Duh! You Don’t Need Technology to Gamify Your Classroom

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a kid that doesn’t have at least some interest in video games. Though their preferred play method and style may vary, video games have found their place in almost every home in the nation. Between consoles, computers, and smartphones, most households have at least a few video games within easy reach. That means the paradigm of gaming is familiar to the vast majority of students and parents.

While video games have a reputation for “rotting” brains more than helping them grow, there are many platforms that promote learning. Even the most questionable games teach lessons about spatial awareness or map-reading. They may even help build a person’s vocabulary depending on the target age group for which the game was intended. Deductive reasoning is also a regular requirement of video games, especially those with puzzle-solving components. But some games actually focus on learning, and more could be created to achieve that goal.

Gamification principles can be brought into the learning environment even if actual video games aren’t available. Here are some ways to bring the principles of gaming into the classroom even if you can’t access the actual tech.

Give Multiple Lives

In a video game, you have to save points and multiple lives. So, why is answering a question in the classroom often a one-and-done concept? Give students the opportunity to try again, and to learn from their mistakes. Perceived failures can ultimately lead to success if students are allowed to try again.

Give Feedback Immediately

When gaming, you know almost immediately if your move was right or wrong. Try providing instant feedback to students, or encourage them to do so when working with each other. Quick validations can build confidence, and fast corrections help them move past the error and onto the right track.

Create Levels for Progress

A gamer knows they are moving forward as they see the level advance or the experience bar fill. Take a similar approach by creating visual ways to show how they are moving forward. And then, give a clear indication what is needed to progress further. Celebrate forward achievement whenever possible to help provide the motivation to keep pushing ahead.

Add Quests

The idea of homework automatically carries a negative connotation for many students. But completing a quest sounds like an adventure. Even if the learning objectives are the same, consider reframing how you present the tasks. Quests feel epic, and homework is a drag; which option would you rather do?

Can you think of additional ways to use gamification with technology?

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