Monday, October 19, 2015

Gamification in Education

Gamification is the use of game design and game mechanics to benefit areas in a non-gaming context. According to the blog, Tophat,
"We’ve seen this approach in a variety of settings: completing our Subway punch card to win a free sandwich, receiving a badge on Foursquare for being the first of friends to check in at a particular restaurant, or expanding our profiles on LinkedIn to bring the “completion bar” up to 100%. Gamification has even worked its way into the automotive industry with the innovative dashboard of the Ford Fusion hybrid. A high-resolution display features a rendering of vine-like leaves. Waste gas, and your vines wither. Conserve, and they blossom."
Along with Subway punchcards and the dashboards of our Fords, gamification has also worked its way into our classrooms. Educators are gamifying their rooms in very simple ways, but they are beginning to see big rewards. The Tophat article gave me a lot of ideas about gamification, a word that I had never even heard of prior to this mod. However, even though I had never heard of gamification before, I realized that it is something I have integrated into my own teaching without even noticing. Tophat suggests 4 ways to introduce gaming into the classroom: gamify grading, award students with badges, integrate educational video games into your curriculum, and stir up a little competition, such as tournament module platform in the classroom. 
I think that these are all great ideas. I have used point systems before in my classroom, which worked as a great motivator for my students. I did not even think about how the point system linked to games, which is probably why it worked so well with my students!
Gamification in the classroom is a great tool to motivate students and to reach those students who sometimes just need a new perspective on school work - if the student scoffs at assignments, turn the assignment into a game without him knowing and maybe you might see some results. 
Gamification is not the end all, be all, however. Gamification should not be the only motivator in the classroom, as it may take away from some intrinsic motivation. Tophat concludes their post with the quote, "Games can’t be used to replace pedagogy, but can be used to enhance the overall learning experience." I agree with this closing statement 100%. Games are a great tool for the classroom, as well as outside the classroom, to motivate and engage students. However, gaming in the classroom should have a specific time and place. 

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1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear that you have already seen the effect of using some "gamification" in the classroom.