A lot of people are playing Fortnite, and it’s not all bad. In a recent article by FastCompany, I learned there are 200 million users on Fortnite, with about 8 million of those on at one time, with the average user spending over 10 hours a week playing the game. It is now emerging as one of the biggest social media platforms, and generated over 3.5 billion in revenue from this ‘free’ game.
Love it or hate it, Fortnite is not going away, and I aim to show that learning just a little bit about the game will make you a better teacher, and help make your classroom a better learning environment. I’m not suggesting you spend hours playing the game, but I do suggest you read this post and crack the code of Fortnite’s popularity, and find ways to bring its addictiveness to your instruction. Learn what makes students love Fornite and apply it to your class.
- Students want to sky dive into learning: Make the start of your class exciting. At the beginning of the game, Fortnite, everyone is literally on a “battle bus.” The players parachute down to an island. It’s exciting. Hook your students in with something close to a 13,000 foot freefall. Parachuters get about 60 seconds of free fall. What can you do that is exciting, quick and relevant to the lesson?
- Students want to choose their destination. Let students make choices about their learning. As the players are parachuting they are gliding down and choosing which part of the island to land and explore. Students in your classroom want to make choices, too. It’s fun. Give them options or let them choose. What can you let your students choose tomorrow? Do it.
- Students want a sense of urgency and a quick paced session. When the players land in Fortnite, the players are racing to stay away from a surround storm that is tightening. Players must keep moving, encountering new adventures, and face challenges. Your class needs to keep moving forward with new challenges. Students get bored with one activity that goes on and on.
- Students want an environment to explore. In the game, players explore an island looking for tools, prizes and surprises. Get students out of their seat and have them exploring your class and halls. Put task cards on the walls, use BreakOut EDU boxes, and find other ways to make your class a hands-on exploration.
- Students want to make stuff. In Fortnite, players must build forts. They can get pretty creative. The forts have a purpose and making stuff is fun. I’ve seen my daughters watch videos of people making stuff for long periods of time. What can you have your students build and make that is relevant and fun in your class?
- Students like to compete. I know. I know. We hear it so many times, “Competition in school is bad.” But students seem to love it. Can’t some competition be good? Can we find ways to game in class to have fun and hook students? I say, yes! Fortnite keeps track of your wins and players celebrate this.
- Students want to collaborate. In Fortnite, players can work together to achieve wins. Let’s give them opportunities for collaborative learning in class. I don’t mean group projects, I mean learning with a partner and tackling the obstacles of learning together.
- Students want to communicate with classmates. The headset is popular in Fortnite. Players like to talk with each other and bark commands and summarize plans. Give students opportunities to speak their learning strategies and communicate about learning with classmates. Find more creative ways to do this.
- Fortnite is fun! It’s full of crazy costumes, colors, music, and themes. They are constantly updating the game with seasons and new stuff. How about your class? Do students ever walk in and say, “Wow! What did you do? What’s all this?” They should. Surprise them. Switch it up.
I think Fortnite can be a ridiculous time-suck for most players. I really do. I also think a little bit of it is a lot of fun. Mostly though, I look at things like this and try to figure out what I can learn from it to connect with students. I hope you do too.
Squad up! Go teach those students.
Written by Kelly Croy (With the help of my daughter, Jaclyn.)