Currently, Khan Academy is a very singleplayer experience. Sure students get help from their friends, but in the end, they're earning proficiencies, badges, leaves, and points for themselves. Thus, it's singleplayer. If Khan Academy is going to be super popular with students that are kids, it needs to be a multiplayer experience. Why? Think about what's engaging to kids--World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Draw Something (See Ryan Kim's article), and sports like basketball and soccer. They all have one gamified experience in common: Intra-team cooperation and inter-team competition. They're truly multiplayer!
So I decided to turn Khan Academy into a truly multiplayer game and am getting other teachers to do the same. Why? Because I want to bring what happens in true multiplayer games...
- Positive reinforcement from teammates
- Self-motivation to help the team succeed
- Organic and genuine leadership roles
...into my classroom.
How I'm Doing It
Students choose to be in teams of 2-4 and give themselves a name. Their team gets a point if and only if everyone in their team becomes proficient in a specific exercise. This drives intra-team cooperation, which drives more proficiencies, and helps students who are already proficient learn the material better by teaching their teammates.
Teams also get a point if say, Student1 in the team teaches Student2 how to do an exercise AND Student2 then becomes independently proficient in the exercise. I display two leaderboards, one for group proficiencies, and one for teams who cooperate the most (do the most teaching).
The rules: 1) You can't do an exercise for a teammate, and 2) You can't lie about passing an exercise. I explained that if anyone breaks one of these rules, the game becomes really boring, and also had the students put their hand on their heart, and verbally promise to follow the rules.
How It's Going
Students are much more more cooperative, they're gaining more proficiencies, and they're getting better at effectively teaching their peers.
How You Can Do It
You don't have to have computers in your classroom to do it. E-mail or call me. I'll help you figure it out.