A lecturer on the Master’s Degree in Teacher Training at the University of Granada (UGR) has taken the innovative step of designing his course around the concept of the US TV sci-fi drama “The 100”. Drawing on various scenarios and perspectives from the series, Dr Isaac J. Pérez is encouraging his students—41 in the current cohort—out of their comfort zone by generating a degree of chaos that challenges them to take full responsibility for their learning.
The plot of a US post-apocalyptic TV series “The 100” is being used as the central theme for a gamification project designed at the University of Granada (UGR), Spain. This innovative approach is intended to foster creativity and critical awareness among teachers of the future and to ensure that Physical Education teaching, specifically, is not undervalued.
Dr Isaac J. Pérez, who lectures on the Master’s Degree in Teacher Training at the UGR, has developed an original approach to delivering his Physical Education course by deliberately generating a level of “chaos” for his students to navigate (based on various scenarios from the plot of “The 100”). This year’s cohort of 41 students is now learning to step out of the comfort zone, to become fully responsible for their own learning.
“This is an educational survival experience designed to equip the teachers of the future with the commitment and initiative they will need to improve their teaching competencies,” explains Pérez.
The TV series that provided the inspiration for this approach is set in the future, after a nuclear war leaves Earth uninhabitable. A hundred years later, the surviving population selects 100 juvenile delinquents to be sent back to the planet, to establish whether it is safe to return.
Putting his own twist on this basic plot, Dr Pérez has converted his students into “The 100”, who must survive on Planet Education by earning “life points” in the challenges they are set. These involve learning to problem-solve, to convincingly justify their points of view, and to successfully involve their peers.
Just as in the series, each student is given a specific role. While their individual score can go up or down, depending on the learning evidence they present, students can improve their scores or share “lives” by partnering with each other, which helps encourage collaborative group behaviour.
“One of the initial challenges students had to overcome was to give up their social network use, to liberate themselves, so to speak—just like the protagonists in the series had to stop relying on their wristbands. For some of them, it was a real eye-opener,” recalls Dr Pérez. This challenge was designed to teach the students how to reflect and achieve critical awareness.
The entire gamification experience—dubbed “gamifiction” by Pérez, due to its basis on a fictional TV series—is also intended to enable these future teachers to go beyond traditional teaching methods. More specifically, it aspires to put an end to the undervaluing of Physical Education as a subject, and to see its potential more fully developed.
This original approach also rewards learners’ capacity to adapt to unexpected situations, and their use of information and communications technologies as a tool with which to enhance their learning. It combines various different methodologies including “surprise attacks” launched by the game leader (the teacher), which ensure the students are up-to-the-minute in their coursework.
As Pérez reflects: “The game has created positive interdependence among the students, and has fostered their use of personal freedom while making them aware of the challenges and responsibilities of being a good teacher.”
Promotional image from the TV series “The 100”.
Isaac J. Perez Lopez
Department of Physical Education and Sports, University of Granada
Telephone: +34 958 246 633