Every Quest Needs a Backstory

Greeting fellow gamifiers! If you are here it’s because (1) you are on the cutting edge and want to learn more about gamification, (2) you are in our PLN (professional learning network) and decided to check us out or, (3) you know either of the moderators and we’ve just bugged you to death until you visited. Whichever camp you are in, welcome and I am glad you’ve joined us.

My name is Dayson Pasion, the other moderator of this blog and #levelupED. I am a middle grades STEM educator in North Carolina.  You can learn more about me and what I like to do in my classroom, here.  As Faith did in her previous post, I would also like to talk to you about my introduction in gamification and what it means to me.

I have always been a geek.  You can ask anyone that has known me that this is true. It was probably the fact that I was an extreme introvert that drove me towards games. I’ve always been a gamer, even as a wee one. Geez, when I write it down it makes me sound like that lone creepy kid no one wants to be hang out with. I played everything and anything I could get my hands on … Super Mario, Tetris, Sonic, TMNT, first person shooters, arcade games, board games, some of the first multiplayer RPGs and on and on and on. But it was actually Faith that introduced me to World of Warcraft … and I was done. To read her story about her Gnome Frost Mage makes me miss my Undead Destruction Warlock so much! I was probably addicted. You know that scene in Zombieland where Columbus is in his apartment on a Friday night eating pizza, drinking Code Red and playing WoW. I swear I’ve lived that scene before (minus the zombie-infected neighbor that is bludgeoned with a toilet). In fact, when I was playing heavily, I would come home during my lunch break (when I worked at local credit union) and log on and grind out.

I also got: "Hey you're that X-man, you know the one with the claws." /facepalm

Exhibit A. Dressed up as James Howelett (or Wolverine/Logan for the non-comic fans) for Superhero Day at school.

I have always been a geek.

It wasn’t until later that I realized I could take the elements that I loved from playing games into my everyday life. When I first made the connection it was when my brother told me about NerdFitness.  Those that follow NerdFitness are literally leveling up their lives. Steve Kamb’s post about leveling up your life and real life role-playing were game changers for me. Another inspiration was Jane McGonigal and her amazing TedTalk about SuperBetter! It was easy for me to make the connection as a gamer when trying to make yourself better, but I had failed to make the connection towards my classroom.

Do you think school is supposed to be fun?! You’re here to learn, not play!

I don’t remember when exactly I made the connection between game play and education but it may have had something to do with being constantly asked if we were playing a review game and then me probably getting annoyed. Do you think school is supposed to be fun?! You’re here to learn, not play!  I’m pretty sure it was after a situation like that, that I sat myself down after trying to beat my previous score on Angry Birds that I put the connection together. I would certainly be more motivated, engaged and willing to learn if there was game play involved. So it was at that point that I started researching as much as I could. I started to embed certain game elements. I would design lessons around games. Some were successes, many were not. What was true about every attempt though is that I found my students much more engaged and willing to work and learn.  That is what motivates me to do better and know I get to pretend that I’m on a quest grinding away.  Epic win!


What is your Profession?

Quest objective: Read the article about real life role playing on Nerd Fitness and during introductions at next week’s first ever #levelupED chat, tell us your profession!

Rewards: Get a shout out in a future blog post.

Whether you find yourself in the starting zone or are level ??, don’t forget to follow @howellywood and @MrDpasion on Twitter to get updated about #levelupED.


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