Epic Meaning: Building Student Purpose and Motivation

Frodo Baggins and the One Ring in Lord of the Rings

Frodo Baggins must save the whole of Middle Earth!

One of my favorite stories of all time is all about Epic Meaning. In the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Frodo Baggins goes through great personal sacrifice because he believes that he has been called to destroy the One Ring. Why does he believe this? A mere hobbit, that happens to come into the possession of this great powerful and magical artifact that has the potential to destroy everything, sets forth on a journey to fulfill his destiny. Frodo Baggins must save the whole of Middle Earth! Wouldn’t it be great if we could do the same for our students? Creating a sense of meaning and purpose so epic that they have no choice but to learn so they can (insert awesome achievement here).

Side note: Am I the only one that thinks Sam was the true hero of the story?

Great games do this as well, just look at the back story developed for the World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade expansion:

I mean it give me chills. It makes me want to get in game and make sure that crazy fool, Illidan doesn’t destroy the world as we know it.

I only hope that my students come to my class with that much purpose.

In the video below (just one part in a series of videos about gamification), Yukai Chou explains Epic Meaning and Calling:

What are you doing to build Epic Meaning and Calling in your classroom? Please comment below and participate in our weekly #levelupED chat tonight on Twitter.

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