In today’s classroom, educators are constantly required to mold their teaching methods to give students the best opportunity to succeed. It is not only imperative for students to learn the required material, but also critical that students gain a sense of confidence toward their work, and find motivation to expand their learning. Therefore, teachers must become more and more creative when motivating students to learn.
Having the learning process as an exploratory and active practice rather than a passive and mundane one keeps users attentive. It can get students interested in topics they would otherwise be apathetic toward. I have found that I can utilize technology in the classroom and online to bring the students in your class alive as they would be active participants in the learning process and actually doing something other than just listening.
By bringing to the classroom the mechanics within which your students operate in their everyday lives, you also create a realm of security and comfortability to explore. You introduce competition, an intrinsic motivator, and an easy way to make even the most timid and shy students strive to see their names at the top of the leaderboard. Bottom line, gamification carries the potential to make your students care about a topic as much as you do.
Gamification is simply the idea of taking the principles of play, the things we’ve learned in playing video games and placing those concepts and ideas in the world of education or the workplace to make it more engaging.
Taking things like leveling up systems, quests, task completions checks, rewards, and layering them over existing activities. Think about working in the grocery store and having to scan a whole lot of barcodes (brings me back to my high school days). You might be a lot more engaged seeing a progress to completion bar showing you how much closer you are to leveling up each time you scan a barcode. Going a whole month without getting one complaint from a customer, or completing your homework in the same fashion, almost guarantees that by day 20 out of 30, no one will drop the ball for the class. This type of incentive program has been proven to work and has shown to increase engagement and productivity.
Though there are those who criticize gamification, it is undeniable that gamification provides students and teachers with a new and innovative way of facilitating learning. Gamification has the ability to transform the classroom on ground or online to teach students practical skills, foster collaboration and creativity, as well as motivate students to advance their own learning through self-guided instruction.
Written by: Joshua DuCharme
Joshua DuCharme has been working in the education system for the last 9 years. He holds a Masters in Education from National University, a CA Cleared Credential (CLAD) from National University, and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from National University. In this last 9 years he has accomplished many things. He has taught second grade, fifth grade, special education, online collegiate classes, created numerous professional development courses for teachers and administrators, and published papers on topics such as Effective Behavior Managment for elementary teachers, Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom, and his most recent publication on gamifying your classroom. He continues to serve on boards and committees at his school involving STAR Testing, WASC Accreditation, and helped in creating the technology task team at his school. He helped design the school’s website. He continues to serve in the community offering free tutoring services to struggling students and counseling to parents. His expertise extends much farther than the classroom and reaches deep into the community in which he lives.