It is no secret that kids love collecting things like baseball cards, American Girl dolls, Star Wars Figure, coins and others. When I built MrNussbaum Premium I aimed to use a child’s love of collecting to motivate learning and reinforcement. There are three parts to this:
1.) In an educational setting, kids are highly motivated to work for rewards that come as part of a set that they can collect. In this way, many kids will produce high-quality work, extra work, or will work to achieve the possibility of completing the set. In this way, every reward has meaning. Having a complete set often comes with a level of prestige and admiration among classmates. The complete set ONLY has to be obtainable in the general sense of the word. There can be 300 items in a complete set and kids WILL work with the belief they can eventually acquire all of them.
2.) As part of this set to collect, kids need to be able to obtain doubles and triples of items so they have units to trade with. In other words, the delivery system for the rewards must be randomized. Kids should also know the relative “rarity” of certain items and will work extremely hard to obtain an item they perceive as “rare.” There is more prestige and admiration attached to the acquisition of “rare” items.
3.) Kids must have the ability to trade items with other students to get items they have not obtained. In this way, kids can use the doubles and triples they have acquired of certain items to trade for items they have not acquired. Trading also encourges critical thinking, communicating with other students, evaluation of the fairness and or values being traded, as well as the art of persuasion. Trading is especially important in a randomized system that allows for duplicates when a particular student has collected most of a set, but just needs a couple of more to complete the set.
Students can do all of the above on MrNussbaum Premium. For every five games in which students play on the site (and score above average for the particualar game), they earn one of 175 possible world flag graphics. Not only will students earn and learn about world nations and their flags, but they can trade flags with their classmates via the website. Students can trade one flag for one flag, or, trade one flag for ten flags. They can make blockbuster trades or small trades. They can trade their doubles and triples, and can assess the relative “rarity” of each flag by reading the abundance report. Students are NOT USED to being able to trade their items online, so this functionality is EXTREMELY motivating.