Playing games in the classroom, be they of a cooperative or competitive nature, is a wonderful way in which to increase student engagement and motivation.
Admittedly, the simple act of saying, “Okay kids, so now we are going to play _________ games,” magically heightens “the happiness/alertness factor” in the classroom.
& so … why do I believe in “the gamification of learning”?
Alphabetically speaking, games involve/embrace the following:
- Active engagement
- Challenges – ongoing & ever present
- Challenges – often very “cool”: i.e. “Save the world”, “Save the Prince”, “Climb the mountain, cross the ocean, etc.” with the implied understanding that as a player, “You can do it!”
- Clear goals – players learn to “follow instructions” as they morph and become increasingly complex over time
- Co-operative learning or friendly competition – choose the “type” that appeals to individual students
- Developing strategies – skills acquisition
- Fun – it’s a game! 😉
- Goals – clearly laid out, increasing in complexity as the “user” becomes more proficient/adept
- Immediate feedback – players know exactly where they stand relative to personal goals and/or to other players
- Levels – playing & learning are levelled according to individual strengths and needs
- Practice – often repetitive in nature as well – with the goal of achieving “mastery” in order to reach the next level
- Problem solving – let’s learn “how” and in new ways …. students are able to “try out theories” and take risks, to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills in a safe, fun environment
- Progress – attainable goals; visible; rewards 😉
- Risk taking – players learn to take calculated risks in a safe environment
- Role-playing – creativity – Students choose who or what they want to be – a unicorn? a wizard? yourself?
- Skills acquisition through a clearly outlined process.
… & so there it is – alphabetically speaking – the “the gamification of learning” —- just one among many of the “cool” approaches to learning – one that engages students as active learners.
(Please note: I am grateful to all those who have spoken and written before me on this most entertaining and effective teaching strategy … I tip my hat to you … for your ideas and input — for these are surely not all my own but, rather a co-operative process.)