Gamification Of Education

College is not a game. But that doesn’t mean games can’t be used to engage students. Gamification is a relatively new word for an old concept. It’s about finding new incentives to guide students on their education journey .

University of Pennsylvania’s course on Coursera  defines Gamification “as the application of digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges”. Elaborating on the benefit of gamification, it says, “Effective games leverage both psychology and technology, in ways that can be applied outside the immersive environments of games themselves”.

Apart from education, Gamification is currently being applied to customer engagement, employee performance, innovation management, personal development, sustainability, health and wellness.

Here, we will focus on how the gamification is impacting the traditional of teaching, and who are the key players.

Why games? What can you learn from playing games? How can games change the world? Watch this video, in which Jane McGonigal addresses the idea of using games in education at the 2011 Microsoft Innovative Education Forum.

Gamification And Education

Benefits Of Gamification

In 2011, Joey J. Lee, Ph.D and Jessica Hammer, an Assistant Professor and Graduate Fellow from Teachers College Columbia University in New York, published a paper, titled “Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother?”  According to the paper, gamification can be applied to three different learning areas  – namely, those covering–  ‘cognitive’, ‘emotional’ and ‘social’ needs of students.

Cognitive Benefits: Cognitive’ benefits include the development of problem-solving skills. This is perhaps the most obvious of the benefits, but the next two may be of equal, perhaps greater importance.

Emotional Benefits: Gamification can be a powerful tool in addressing the child’s ‘emotional’ needs. Games have the unusual ability to turn positive emotional experiences into positive ones. Simply put, in order to achieve success in games, failure must be experienced several times first.

Social Benefits: The ‘social’ benefits of gamification may not be immediately apparent, since gaming has a rather unfair image of being an antisocial activity as games are often played alone.

How To Gamify Education

There are a variety of ways to introduce gamified learning to classrooms. Some of the successful ideas are:

  1. Gamify grading: Lee Sheldon, a professor at Indiana University, gamified his course by abandoning grades and implementing an experience points .
  2.  Award students with badges: For each assignment completed, award students with badges. This seemingly Kindergarten idea is working well with Khan Academy. As students watch instructional videos and complete problem sets, Khan Academy awards them with points and badges to track progress and encourage perseverance.
  3.  Integrate educational video games into your curriculum: Mr. Pai, a 3rd grade teacher, disrupted the traditional classroom setting by introducing the Nintendo DS, among other technology, into his daily curriculum. Students practiced math and language through the use of computer and video games. In just eighteen weeks, his class went from a below 3rd grade level to a mid fourth-grade level.
  4.  Stir up a little competition: Top Hat Monocle’s “tournament” module incentivize students to learn the material and practice.

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