Gamification is a fairly recent development to the education world, and it could be described as a method of classroom teaching by incorporating elements of gaming such as scoring, competition, rules, avatars, and so forth, into instruction. Students can earn badges for their hard work and successes and learn critical problem-solving skills. This could be beneficial to students in many ways- gamification encourages them to be active learners and teaches them what skills need to be used in certain contexts. Students are engaged and motivated to learn: “The gaming elements draw students in and motivate them to continue practicing. You can find students voluntarily practicing playsheets, even when they are not assigned.” (Keeler, 2014) In addition, it seems as if it’s an essential teaching tool in the 21st century, when technology pervades every aspect of life.
One idea that I found particularly helpful when considering how I could incorporate gamification into my future classroom is evaluating what type of game-players my students are. I could have them take a quiz that would identify what type they are. Not only would that provide them insight into how they tend to interact in game settings, but it would provide me, the teacher, information into the gamer types of my students, and could adapt the gaming atmosphere likewise. I also appreciated that there are some print elements of gamification- so often I think too many education tools are dependent on technology and not enough real interaction. Printing out badges would be an excellent way to provide students with a tangible reward when they accomplish a learning goal, a positive reinforcement tool of sorts. Also, I found that there are many nonconventional ways to gamify the classroom, including video game systems, as long as the educator is skillful in its implementation.
I’ve been astounded by the amount of technology available to aid in gamification. There are two in particular that seem to be extremely helpful. BrightFingers is one, with color-coded keys and colored gloves to associate colors with the fingers to use for which letter. Students make associations, and it makes typing fun and engaging with the light-up keys. The ability to type fast is essential in a classroom that incorporates technology, and it speeds up the learning process when they can type fast. This technology seems to be a more effective way to teach within the classroom while instruction is occurring, instead of going to a computer/typing class each day or week. Hummingbird robotics is the other one, because of its engaging, hands-on nature. This company provides a wide range of materials to have students make programmable robots pertaining to several subject areas like art and engineering. Students can make Rube Goldberg machines, or something of the sort, and the designs are up to the students’ imaginations. The self-efficacy gained with this project is not only essential for the gaming atmosphere of the classroom but also to spur the creative, ingenious minds that each student has.
Hall, M. (2014, May 13). What is Gamification and Why Use It in Teaching? Retrieved November 9, 2018, from https://ii.library.jhu.edu/2014/05/13/what-is-gamification-and-why-use-it-in-teaching/
Davis, V. (2014, March 20). Gamification in Education. Retrieved November 9, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/gamification-in-education-vicki-davis
Keeler, A. (2014, June 10). Beyond the Worksheet: Playsheets, GBL, and Gamification. Retrieved November 9, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/beyond-worksheet-playsheets-gbl-gamification-alice-keeler
(n.d.). Hardware for Education – Everything Else – Product Reviews. Retrieved November 9, 2018, from https://www.edsurge.com/product-reviews/everything-else/hardware-for-education