Thursday, 14 March 2013

Gamifying the Classroom: 10 Inspiring Articles

1. Let’s play school: Gamification and the future of education - This short article discusses how gamification in education can increase motivation and engagement.  The article contains insights from Khan Academy president Shantanu Sinha who argues that games are motivational as they allow people to progress at their own pace, they give immediate feedback and praise and they allow people to push their own boundaries.

Infographic by SuperFunner via this article.
2. Study’s the Name of the Game - This article provides a balanced introduction to gamification including various statistics.  It explains how one school uses games in science classes to achieve self-directed, organic learning.  Gamification enables the students to become fully immersed, engaged, motivated, lower their fear of failure and become better time managers.  The article also discusses research done on university students that found students absorbed more information than reading a book.  Importantly, the article warns against students becoming too extrinsically motivated and that gamification can actually be used to develop the intrinsic motivation to learn.

3. Six Ways to Look at Badging Systems Designed for Learning - While we at pixelfountain believe gamification should be more than simply awarding badges, this article has some interesting insights.  Some of the ways that the authors see badges working in education include: badges acting as alternative assessment, as learning scaffolding and to develop lifelong learning skills.

4. Gamifying Homework - This article discusses research done by Richard Landers on undergraduate students to encourage them to do their homework.  The researcher developed a social network for the students that included basic gamification principles and 28% of the students willingly chose to do extra work that wouldn’t affect their grades.

5. How to Use Game Dynamics in the Classroom - This article gives a brief introduction of another piece of research about using gamification in undergraduate courses.  The experimental group will have the chance to complete various challenges, which will earn them points.  The control group will have the same lectures but will be asked to complete quizzes (containing the same questions, but with no points system).  The groups will be compared on engagement, attendance and academic performance.  I am unable to find the results of the study, but it will be interesting to see if gamification had an impact.

6. The Gamified Classroom - Part 1: The Unique Obstacles Teachers Face - This article argues that gamification will encourage engagement in classrooms.  However, it also discusses potential problems: budget and scalability.

7. The Gamified Classroom – Part 2: Technology’s Role in a Gamified Classroom - Part two of the series explains how children should be taught 21st century skills rather than focussing on teaching them how to use the technology of the moment as this will be obsolete in not very long.  It also discusses how education should be student centred, however, unless there are fundamental shifts in the education system, this is difficult.  However, technology could be a way of achieving this as much gamified content is differentiated for different levels and personality types.  The article goes on to explain that children know how to use technology for entertainment, but the job of a teacher should be to show them how to use them for other purposes.  They should develop their 21st century skills in conjunction with the technology, but not dependent on it, to work collaboratively on projects, for research and so on.

8. The Gamified Classroom – Part 3: The Importance of Motivation - This part dicusses the work of Educational Psychologist Jere Brophy.  Brophy argued that Motivation = Expectancy (of success) x Value (of succeeding).  Brophy developed a series of factors that he found motivating and the article discusses how gamification could be used to reach the same ends.  Factors include: provide opportunities for choice and provide opportunities for students to respond actively.  The author argues that gamification works better that traditional education as it offers a narrative; learning has a purpose greater than simply achieving grades, and this is why it is so motivating.

9. Education Meets ‘World of Warcraft’ - This article highlights some interesting teaching methods.  A teacher begins each semester by greeting his class with “Congratulations, you have an F” and adds, “But you can level up”.  He designs his class like a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) such as World of Warcraft by dividing his class into guilds which must complete quests (such as making a presentation) to earn points and advance to the next level.  The article discusses the results this innovative teacher has achieved and discusses more about why gamification works and other ways that it has been used (such as to promote good interpersonal skills, not just good grades and attendance).

10. Gamifying the Classroom with World of Classcraft - This software uses the principles of MMORPGs in a classroom setting with the ultimate goal of making the whole class into a game.  Students earn experience points by doing positive actions in class, these lead to them levelling up and gaining special abilities (for themselves, peers and the class).  The software makes use of an online leader board and can be used across the curriculum.

If you haven’t already read them, have a read of our blog posts on gamification:

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