Before the commencement of the 21st Century, parents opposed the idea of games playing an essential role in their child’s education. However, parents have gradually started understanding the role that games can play in the progress of their child’s education. Needless to say, “classroom gamification” is now an accepted term.
The concept of education has slowly begun to take a new route. Not just the parents, even the students today, are more open to the idea of studying with the help of games and gaming principles.
With the advancement in technology, almost everyone in the room has tablets, smartphones, Macs, and whatnot. It has made the transformation easier than expected.
In this article, we will look at the ways which can be useful for educators to gamify their classroom and why it is a big deal.
What is classroom gamification?
Games have several bright spots, which are a great medium of teaching students some specific skills. Most games are about solving several layers of problems, and they demand varying levels of abilities.
When on a game or while solving a puzzle, you are learning to be a team member, or you are learning how to compete. So why not utilize these things to teach students the same skills for their day-to-day lives?
It is what classroom gamification is all about. Instead of being all alone in your journey, you get coaches and teachers who help you along and get you out of obstacles. They give you some healthy tips which give you an edge. All in gamification all, in the classroom is a complete package.
What are the benefits of classroom gamification?
Traditional education methods were more bookish while pretending that there could be nothing better than those. Modern education is more about imparting knowledge to the students with the help of real-life examples.
What classroom gamification does best is to prepare the students for facing the upcoming adversities in life with the help of the virtual application. It helps to create excitement in students and also allows them some breathing space.
A classroom with gamification alone may not be a real success.
Instead, gamification techniques mixed with traditional ones can be a boon for the students by allowing them to explore more and giving them more opportunities to showcase their abilities.
As per a report by Learn2Earn, “97% of teachers polled said that the gamified reading platform Whooo’s Reading motivated their students to read more.”
Similarly, 97% of teachers use digital games that were created specifically for educational use, and 18% use games for education on a daily basis. (Online College Courses)
Top 8 ways to gamify your classroom
1. Let students co-design
When students are the main focus, why not let them co-design? You can start by introducing your idea to the entire class as the blueprint and then go on to showcase the long term and short term goals you want to achieve.
Invite students to voice their opinion on the model and if they have any suggestions for improvement. That way, you help students shape their future. Also, you get the benefit of several young and intelligent minds at play.
What involvement does best is that it gives a sense of ownership and belonging. It will have the students motivated to achieve individual as well as team objectives more sincerely. Plus, it also lets those thrive who generally struggle in the traditional environment.
2. Do not limit the chances available
When we are trying to emulate video games, we must remember to add in the ability to play the same level multiple times. Failure is not the end of the road, and it teaches a lot to the users. Why hamper the learning process by limiting the chances?
In a lot, there will be some students who cross at the very first instance, whereas the rest will need more than one try. If you give them the liberty to keep trying, it will motivate them to rectify their mistakes and cross the hurdle.
3. Teamwork should be a part of the curriculum
When in a classroom, you must ensure that anything you try to apply is not divisive. Instead, if you decide to build teams and let them compete, it may have a positive impact on the overall performance. Keeping aside the performance factor, it also fosters a sense of togetherness and creates a friendly atmosphere.
What you can do is try to give points to the entire team, be it badges, power-ups, or in any other form. If you still want individuals to shine, you can create a points system within the team which ranks all the members according to their contribution.
4. Hand out team rewards as well as individual rewards
In the last bullet, we spoke about the importance of creating teams. Once you have created them, you need a motivating factor for them to perform and improve continuously. You can introduce a rewards system, such as badges.
It will keep up the classroom morale, and a sense of competitiveness will prevail.
What would be better is the introduction of a team as well as individual rewards. Team reward will be a great way of acknowledging a bunch, which is doing great in unison. Whereas there would always be individuals whose team may not be performing well, but they get rave reviews for their performance.
Make sure that you appreciate them as well and give them some shout out or rewards.
5. Provide feedback ASAP
We all know that most gamified activities take time to churn out the results, which makes the given bullet the toughest nut to crack. Wherever you compete, you must know how well you are doing. In a gamification environment, the feedback system should operate similarly as in the video games i.e., instantly.
You can rightly point out that there are humans in the mix here, and it would not be possible to give out results immediately. You can try and allot instructors/teachers for every class. These people will then divide the classmates into teams that can differentiate themselves via a different batch, name, or by any other parameter.
By doing so, even if the results take a bit of time, the team members will provide feedback to each other, which can help in figuring out issues ASAP.
6. Give regular progress report
One of the most critical aspects of any video game is the ability to see your progress instantly. You may be on level 35, or it can be via designations like Amateur, Professional, Pro, or in any other feasible manner. How can you bring this in the classroom mix?
You can ask teachers to hand out progress bars to students, instead of grades, which will inform the students how close they are to the next level. After every assignment, you will receive some points depending on your performance, which will take you closer to the next level.
You can also introduce bonus levels, which can give students a similar boost in a lesser period. After a few tasks, there will be players who will be lurking at the bottom of the table. They can consult their classmates on how to improve their performance and what they could have done better. That way, you keep motivating them to bring the best out of them.
7. Implement a strategy to ensure regular practice
A classroom is like a practice ground; you get the chance to figure out your real-world issues and work on them. One of the primary focuses of gamification is to ensure that the students get a fluid environment which helps them to self-learn and rectify their mistakes.
Nothing comes easy, especially skills. They take a lot of time to develop and need constant practice to ensure that it doesn’t take a nosedive. As a creator, you must ensure that there is a system that fosters regular practice and lets the students improve continuously.
8. Let the students improvise
There is a reason why most people prefer democratic governments instead of autocratic ones. The primary goal is the freedom they get.
A classroom environment should be an open one, as well. The students should be given an overall picture with an extra room to let them improvise and try different things that they think can be game-changing.
The Sum Up
The main objective of any and every classroom is to create individuals who understand their aims and possess an ability to figure out a path best suited for achieving it. Gamification is an important weapon that lets students find innovative ways to study and grow.
You may criticize it as much as you like, but you cannot deny its ability to transform the classroom into a creative field where students learn practical skills. How well the students learn these also depends on how well-suited your gamification ideas are and their executions.