Why would you want to gamify your classroom?
The idea of using game-based ideas in the learning environment or gamification continues to gain momentum with teachers…but more importantly with students.
Let’s not mistake “using games in the learning environment” with “gamifying the learning”. They are two different approaches to using technology within the classroom.
Playing games as a way to educate students is something we have been doing for a long time. Whether it is Monopoly to teach finance, Oregon Trail to teach history, or Connect Four to teach strategy and counting, using games for learning has been around for a few decades. With computers and the Internet, we have seen an explosion of games used for learning purposes. There are whole platforms that schools and districts can now purchase to have the learning be the game.
Gamification is something different. Wikipedia probably has the best straightforward answer:
Gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity ~Wikipedia
Gamification is taking the idea of which games are built on and using them to create a new and different learning structure in our classrooms. It’s not “plugging a student in,” rather engaging students in fun and challenging ways to learn.
Gamification has been around for quite a while now. Remember having a star chart for reading in front of the classroom? For every book finished we could put a star next to our name. Everyone in the class could see where everyone else was (competition) and after every 10 books you finished you were able to pick a prize from the prize basket (reward). Although a simple version of what is possible today, in some shape or form, gamification of education has been around for decades.
Although gamification is not new to education, computers and the Internet have made it increasingly easier to not only gamify your classroom but to implement deep thinking strategies simultaneously. With access to so much more information, the game you create for your students can be endless. In 1995, the first application of using the Internet in gamifying the classroom was invented by Berne Dodge from San Diego State University. Known as WebQuests, these “games” created by educators used the power of the Internet to expand students’ knowledge and thinking outside the classroom. Most WebQuests used a competition or leveling approach to engage a student in deep inquiry-based learning environments.
So why would you want to gamify your classroom?
If you remember the Internet in 1995 and compare to the Internet of today you can understand how gamification has become even a stronger more engaging learning approach for students. In a time when only roughly 50% of Middle School students and 35% of High School students say they are engaged in school, we need to consider how this generation learns and adapt to their new learning styles.
Gamification of learning is a great way to keep students engaged in the learning happening in your classroom. With the advancement of the gamification tools now available for your classroom, you can now create environments similar to the video games that students enjoy playing outside of school.
Learn with us this summer! Join us in the 1:1 Summer of Fun and learn more about The 1:1 Teacher microcredential, designed to enable you to become an expert designer of authentic purposeful technology-rich experiences for your students. Learn more here!