talking 20 years yay steiner

    Reply
  • Peachy Cat

    Paul. You are amazing. I am a high school biology teacher. I want to know how to build a video game like this for my students.

    Reply
  • 王韵琪

    He is so amazing.

    Reply
  • 王韵琪

    I wonder how the brain organizes in a genius' head

    Reply
  • weesh

    It's great to hear a TEDster say: "check out this idea…here's how it failed"
    It's a pretty open-ended challenge to us all.  
    Great Talk.

    Reply
  • michewf ewfewfwe

    intelligence is so sexy.

    Reply
  • YOYO Yue

    I love Mr. Anderson!hahahha my bio teacher is just…TAT

    Reply
  • Ronnyere Sena Vital

    Really good, I always thought about it, our kis have to learn how to play and apply their knowledge. Yes we need to redesign our video games platforms to a platform of learning, this ideia is excellent, if you can not change your school system to do that, do not worry I think you can do it alone and apply it to your needs, this is what I do with me and it works.

    Reply
  • KemushiChan ロレッタ

    Go Paul, go go go! 🙂

    Reply
  • Tom Adamson

    Very well done.  I use that technique in my college courses and find, as you have, the difficulty students have with reading.  I find that they struggle with sentence interpretation.  I have them work in groups where each group simulates an independent game company.  In my evaluations students will say that I do not teach.  They are correct, I just create an environment to help them learn. 

    Reply
  • Agadyne

    "Teachers are great thieves."

    I am stealing this.

    Reply
  • Arjan KC

    hey! Wow!! @Paul Andersen loved your approach towards teaching. Great inspiration sir!!
    Thank you for the talk.

    Reply
  • Tommy Fors

    I wish that when I get kids I hope they get a teacher like you! I'm reading biologi now and I'm watching your vids and there great even if there in the wrong language 😉

    Reply
  • Korina Martinez

    Why can't you be my teacher??

    Reply
  • Kranthi science videos

    I'm a school Teacher & you are one of my Inspiration (you know after Einstein)…..I love the way you teach big complicated topics in simple short videos.

    Reply
  • Nicole Del Valle

    I clapped for you, in my living room, by myself, after that speech. Way to go! That was such a great message and I love the way you tied in the Alice in Wonderland metaphor back into the conclusion. Your podcasts on youtube have helped me so much this semester with my Biology 101 class. Thank you for being you. The world needs more passionate, intelligent, and creative people in it. Well done sir.

    Reply
  • econ

    "… and I hope that's helpful."

    Reply
  • Ikhlas drifts

    Mr.Anderson!!! You're the best 🙂

    Reply
  • Lydia

    my teacher regularly assigns us to watch his videos. he is AMAZING. everything is so clear in his videos…but I'm talking about his Bio courses though, haha…

    Reply
  • Root0x

    As a student it sounds really cool but i really am not sure how much that will help me. 

    Reply
  • James Wilson

    I once wrote an assignment on gamification in the classroom after reading an article on the psychology of gaming and why its addictive and how can we use that in a classroom setting.  Needless to say I failed that assignment, yet here we are with people in the real world showing how it can work.  I will definitely be putting more time into this approach to prepare myself, my students, and hopefully my school, to develop a 'school game'..

    Reply
  • Johnny S

    I will be making my second attempt at Classroom Game Design this school year and this video is educational and inspirational.  Thank you!

    Reply
  • Oscar Wang

    @Bozeman Science  and @Paul Andersen 

    Reply
  • N96 adawi

    my name is Mr. Andersen , lol

    Reply
  • Sarah S.

    This guy is an absolutely phenomenal teacher….. and an even better orator. I just hope more people listen to him because he knows the effective methods in TODAY'S generation. 

    Reply
  • lordmasterization

    Smart guy

    Reply
  • OverLordGoldDragon

    BOOZEMAN BIOLOGY!

    YEAH!

    Reply
  • Nikhi Prabhakar

    And I hope that was helpful.

    Yes, yes it was. 🙂 Thank you, Mr. Anderson!

    Reply
  • meowishkat

    Mr andersen you are literally the best !!! i learn so much from your videos !

    Reply
  • Kat M

    We need more teachers like you

    Reply
  • Shivanshu Siyanwal

    YAY! Mr.Anderson.

