The Gamification of Education
I wish I created the following Infographic, but regretfully I didn’t. Scanning through this infographic is a great gateway into the the concept of gamification. To start, here are a couple gamification definitions to keep you in the loop:
- “Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems.” Gabb Zichermann and Wikipedia
- “Gamification is the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging.” Gamification Wiki
Everyone loves games! I will say it again. Everyone loves games, but they might not all like video games. Games are just fun, and create pleasureful chemical reactions within our nervous systems.
Nevertheless, since I was a kid in the 80s, video games have been getting a bad rap. Not until I read the book Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal (TED Talk), did I feel proud to be a gamer. I’ve always had this in-the-closet mentality about my video game play–especially as a teacher. Teachers didn’t ask in the teacher’s lounge, and I didn’t tell them. However, rather than discredit video games’ value or claim they are the reason behind unmotivated students, try to see the value in using existing video games or game elements in the classroom. Heck, why not start to play video games yourself or better yet try to make your own basic video games through online platforms like: Scratch, GameStar Mechanic, or Spolder.
It’s probably safe to assume that many teachers have used some type of game to promote learning. The use of games for learning isn’t really anything new and neither is video gaming in the classroom (i.e. Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego). As a teacher, I have been gamifying (to a degree) non-game systems within the classroom for a while. But, we haven’t always been using the types of games near and dear to students’ hearts. For instance, Jeopardy PowerPoints created to review the concepts before a test are cool and all, but what student cares or even knows the Jeopardy theme anymore. Most of the time, games within the classroom are arbitrary instances that are temporary solutions for engaging students. I would like to see students engaged within a gamified learning system that occurs regularly.
The idea of using Game Elements, Game Design, and/or Games for Learning within the classroom, isn’t a completely new concept, but has been intriguing me for the last two years. I have always employed the use of games for learning, but I can always become a better classroom “game designer.” If you want to join me in implementing game elements within the classroom, feel free to book a time with me to plan an on-going project. If you aren’t privileged to work with me on a regular basis (JJ), please comment with any Gamification ideas you have below. Hopefully this infographic inspires some ideas for the classroom and/or makes you want to learn more about Games and Learning.
- How can we add game elements (especially from video games) into the classroom on a more regular basis?
- What other opportunities are there for gamifying classroom activities?