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Blended Gamification: Battle of the Big Ideas

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Participate and share : Poster

Wednesday, December 2, 4:30–5:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Batsheva Frankel  
Fantasy football meets philosophy in this game-based approach to humanities. With a focus on tracing big ideas and themes throughout history or literature courses, Battle of the Big Ideas combines deeper and more critical learning with fun. Adapt and play this blended gamification approach with your classes.

Audience: Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Games for learning & gamification
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

In the social sciences and literature, how do we move beyond fact memorization and/ or employing prepackaged, predigested knowledge? Using Blended Gamification (games combining both digital and non-digital play) through the frame of Battle of the Big Ideas, educators will learn how to engage students with important themes and ideas using tools such as Flipgrid, Padlet, Jamboard, Thinglink, Wakelet, Canva and Adobe Spark to create objects, artifacts and other content to share as they “battle it out” and score points.

A brief explanation of the game play: In the basic framework of Battle of the Big Ideas students form teams which are based on big ideas that might run through the curriculum. For example, in American History, the game can be played throughout the year, and teams might represent ideas such as freedom, prosperity, discrimination, sex and gender, and technology/innovation. For literature the teams might represent ideas that run through a novel such as isolation, morality, responsibility, self-discovery and so on. The game can enhance an entire literature or history course or a few selected units.

The goal is to put together a Dream Team of the best examples or evidence (referred to as the players) of the team’s Big Idea in every historical era or work of literature. Each round of play has a different kind of player (just as there are different positions in football) that competes. Types of “players” for history might be people, monuments, movements, events and more. For example, if the time period was post-civil war, and a team’s theme is injustice and the player’s role for that round is events, the team must research to find the event in that era that best represents the theme of injustice. They then must present their player and make their case in a preselected "arena". See the Battle of the Big Ideas PDF for a detailed explanation with lots of examples for every step of the way.

Supporting research

Level Up Your Classroom by Jonathan Cassie
Educated by Design by Rabbi Michael Cohen

The episode Game Changers on the Overthrowing Education Podcast:

The episode Blending is Beautiful on the Overthrowing Education podcast:

Quest to Learn Schools:

More [+]


Batsheva Frankel, New Lens Ed.

As producer and host of the popular podcast Overthrowing Education, and director of New Lens Ed., Batsheva Frankel, MAT, shares her passion about innovative and engaging education with teachers, parents and students alike. She presents online and in person workshops, courses and coaching to educators, schools and conferences all over the world. Batsheva is the author of The Jewish Educator’s Companion: Practical Tools and Inspirational Ideas (Behrman House, June 2017) created the award-winning LaunchBox products (games and activities that explore big philosophical ideas).

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