Bring Gamification into Your Classroom
One of the hottest teaching strategy trends in recent years is the use of gamification to motivate, engage and improve student performance. By applying the elements of gameplay to assignments, teachers can help students better connect with classroom material.
The use of games as a teaching method may have its roots with Dmitri Mendeleev, a 19th-century Russian scientist and teacher who is often credited as the first scientist to publish the periodic table of elements. He is also credited as one of the first scientists to use gamification to educate students, according to the Smithsonian Science Education Center.
Today’s teachers can learn how to put gamification into play through a unique continuing education class called Gamification in the Classroom offered by Fresno Pacific University. The class itself is structured like a game, allowing teachers to learn about gamification as they experience it while earning important professional development credits from an accredited university.
What Is Gamification for The Classroom?
Gamification is the act of making tasks game-like by awarding points for each task completed. In the classroom, it manifests as the application of gameplay elements in non-game settings to motivate students and enhance engagement.
With the periodic table, Mendeleev provides an example. The scientist used playing cards to categorize the elements, making it easier for him to understand the relationships between them. This worked for the same reason gamification can work with students in the classroom--because Mendeleev was a fan of playing cards.
The idea applies well to today’s classrooms. Many students are among the millions who enjoy video games. Applying the ideas of earning points and “leveling up” in education is something these students immediately understand.
Benefits of Gamification in the Classroom
Why should teachers try gamification? While there are many debates about the best way to teach students, some educators have found that games focus attention and provide motivation to those who play them.
Gamification in the classroom can lead to other benefits, as well. If teams are used in gamification students learn to cooperate and work with others toward a common goal. Games also make routine assignments more fun, increasing student interaction with the content.
There are multiple approaches to incorporating gamification into learning. Some teachers use digital games. Others adapt classic games such as Scrabble, bingo or scavenger hunts, according to the International Society for Technology in Education. Teachers may also use and create popular knowledge quests that run for a longer period, mimicking some of today’s most popular games.
What You Learn in a Gamification Course
Whatever approach is used, the bottom line is for teachers to benefit from gamification as a tool to improve student performance. Buying into the idea is the first step to success. One of the first lessons in the Fresno Pacific University Gamification in the Classroom course is to “develop a rationale for utilizing gamification strategies in the classroom, considering learning theories of students.”
Teachers who take the course are exposed to gamification tools and strategies that are available for the specific grade level they teach. They also learn how to create a written gamification plan for their classroom and ensure that the plan meets state education standards for gamification.
For teachers looking for a way to integrate gamification into classroom projects as well as routines, the Gamification in the Classroom course offers a chance to learn how to do that while earning important professional development credits.