There are many people supporting the pedagogy behind Gamification of the classroom. Macie Hall of Johns Hopkins University Center for Educational Resources encourages teachers to “develop a game to help students conquer a learning obstacle in your class.” Her article introduces the idea of gamification in the classroom and how teachers can start to apply them. She also gives many links to resources to better understand what gamification is and tools to help you gamify.
You may be reading this wondering what gamification is, if that’s the case here is your crash course!
- Gamification’s main goal is to rise the engagement of users by using game-like techniques such as scoreboards and personalized fast feedback (Flatla et al, 2011)
- Gamification includes the use of game mechanics, dynamics and frameworks to promote desired behaviors.(Lee and Hammer, 2011)
- Gamification does not imply creating a game. It means makes education more fun and engaging, without undermining its credibility. (Muntean, 2001)
How does all of this fit into the education theory?
Positive Reinforcement – Behaviourism:
- Learner performs as expected in positive manner = rewarded
- Learner performs in a negative manner = penalized
- Behavior altered through the application of these rewards/penalties.
Inquiry-based Learning (IBL) – Constructivism:
IBL educators become facilitators of learners developing their problem-solving skills, and formation of mental structures (schema) to explain observations (Edelson, Daniel, Douglas, Gordin & Pea, 1999).
IBL learners experience:
- Posing own questions/designs
- Explore answers
- Solve problems
- Joint construction and sharing of knowledge
- Collaboration – Learners designing and/or working on projects together.
You can definitely see how some educators are excited by this exciting technology connection with the classroom! Not all gamification occurs through technology BUT many ways to gamify your classroom have been developed using technology.
A quick list with links to some gamification options for your classroom through the use of technology.
- Invite real life problem solving into yourclassroom with EVOKE http://www.urgentevoke.com/page/how-to-play
- Experience a world without oil with this unique blogging game http://writerguy.com/wwo/metahome.htm
- Fight a zombie apocalypse while learning about middle school- high school level biology and science ! Progenitor the narrative, turn based puzzle-solving game. http://www.gameslearningsociety.org/px_microsite/
- Build habits with your class if they have access to smart phones https://habitica.com/static/front
There are many options available to educators, these are just a few to help get the ideas flowing! I have been using the Classcraft software with my marching band. I needed something to help motivate good behaviors, encourage focus and attentiveness while at rehearsal and during the week. I wasn’t sure what to do until another educator Kay Greene from Nova Scotia suggested Classcraft. She was using the software in her classes for the very same reasons.
What is Classcraft?
The basic overview of how the software works is pretty simple. The class will be transformed into a gaming setup. You can control how much it is used and you can customize the requirements! The platform is online and your students can interact through scenarios with you. They don’t need a device after they have set up. The class will be able to earn XP or experience points from you, the game master! They can even suffer HP or hit points at your discretion.
Now it may sound like you run the game but students are placed in teams and when someone takes HP it may affect the entire team. If this is the case they suffer consequences which you have decided ahead of time. The team members can choose to save their member from punishment but it will mean spending some of their XP. The dynamic creates an interesting team environment because of course, you want your team to continue to do well and earn more points.
WHY you ask would the students care !?
Well you can set goals to achieve or prizes to be earned with certain levels of XP being earned. In my class we focused on the positives of earning more than negative events happening. We sat down and choose the prizes they wished to earn.
Some examples would be:
- Play your own music at break
- Choose a piece for the band to learn
- Get to leave without cleaning up the room
Focusing on the positive worked wonderfully for my group and they enjoy fighting to earn XP to save up for a large prize.
How does all this work you ask?
You create a teacher account which allows you to input a class list. The program generates a code for each of your students and their parents. The program gives you individualized printouts for each student to bring home so no one forgets what their code is. You only need the code once to set up! Your student and parents (if they choose) set up their player. The students choose a character and select a type of occupation. There is a video which you can watch outlining this process and the differences between characters. I watched these with my students and set up their characters during class time. The tutorials for setting up and using Classcraft are well done and they offer many videos to go along with the text.
There are many options to try with Classcraft! For my class we simply used it to motivate my learners while they were in class and away. I did so by setting my rewards and ways to earn XP with my class. We choose things which needed to be improved and used those as ways to earn the XP. Other suggestions for Classcraft could be to create missions with in your class, they could be assignments, projects or behaviors you wish to encourage. Using the software to help your assignments become a quest or mission can help motivate and encourage your students to participate. There are different levels of cost for Classcraft the first being Free! You can opt to pay more for different features, the one I have is the free version. Click here to learn more about the cost of the software.
Looking for more?
Check out these links if you are interested in learning more about Classcraft
Giving you tips specifally about Classcraft: http://www.ipadeducators.com/single-post/2015/05/17/Top-Ten-Tips-for-Classcraft
Testimonials from teachers https://www.classcraft.com/testimonials/
The Classcraft Blog http://classcraft8.rssing.com/chan-56062135/all_p2.html
Other teachers Blogging about Classcraft https://www.commonsense.org/education/game/classcraft-teacher-review/4026666
Classcraft PowerPoint detailing a general outline https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1PMODX-ei2OMXyhGUMOSZf7BBFFw42UY6-tMdbT150t4/edit#slide=id.g11f4bc3276_0_8
Edelson, D. C., Gordin, D. N., & Pea, R. D. (1999). Addressing the challenges of inquiry-based learning through technology and curriculum design. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 8(3-4), 391-450.
Flatla, D., Gutwin, C., Nacke, L., Bateman, S., Mandryk, R. (2011) Calibration Games: Making Calibration Tasks Enjoyable by Adding Motivating Game ElementsUIST 2011, Santa Barbara, California
Lee J., Hammer J. (2011) Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother? Academic Exchange Quarterly, 15(2). http://www.gamifyingeducation.org/files/Lee-Hammer-AEQ-2011.pdf
Joyce, M. (2015) 21st Century Teachers Should Embrace Gamifying Education. Mitchell Joyce Blog Retrieved Jan 24th, 2017 from http://mitchell-joyce.com/gamifying-education/
Muntean, C.I. (2001) Raising Engagement in E-Learning Through Gamification. In Proc. 6th INternational Conferance on Virtual Learning ICVL Pg. 323-329. Retrieved Jan 26th, 2017 from http://icvl.eu/2011/disc/icvl/documente/pdf/met/ICVL_ModelsAndMethodologies_paper42.pdf