Monday, November 25, 2013

Gamification, starting really small

One of the buzzes in education out there is gamification. A simple search of the term yields thousands of results. Gamifing your classroom can offer meaningful experiences to students, in the virtual worlds they already inhabit, but what does this actually mean for the teacher, and my big question, how can I create game-based learning opportunities?

Starting Small

I have one recurring assignment that some of my students put little effort in: the Weekly Blogs. Although I have provided many exemplars, sentence frames, and scaffolds, these students just do a "whatever" job, and, although I religiously post rubrics with pointed feedback, I had never received a  corrected paper, until ...

While reading some Edmodo posts on Gamification, another teacher posted "I am ready to use GoogleDocs for my class Leader Board." This got me thinking, what about just taking the plunge, and without anything fancy just go ahead and create a leader board for blog posts. This is what I came up with:

The Result

A couple of minutes after posting this to my class, I started fielding e-mails and response posts along the lines of,
  • "How do I get more points?" 
  • "If I go and correct my post of _____, will I get more XP?"
  • "I need ___ more points to level up. I just corrected last week's post and added ___ Please, please look at it again."
  • "Oh no, I forgot to post on Friday. Here is the link!"

Now, why did I not do this before?

See the full infographic below for more cool ways games can help in schools, plus a timeline of educational games since 1985.

Gamification Infographic

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media