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What is Gamification in Education? 6 Ways to Gamify Your Classroom

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Gouldian Finch | May 16, 2019
What is Gamification in Education? 6 Ways to Gamify Your Classroom

Quick Take: Looks at Gamification in education. Great advice on how to merge games with modern EdTech and get students motivated. 

Can education be fun? The gamification of education is taking schoolwork and turning it into entertainment. 

Take a moment to think about your experiences in education, either as a student or as a teacher. Chances are high that the lessons that still stand out are the ones that were most engaging. 

Not only is that understandable, but educational content creators want to harness that thought, merge it with modern EdTech, and apply it to curriculums everywhere. 

Long story short, that’s how gamification in education came to be. Therein, the teacher uses interactive boards like ViewBoard, and other tools to disguise lessons as games that students will be eager to engage in. 

Knowing is, does gamification in education sound like it might be of interest to you and your daily life?

If so, we are here to help. Below, we have laid out 6 ways to gamify your classroom, which will take full advantage of the possibilities that gamification in education possesses. 

gamification in education

What is gamification and what are its advantages? 

Taking a step back, gamification refers to the application of gaming components to other aspects of life. Imagine, for instance, the use of the point-based victories found in game shows to encourage teamwork in the workplace. When it comes to gamification in education, however, the ultimate goal is to engender greater student engagement with the lesson material.

When properly implemented, strategies associated with gamification in education may yield incredible benefits. Cognitive development, student engagement, accessibility, homework completion, classroom enjoyment, and teaching feedback times all can experience significant boosts. That said, these possibilities would remain just that unless the basic success factors are met, which include:

  • Challenges Students 
  • Teaches Students
  • Entertains Students
  • Focuses Students 

gamification in education

6 Ways to gamify your classroom 

In order to take proper advantage of all that gamification in education has to offer, you should consider doing so in the ways that have been proven effective. From the introduction of in-class collectibles to point-based rewards and competitive participation, there are plenty of options for you to consider. With that in mind, 6 of those ways have been elaborated upon below.  

1. Introduce collectibles 

In the Pokemon series, players collect gym badges in order to advance through the game. In Assassin's Creed, the gameplay has evolved over the years to become a massive hunt for collectibles. The fact here is that collectibles are intrinsic to the nature of modern games. The same can be found in real life, where Boy Scouts spend their time acquiring merit badges for the sake of learning and advancement.

When it comes to gamification in education, this concept is applied to the classroom. For example, when a student masters the use of Microsoft word, they may receive a badge. Conversely, these badges may reflect long-term achievement, such as when a student receives their 10th perfect score on a quiz. Oftentimes, these collectibles are tracked by way of programs built into class’ interactive technology.  

2. Point-based rewards 

When you were a child, or even as an adult, would you rather do things for their own sake or because you can have something later as a result? We’re going to assume that you selected the latter option. The point is that incentivization is a powerful motivator and can be found in all aspects of life, particularly in gaming. When players of Ubisoft-published games perform or complete certain actions, for instance, they receive points, which can be redeemed via the Uplay app

When it comes to gamification in education, think about everything that must be done in the classroom - take notes, get good grades, stay quiet, do your homework, and so on. In that regard, consider applying a point-value to each performed task. If a student gets an A, then they get 5 points. If they turn in their homework on time, then another 3 points go their way. Once students acquire enough points, they can then use them to earn certain privileges, as set by the teacher. For instance, 30 points may allow them to skip one assignment, while 50 points will let them eat a snack during class.  

3. Grading via accomplishment 

Like it or hate it, grading is key to evaluation and the overall education experience. The real difference comes in how teachers approach the valuation of assignments and overall score accumulation. Before delving into that, let’s back up for a moment. A few decades back, the centerpiece of any game in any arcade was its high score list. For example, if you ate enough dots, ghosts, and fruit in Pac-Man, and kept your deaths to a minimum, chances are good that you accumulated enough points to place on the coveted list. 

Returning to gamification in education, those teachers applying its strategies should think of Pac-Man when devising their grading structures. Therein, instead of focusing grades on the loss of points, focus it on the accumulation. In that vein, if a student receives an 8 out of 10 on a quiz, consider giving them a +8 instead of a -2. When it comes down to it, this method allows students to watch their final grade grow as the semester progresses, as opposed to watching it slowly decline. 

4. At-home work 

We get it, no student likes doing homework. After all, schoolwork is for school and video games are for the home. However, considering that gamification in education makes everything seem like a video game, should not that reduce students’ resistance to homework? The answer, thanks to EdTech, is a resounding, “yes”!  

For better or for worse, there is not enough time for teachers to cover everything they want to in class. Moreover, teachers often struggle with motivating their students to complete their assignments. When it comes down to it, they need to want to do their homework, or else the pursuit may be fruitless. With gamification and interactive technology, students are exposed to a new, fun learning style that they may also want to experience and continue at home.  

5. Compete for participation   

Imagine the rush you feel when you outdo your friends, family, or another peer group. The rush that comes from competition, and subsequent victory, can be incredible. That is why, from Tekken to Super Smash Bros, gaming competitions have been popular from the start of the industry. 

In the analog classroom, certain less-than-motivated students may ask themselves, “what’s the point?’. That is where gamification in education comes in. Just like incentivization, competition and the prospect of victory have proven to be excellent catalysts for improved student engagement and participation. If a class needs to review for an upcoming test, for instance, then a team-based version of Jeopardy should yield desirable results.  

6. Play games 

At its core, gamification in education, or in any other setting, is nothing without the games that make it up. Whether it is Jeopardy for competition, a point-and-click adventure for homework, or whatever, the point is that gamification should make the classroom a more fun place to be.  

That is why games are so integral to the gamification process. Just because gaining aspects are integrated into classroom management does not mean that it will automatically be fun. No matter what, consideration still needs to be paid toward the implementation of each activity and process. That is why discovering ways to implement gamification in education can of such utility. 

Getting Started in Turning Lessons to Games

Try out a few ideas illustrated above to help your students get motivated in the subject matters. Get them up and participating in the lesson. Challenge their minds with a little competition. That is what gamification is all about in education.

Check out more about education and EdTech at ViewSonic/Education.