It seems that one of the trendy topics discussed at education conferences these days is the combination of gaming and learning. Most of the time, it’s discussed in the context of the classroom or of students, but a few years ago we applied it to product training, in one of our experimental Office Labs releases, called Ribbon Hero. It was designed to test the effectiveness, feasibility and appeal of delivering Office training in a game-like setting. The heart of Ribbon Hero was a set of challenges that users play right in the Office applications. And to add the competitive element, Ribbon Hero integrates with Facebook so you can share your success (or in my case, failures) with your friends. Ribbon Hero offers to post an update to your Facebook profile when impressive point levels have been reached.
The team behind Ribbon Hero have gone even further, with Ribbon Hero 2 - incorporating a completely new, cartoon style interface, and a new job for Clippy (the really annoying 'helpful' paperclip from Office 97-2003).
Ribbon Hero is a free download, and has got to be a big step up from conventional training ideas and manuals. Having heard Sir Mark Grundy of Shireland Collegiate Academy talk about the way they get their students learning by having a leader table for educational games, I can imagine the same kind of thing happening with this.
I could tell you more about it - but it is much easier for you to download it, and have a five-minute play, than for me to try and describe how good it is to use. And remind yourself as you're using it, that it's the equivalent of a long dull training course. Imagine how you'd have conventionally learnt what it's teaching. Next time somebody talks about gaming and learning, you can wisely point them towards an example they may not have seen!
Find out more, and get the free download for Ribbon Hero 2
I'm a bit surprised to see you refer to the notion of 'gaming and learning' as being 'trendy'. I feel this term diminishes the role being played by many people in schools doing incredible educational things with software that just happens to be built within a game as opposed to a generic software tool. I was using Age of Empires in education about 8 years ago and would have used it across my network if I'd been able to get someone at Microsoft to sell me a site licence - sad to say no one was interested in selling me one.
Hi Drew - I didn't intend to use the term 'trendy' as a diminutive term, but in the way that a dictionary would 'modern and influenced by the most recent fashions or ideas' ie topical.
I know that the idea has been around for a long while, but what's been obvious recently is that conferences have been pushing it up the agenda (perhaps to help them boost their attendance figures).
Right across the world there are some great inspiring examples - people like Ollie Bray really wake up an audience when they talk about what they are doing - but there's still a gap between the acceptance of innovative practice in curriculum practice.