Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gamification in the classroom

Image courtesy of kakisky

What is gamification of learning?
In it's basic form it is using the techniques behind gaming as a basis for classroom learning. Gaming involves problem solving, replaying parts of the game again and again until you get to the next level, finishing off an end of level adversary and can involve multiplayer opportunities where teams work together to solve the problems they face. As players progress through their games they collect power-ups, extra skills and always win points. A defeat encourages further gameplay until progress is made. Now imagine tying that into learning. Read more here.

How can it be connected to learning?
The gamification of a classroom requires a lot of thought and careful planning. It can't be just used without some thought given over to the process of using gaming techniques as a method of learning. If you visualise your termly plan as a game to play through then that will give you a start. Each subject you teach during the term could be a mission that has to be completed by the learners (players) and at the end of each mission the gamers/learners have to defeat an end of level boss to demonstrate their learning or work with a team member to help them progress through to the next mission. That's the general idea.
Over the next few weeks and then throughout the second school term I will be using these gaming techniques with my own class. Will it help to improve learning? Will it motivate my class, engage them? I'm willing to find out and I'm looking forward to the next few months ahead. I will post regular updates here on my blog and hope that it will help others to ascertain whether gamification of learning can be an effective form of engagement in your classroom.