How to use gamification in the classroom

gamification classroom empty desks

If you’ve never heard of gamification, it is the practice of applying game mechanics, themes and designs to non-gaming situations. There is huge potential for gamification within a learning environment as it can encourage students to bring their passion for games into the classroom.

Perhaps one of the most convincing arguments for the use of ideas such as gamification is the fact that classroom learning has largely stayed the same for hundreds of years. It may well be the case that using ideas taken from games that can motivate and impassion students could be enormously beneficial in the modern setting. Here, Dakota Murphey, an independent content writer that specialises in the educational sector, gives five ways that you can practically use gamification in a classroom that can promote learning and motivate students.

Use badges

One of the most common reward systems used within video games is the awarding of badges. Within games this could be for specific achievements or the completion of certain sections of the game. This gives you the opportunity to use badges to reward educational progress too. You can set the parameters, offering a huge range of badges to take into account the skillset of pupils across the class. These badges act as a visual reminder of success and show students exactly what they have to do to succeed. We’re not talking about physical badges – there are many different forms of online software that allow you to create your own badges and award them to students for their achievements.

Experience points and levelling

Of course grades and test results are important feedback to any student, but it may also be possible to utilise a system that video game players are more familiar with. You can allow students to attain ‘experience points’ just as they would in a video game. Experience points could be awarded for anything from bringing homework in on time to completing tasks in the classroom. As the students attain their experience they can begin to ‘level up’ just as they would within a game. This presents a very natural progression that they are used to and can become more engaged with.

Provide feedback instantly

One thing that video games can teach educators is that their students like to receive feedback regularly. This is true of the current generation of students who are more used to an interactive and immediately world where feedback is expected instantly. In games, players expect to be able to get feedback on their progress whenever they want it, so you should strive to offer the same thing in a classroom. As it’s unreasonable to expect a teacher to try provide feedback on request at a moment’s notice, it can be a great idea to have students provide feedback to each other. Have the students work in teams and provide each member with feedback, offering support to ensure all the feedback is constructive.

Set challenges or quests instead of homework

Homework is one of those words that students dread. But if you can put it in a gamified context, it can make it easier to present it as something fun and worth doing. Instead of setting homework you can get ‘challenges’ or ‘quests’ that must be completed before the next lesson. This can encourage students to take a more positive attitude towards their homework. Small changes to the concept – such as making maths homework a ‘code you need to crack’ make it far more appealing complete. You can tie this into the experience points or badges that we talked about earlier.

Leaderboards

A little competition can be a very good thing in the classroom, just as it is in a game setting. You could use technology like an audience response system to quiz the class after each session, the results of these quizzes could be presented in a leaderboard. It may be best only to display the top five students and let others individually request their score, rather than showing every position individually so as to avoid potentially embarrassing students who are lower on the leaderboard.

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