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March’s Quest of the Month: Teacher Steve Isaacs’ game design lesson plan

Stephanie CarmichaelApril 6, 2018

2018 March QotM Classcraft Gamemaster Steve Isaacs

Introducing Classcraft’s first-ever Quest of the Month! Each month at Classcraft, we’ll be choosing one awesome quest to promote. Quests are personalized, self-paced, choose-your-own-adventure lessons for students. Our goal is to spotlight the amazing educators who inspire us and share creative, teacher-made content with our global community of forward-thinking educators.

If you use Classcraft, you can submit quests you’ve created to be the next Quest of the Month on our submission page. Winners get an official portrait of themselves as a Classcraft-style “Gamemaster”!

March’s pick and our very first honoree is Steve Isaacs (@mr_isaacs), the creator of the quest “Journey to the Center of the Game,” a lesson plan for his game design and digital storytelling class. You can import his quest here. Take it away, Steve!

What grades and subjects do you teach? 

Steve Isaacs: Grade seven Game Design and Digital Storytelling, grade eight Game Design and Development

How long have you been teaching? 

Isaacs: 25 years!

2018 March QotM Classcraft Gamemaster Steve Isaacs
Classcraft Gamemaster Steve Isaacs

Where do you teach?

Isaacs: William Annin Middle School, Basking Ridge, NJ

What made you decide to use Classcraft? 

Isaacs: I’ve been a fan of the beautiful interface and game elements of Classcraft for a while. I’ve been following the product since seeing the video of how Shawn turned his class into a game. However, I was pushed right over the edge to implement it once the Quests feature was launched. My class is entirely quest/choice-based, so this feature was essential to using Classcraft with my students.

What kinds of things are you passionate about? 

Isaacs: I’m passionate about student choice and student voice for sure. I love to share student work with the world and have my students create authentic projects that can be published and shared with the world.

I’m also passionate about providing resources that help students explore, find, and nurture their passion. Leveraging the way students learn in informal spaces is something we need to embrace in the classroom. As a parent, I have seen the power of YouTube through my daughter at home, who goes right to YouTube to learn what SHE is interested in and has parlayed that into sharing her passion with the world through her own YouTube channel. Kids learn more than we realize when they have the opportunity to seek the resources that speak to them.

I’m also pretty passionate about my family, my friends, my professional/personal learning network, and snorkeling with sea turtles.

2018 March QotM Steve Isaacs - Journey to the Center of the Game
Journey to the Center of the Game

Why do you love the quest you created? What makes it special? 

Isaacs: “The Journey to the Center of the Game” quest line sets the stage for the entire [game design] course. It gets kids exploring different genres of games, breaking them down and analyzing them. This leads to opportunities for students to start creating games based on the types of games that interest them.

It really creates an authentic experiential approach to learning about game design through playing. The vocabulary around game design and development is constructed through the game reviews and sharing that happens in class.

What did your students think of your quest? How did they react? 

Isaacs: They love it. I’m asking them to play games in class. Oh yeah, then they analyze them, review them, and create their own games, but the hook is pretty great!

What’s one of your favorite things about Classcraft? 

Isaacs: ABSOLUTELY the Quests feature and how it is incorporated. I LOVE that you can create your quest structure in a visual way as this is what I would have done on paper or used an outside tool for in the past. The unlocking of quests and quest lines really leads to some great learning paths.

Steve Isaacs - Journey to the Center of the Game

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