Epic Gamification for Noobs

What is Gamification?

Gamification is turning something into a game, making it more game like.

Isn’t that just house points like in Harry Potter?

Reward systems are nothing new in schools but gamification is a refinement of the idea. I don’t know about you but I find certain video games very diverting. t’s not just the points, it’s not just the high score. I like games that recognise that I tackled a level in an unusual way or reward me for being thorough with trophies and achievements.

Gamifying the classroom could mean giving out badges (real and virtual), for completing certain tasks.

Why gamify the classroom?

I am just at the beginning of adding gamification to my classroom. I want to try it out because video games and social networking are compelling for a reason. If I could have a fraction of the engagement in my lesson that is generated by Minecraft, I’d be a happy educator.

How to get started?

An easy way is to reward behaviours you want to encourage. Maybe you want to focus on work completion, participation, creative ideas. One thing that gives (forgetful) me comfort is that rewards are more interesting to people when they are a little bit unpredictable. Everyone loves consistency in the classroom but being a bit forgetful with the rewards is actually not a bad thing in this case.

We already have a reward policy already at my school and I can’t interfere with it

Another great way to ‘gamify’ is to turn assignments into ‘quests’. Even better if you can think of multiple ways students could tackle the task and have a variety of badges/trophies available.

Become a quiz master

Have students set their own questions in the style of a tv quiz show (for example Jeopardy, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire etc) and run a quiz show. Not only does it give their brains an incentive for memorising facts, it also means that they have to understand the topic to be able to ask questions.

Not every student will take to this approach but I have often found that groups of hardcore  work-avoiders are inspired by the idea of points and trophies, even if they are only virtual.

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