Quest Based Learning In the Classroom!

Narrative in Quest-Based Learning Design
ori Ferguson believes in the educational power of storytelling. When she is not expanding our minds with her presentations, talks, and teacher camps, she is a PhD Student continuing her own educational journey. As a PhD Student in Learning, Literacies and Technologies, her research interests like in the areas of Motivation, Writing and Literacy, Online and Blended Learning, and Games for Learning. Lori has 15 years experience teaching in K-12 and Higher Education.  She taught Writing, Social Studies, and Technology courses at the middle school level, served as a Teacher Librarian and District Technology Coach, and most recently taught Freshman Composition and Computer Literacy at the college level.  She holds an B.A. in Humanities and M.A. in Library Science from the University of Arizona. In the future Lori plans to work towards a PhD in Educational Technology which will allow her to further use technology to enhance face-to-face lessons, address multiple learning styles, and address remediation and enrichment needs. This past summer Lori presented on how stories are a motivating factor in game play during the Quest-based learning virtual unconference, QuestBoise 2013. Check out the video: Stories: The Importance of the Narrative in QBL 

We requested Lori to touch on her experience in quest-based learning and use of narrative in quest design. Let's see what she has to say...
  • What sparked your interest in quest-based learning?
I've always been interested in using games for learning, but games seem to lend themselves better to some subject and skills than others.  When I was introduced to quest-based learning and 3DGameLab three years ago, I could really see how the platform and quests could be used to gamify almost any lesson.
  • How have you used quest-based learning in your classroom?
I just finished up working on a 3-year project that used 3DGameLab to deliver online professional development content on project based learning and technology tools to high school career and technical education teachers.  This was my first experience with quest-based learning and developing a two-year online curriculum was a daunting challenge. 
For my next quest-based learning project, I want to work on some smaller groups for my English 101 and 102 students.  I'm looking forward to creating smaller quest groups that target specific skills that I can use with small groups of students--like paragraph writing, using transitions, and sentence fluency. 
  • Tell us about how narrative can help in quest-based learning design?
A story or narrative is really just a journey.  Adding stories to quests can help teachers (and their students) get from the beginning to the end of the quest group.  Stories can add another kind of motivation--students who aren't interested in points or grades, may be motivated to find out what happens next.  Stories can help to add context for actions and can help students to see how little pieces might fit into the bigger picture.
  • What is your favorite narrative in education success story?
Seeing the teachers in our project begin to create their own learning quests and add in their own narratives to their quest groups. 
  • Aha moments or surprises in your educational journey through quest design for education?
I would have to say it was when I realized the power of using badges as gates to new quests.   The idea that manually awarding a badge could open a door for only some students really opened up new design possibilities for me.

Thank you Lori for your insight, we look forward to seeing more on narrative in quest design in your March 3D GameLab Teacher Camp, Quest to a Story!


April 13th - 15th       Sioux Falls, SD

The primary goal of the Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling website is to serve as a useful resource for educators and students who are interested in how digital storytelling can be integrated into a variety of educational activities.

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