Gamification In Education [What Is It and How To Gamify Your Classroom]

Gamification in Education: What is it and how do I 'gamify' my Classroom?

Reading Time: 3 min 10 sec 

If you have ever played a video game, you might know that the competition is what makes it so engaging. Accomplishing group tasks, achieving milestones, and breaking high scores – it is all designed in a way that makes you want to keep coming back. This is also a part of the reason why games like Farmville, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush gained popularity. So, why not apply these principles to make learning more engaging and fun?

 

elements of gamification


This is where the word ‘Gamification’ comes in. The Merriam-Webster definition of Gamification is 
the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task) to encourage participation”. Although the term itself is novel, the concept is anything but. The Boy Scouts used to award badges to members to recognize achievements. Customer loyalty programs are also a great example of Gamification – “Buy 9 coffees and the 10th is on us”, or “Become a Gold member of XX store by shopping 8 times a month”. 

Gamification has now grown its roots deep into everything we do, from education, health, and business to marketing, research, and even politics. The benefits include an increase in retention, engagement, and improved intrinsic motivation. 

Gamification in Education: 

Educators are always on the lookout for new ways to keep their students engaged in lessons. Gamification, if properly implemented can yield impressive benefits in education, for any age groupThe principle is to motivate students to enhance their learning experience voluntarily. This can be done with or without technological tools, depending on what is readily available to you. Science suggests that gamification can change the way learners perceive themselves, as well as affecting their emotions, increasing curiosity and confidence, and sharpening their problem-solving skills by inviting them to take charge.  

Several game elements can be used such as: 

       i. Creating a storyline coherent with the learning objective 

      ii. Fixing tasks, or ‘levels’ to achieve 

     iii. Earning badges/ points 

     iv. Competition via Leaderboards 

      v. Quests 

     vi. Continuous feedback 

    vii. Teamwork via ‘guilds’ 

   viii. Game Master (you, the teacher) 

It is up to you to decide which combination of game elements works best in your classroom’s environment, but it is imperative to establish a proper set of guidelines and to search for possible obstacles beforehand. A ‘gamified’ classroom works best if it takes makes use of an immersive storyline and social connections to capture students’ interest. 

 

Image Source: Pixabay 

How to introduce Gamification in your classroom: 

1) Points system 

You can turn non-academic tasks into point-earning opportunities (and make your life easier in the process!). Turning in homework on time, cleaning up their desk, class participation – you can assign points to each of these. You might notice that students are eager to do as well as, if not better than their classmates.  

 2) Role-play 

Stories and video games have one point in common: characters. Discuss this with your students early on in the year and allow them to customize their player character or ‘avatar’. They will be happy to be involved in this process and it will increase their personal investment in class activities. Getting into character will also be beneficial for students to explore other facets of themselves, without the fear of failure or judgment. When teamwork is involved, you can have them form ‘guilds’ according to their player’s characteristics. This is the time to be creative! 

3) Learning through failure 

In most games, you have a set number of lives, and once you exhaust them you need to rethink your approach and problem solve your way through the obstacle. Gamification in education provides students a learning environment where it is okay to fail, and they get rewarded for not only winning but making efforts too. This mindset equips them with soft skills necessary to survive in real-life situations.  

4) Healthy competition 

Competing with classmates or even as a team against the teacher is an undeniably successful element of gamification in education. However, instead of competing for regular grades students will compete to earn rewards, badges, and points. The desire to compete and the resulting victory are powerful intrinsic motivators! 

5) Use of Educational Technology 

EdTech can play a role, big or small, in gamifying your classroom. Teachers can track progress on the school’s existing software, enabling students to keep track of scores, achievements, and personal progress. Keep students motivated by also applying gamification elements to their homework with the help of interactive technology. This can also extend to hybrid or remote learning, given the current circumstances.  

6) Games 

Gamification in learning would be incomplete without including a bit of fun and games. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Quizzes on Kahoot to earn extra points, learning to code via Grasshopper or Minecraft’s Education edition, history-themed spelling bees, or a virtual treasure hunt with mathematical equations as clues. 

 

Regardless of which direction you plan to go in, be sure to set a clear goal by identifying your students’ needs. Gamification is based on trial and error, and that goes for the game master, too. Find out what works, what needs to be improved, and share your experiences with your colleagues. Also, remember to have fun with it! 

Does this make you excited for the future of education? Have you already tried to ‘gamify’ your classroom? Let us know in the comments below!

For portable interactive smartboards and document cameras that enhance your students’ gamification experiences, click here!