    Reply
  • Ouafa Oumaima

    Mr Anderson you are the best

    Reply
  • huda ahmed

    very inspirational person…..there is a lot to learn from you….you are the best…!

    Reply
  • Robbie Eason

    This was absolutely fascinating – as a 16 year old student I would give a lot to be taught like this, I'll use what I've learnt to progress my own learning, thank you.

    Reply
  • Hachiman

    This guy came to my school

    Reply
  • SandPile

    i don't se how having a flat out ranking system in your class could lead to anything good, but as an individual, this is how I've always wanted school to be like.

    Reply
  • Alfred Machingambi

    Great dynamic way of teaching. Its a learning revolution. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Nethmi W

    This type of learning is much more fun!

    Reply
  • kundan kumar

    simply lovely

    Reply
  • Mary Abbott

    Simply amazing! I would take biology over again just to be in his class.

    Reply
  • shaboat Rad

    AWESOME

    Reply
  • shaboat Rad

    ❤❤❤❤

    Reply
  • shaboat Rad

    totally agree with him

    Reply
  • GAMEPLAYS RPGS

    Hello teacher.
    I'm an English teacher and I teach by using video games in class. Games such as Zelda, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Just take a look of my channel and I'll be more than satisfied to serve you as a server of goodness.

    Reply
  • The uploader

    Isn't this the guy from the bozeman science yt channel?

    Reply
  • Missy McCoskey

    This sounds awesome to me, BUT it does not tell me "how " to do this. I teach middle school math and I would LOVE to use gaming to teach my curriculum. I am willing to spend the time this summer creating if I just knew where to start and how to go about it. Is there a way I can actually see what you have done and how it works?

    Reply
  • Crazy Gamer

    He and Sal should team up…

    Reply
  • nayrb Bru

    Really his method of teaching is very informative and at same time not boring. He revolutionize the art of teaching.. Salute to Mr. Andersen i hope we become like you. Cheers

    Reply
  • Wiktoria Jarzabek

    Great!

    Reply
  • Board Game Sanctuary

    I think that we need to shift the focus towards teaching 'failing' as a positive thing because its how we learn. Succeeding 'all' of the time is not how we learn.. rather its how we feel when we have 'learnt'.

    Reply
  • Todd Chamberlain

    Looks great. Break a Leg Megan and Darian (and all the rest of you!) 🙂

    Reply
  • Language Card Games

    Paul, I admire your ability to reinvent your class during the summer. That's a really unique idea you got there: to make your class a video game. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Gustavo Rangel

    hope we'll have more mr anderson teaching 🙌

    Reply
  • Heena Tahilramani

    Your podcasts are amazing sir. I have learnt so much from your videos. I wish i could be there in your actual classroom for learning different methods to teach science.

    Reply
  • Kemily Play

    muito legal

    Reply
  • Md. shohanur rahman shohan

    this guy is my favourite teacher…..he makes the most complicated things so easy for us..legend he is

    Reply
  • John Snow

    you are a good teacher, every teacher in the future should be like you!
    PS. Mr. Anderson is Neo, right? 🙂

    Reply
  • Cru3l W0rld _

    I thought, in the beginning, the logo said, "BDSM."

    Reply
  • Astrolaut Studios

    He came to my class…

    Reply
  • Sasha Kovaliov

    great teacher and human!

    Reply
  • Aissaoui Azzeddine

    You do a good job

    Reply
  • Meer Khan

    I want a teacher like you , who teaches me in a dynamic way….

    Reply
  • Marvle

    BOZEMAN!!!

    Reply
  • Hana Akimoto

    How do you keep students low in the rankings from being discouraged?

    Reply
  • Mayku

    This is so great!

    Reply
  • KitTheKat

    Well said!

    Reply
  • Haxorite Gamer

    boi my science teachers have been using this guy for the last 4 years

    Reply
  • Paoby Obounou

    IIIIII need this type of Professor

    Reply
  • RAGHU NANDANA

    Lots of love from India .Your videos are helpful for many people here who can't afford expensive coaching .

    Reply
  • Katelyn Kennedy

    What an icon

    Reply
  • Caden Stone

    This man helped me pass AP Bio.

    Reply
  • Taslim

    He looks soo much like matt damon

    Reply

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