Schools Training

Unlocking Gamification for the Classroom

9 JUL 2014

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As technology enters the classroom and disrupts the traditional teaching experience, educators must make sure to adapt their teaching methods to match their students’ needs. Today’s students are used to receiving more precise feedback faster and being able to interact with learning material, which is why long, straightforward lectures may not give them the best opportunity to succeed.

As a result, teachers are turning towards gamification, which is the use of game design and mechanics in non-game contexts. When you fill out a Subway fidelity card to win a free sandwich, or receive a badge on Foursquare, that’s gamification, a system that gives you a reward for completing a task, kind of like unlocking an Achievement on Xbox. Get it?

By using gamification strategies, teachers can better motivate their students to participate and succeed in school. If you’re new to gamification, here are a few strategies that can be used in the classroom.

Students are co-designers

Instead of presenting a fixed syllabus, some teachers choose to present a flexible syllabus and then work together with students to develop a roadmap for the class, including which books or educational articles the students will be assigned. By empowering students, either through vote or consensus after discussion, teachers can help students feel like their voice matters and like they have control over their education. Similarly, it can be helpful to design a class syllabus in terms of short term and long term learning objectives, and communicating those clearly to students.

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Prioritize feedback

In a video game, feedback can take many forms. Think of how satisfying the sound of picking up a coin in a Super Mario video game is. In the classic class environment, students only receive feedback when they hand in an assignment or complete an exam.  This sporadic feedback means some students may feel like they’re not doing well in a class, when in fact they are actually performing just fine. To motivate students, teachers should make sure to provide frequent opportunities for feedback. For example, teachers can organize team activities in which students are encouraged to evaluate one another. In this manner, students will provide one another feedback outside of exams and assignments.

Second chances are okay

When you die in a video game, you usually lose a life and get to try again. If a student fails an assignment, he or she should be allowed a second chance to get it right. Students are likely to increase their grades, but more importantly, they’ll understand much better what went wrong and how they can improve. Remember: second chances are okay. Not everyone will learn everything right away.

Classroom technology

Though you don’t necessarily need any technology in the gamified classroom, several solutions can help a teacher implement some of these methods and ideas. A customizable classroom management system like ClassRealm can help teachers manage the classroom, broadcast education news or school news,or even allow students and parents to monitor a student’s progress. Whether technology is used or not, gamification is sure to improve the class experience and shape better students in the long run.