Gamification of Education

There are some ideas about how we can improve education that make me so excited to be a future educator and remind me that there is no other profession I would be so happy to dedicate myself to. I believe that it is my job, as a future educator, to do everything I can and explore every avenue I can to give my future students an education that will spark a love of learning in them, get them engaged, and feed their curiosity. A huge part of this has been my learning of many edtech concepts. It opened a window into better education that I could not be more thankful for. Early on in my searches for ideas on improving education I found the word “gamefication” popping up. Around the same time I read a peer’s blog post about games for education that really got me excited. Since then, I have explored how education can be gamefied to better meet the needs of 21st century learners.

In this video, Paul Anderson discusses how he turned his classroom into a game. His idea was to structure the class the way that games are structured in order to get students learning and gaining skills in similar ways they do in video games. I like that he points out how important it is for students to be engaged and excited in a way that allows them to try, fail, and try again until they succeed – improving all of the time. This to me is a major selling point of gamification. The structure allows learners to see their experience rising rather than dropping. They look forward to learning rather than fear failing, as is pointed out in other videos on the subject matter. Another great thing Anderson does in this tedtalks video is sharing his downfalls, so that he and we can consider these things and improve our teaching methods.

Gabe Zichermann also talks about gamefication in various areas including work and school. I think it is important to remember that we are changing as a result of our technology and the ways we learn best change too. The skills that will be needed in the future are different than they were in the past. Games allow group work or “multiplayer.” Collaboration is an important skill for all learners, which will help in future work places, but also in learning for understanding.

This video looks at games in education, and the concepts that can be overlooked by non-gamers. Although games may be incorporated into education with the best of intentions, if they are assigned like regular homework in a forced way they lose their effectiveness for games are voluntary. Especially important to me about this video is the statement that gamefication can be “part of revamping the educational system to make sure that personal desire for knowledge is a stronger motivator than a fear of punishment.” It is important that the games get students curious and as through play learn and develop a passion for learning.

The more basic conceptual changes behind gamefying education is changing the grading system, which is a system I don’t really care for anyways as I find traditional grades and ways of viewing grades as not productive to learning and creating an environment that promotes a life-long love of learning. Traditional grading systems can be flipped so that students are always gain experience rather than dropping from the 100% they enter the class with. If learning can be separated from the toxic forms of grading then I am all for it. I just hope that the mind-frame is changing with the surface changes. Both “The Gamefication of Education” and “Gamefying Education” go into further detail about this and provide specific examples of how this would look.

To me, gamefication brings a lot of concepts together and provides an opportunity to learn in an environment that gets learners excited, engaged, and far away from the fear of failing. To me, it opens another door to getting students passionate about their education and learning. If you are interested in talking to a larger group of people on this subject a discussion forum can be found: here. Also, feel free to leave a comment and share your ideas on gamefication with me. Do you think gamefication could help improve education? And would you use it in your own teaching?

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3 thoughts on “Gamification of Education

  1. I think you have a lot of great ideas here. I think that any way of teaching that will get the students excited to learn is worth a try. I think if the students are more eager to learn they will get more out of school. I definitely would consider doing this is my classroom, but I would have to look into it a little more!

    • Thanks! I’m still digging into it too, but when I first heard about it I had a light-bulb moment that got me very excited. I think two main things that can make this concept difficult is not going deep enough with it (just making surface changes) and also making it to unstructured, Paul Anderson pointed out that his students needed more scaffolding than he gave them initially. I really do think it’s worth checking out and trying out, always tailoring out teaching to our specific learners of course 🙂

  2. Pingback: Inquiry: Student-Centered Instructional Strategies | Paige Mitchell's Blog

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