Emily Morikawa – 8th Grade

Emily Morikawa is an eighth grade social studies teacher from Radnor, Pennsylvania. By her own admission, she’s still “relatively new to gaming” and wasn’t quite sure what to make of all this talk about bringing gamified instructional strategies into her classroom. Here’s the story of what caused her to rethink her approach to creating a more playful classroom experience, and how she became an Engagement Engineer at EMC² Learning.

Stormy Seas Make For Skilled Sailors

As a 22-year educator, I have always been looking for ways to engage my students and make learning fun. However, I found myself struggling with incorporating gamification into my classroom. While I’d heard a lot about it, I wasn’t sure it would work for me as there was still a lot of game-related terminology to make sense of! And I was nervous that my lacking skills in technology might prevent me from rolling new strategies out in my classroom.

The start of the pandemic and the switch to virtual learning forced me to reevaluate and assess my methodology. Like many of my colleagues, I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and scared. In short, I knew I wanted to make a change, but I still had all sorts of questions on how I could modify these approaches to suit the unique needs of the students that I teach. I’ll be honest: at first, I felt hopeless and intimidated.

That’s when I stumbled upon EMC² Learning, and it has been a game-changer.

This platform has reinvigorated my teaching, inspired my creativity and motivated me to grow and continue to learn. EMC² Learning has become an integral element of my teaching.

From Reluctant Gamer to Classroom Game Changer

Making use of the resources that John and Michael created on the EMC² Learning site brought immense comfort. I explored their resources, such as Explore like a Pirate, EDrenaline, and Fully Engaged, and connected with other teachers on Twitter using #XPLAP and #EDrenaline. Gradually, I started to gain confidence that maybe I could, in fact, incorporate a handful of these techniques into my teaching. And it was such a relief when I discovered that all the resources available on the EMC² Learning platform could be applied to any content area. Even though I really didn’t quite know where to begin, I tried one activity, made adjustments, and tried again. This is the very principle of practice and application that I ask my students to use.

I used a little bit of everything, from the Control Tower to the item cards, games, and various templates. The best part was that there were step-by-step instructions, video tutorials, and a community of like-minded teachers who shared their experiences. And if I run into problems along the way, I continue to be impressed by the EMC2 approach to teacher feedback and questions. When I could not figure out the tech for the Mystery Box, Michael did an actual Zoom conference with me to help me out! Now Mystery Box is one of my absolute faves to use in the classroom. And the fact that I receive quick responses from the actual creators makes me feel like I am valued and important!

The EMC² Learning approach to teacher feedback and questions is extraordinary, and it has given me the confidence to try new activities and adjust my practices. It has also allowed me to give myself permission to fail and try again!

EMC² Learning is home to more than 600 fully editable resources for any course or content area. Engagement Engineers and members of the Creative Corps enjoy a full year of access to each of these resources on demand. We hope you’ll consider joining us to unlock a full year of site access. For complete details including our exclusive limited time offer for annual site membership, click here.

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