Encouraging gamification of school systems around the world has been the subject of debate for many teachers and parents.
For one, this system is eerily similar to standard gaming on desktop computers and console devices which children are quite used to.
However, using the same system to teach students life lessons and prepare them for academic studies and jobs is something that requires careful planning and execution. While it’s certainly risky to fully adapt gamification for school use, using it moderately and in right intervals can make the learning experience for children something to look forward to.
1. Backwards grading
Many teachers tend to grade their students from the highest grade going down. This is opposite to what gamification does to the schooling system which dictates that grades should now go from bottom up. For example, if you grade your students 100-0, a gamified teaching system would include a grading system that goes 0-100.
This is due to the fact that accomplishments are based on the work done by the student. If you reward the students with a sense of adding up points towards the final score instead of taking away points from a perfect starting grade, they will feel more rewarded.
2. Earning badges & achievements
You might be familiar with achievements as a system for completing actual games and earning in-game rewards for your actions. The same principal can be used for schooling and rewarding children for good behavior and productivity. You can divide them into separate categories that include things like:
- Class collaboration – Awarded for playing nice with classmates and doing things together (like homework or studying)
- Good behavior – Awarded for being nice to classmates and respecting the teachers in the school while following school rules
- Bookworm – Given to students with top grades for their work and productivity
Badges that are handed publically with cheers from classmates and a wall of fame in the classroom itself are a perfect way to motivate your students to work harder. These badges can be simple cardboard/plastic cutouts made to look visually appealing but they will represent much more for the children.
3. Use of personalized applications
While there are many games that focus on simple gaming and are designed to pass the time, there are a lot of applications out there that can be used in classrooms. Many of these applications are designed to specifically teach certain subjects to children who use them.
For example, there are applications that focus on learning math and progressing through a virtual world by solving math problems or others that teach history by involving children in interactive puzzles and quizzes. While kids will always play video games that make them more passive, some of these games are very viable for classroom use and shouldn’t be overlooked.
4. Introduce a point-based workflow
Some kids are used to playing sports and video games all the time. What these two have in common is that they are often point-based, meaning that kids are competing by gathering points until the timer runs out. You can take a look at the list of the top writing services and decide which one can help you create written content for the system. This same principle can be used in school gamification by introducing points into your everyday workflow:
- Awarding 5 points to children who are prepared for class and have their homework laid out gives them an incentive to follow a routine
- Collaborating with their classmates on solving certain problems (but not cheating) can bear 10 points and encourage teamwork
- Giving children 2 points for every time they ask a question by raising their hand will teach them to give others a chance to express themselves as well
Drawing a line and seeing who came out on top at the end of each month can be a great way to introduce a bit of competition to your otherwise routinely school life. Children will love the extra sense of competition and feel rewarded for playing by the rules instead of feeling hindered by them. While this system may take some getting used to for both sides, it will do wonders for children who are preparing to step out to the work market tomorrow which is competitive by its nature.
5. Include small rewards
Rewarding your students with more than just grades is a great way to encourage them to go an extra mile. Children that feel rewarded will be more confident in their abilities and work much harder than before to get a reward again. These rewards can range from chocolate bars to comic books, depending on what your students are into.
Make sure that this system doesn’t make less productive students feel neglected however. Use this opportunity to reward everyone and anyone you think might benefit from a pat on the back. This is what gamification in education is primarily focused on, and children will be more than willing to take any reward system you present to them.
Gamification in schools is still a taboo by many standards. While it does show promise and manages to boost productivity of teachers and students alike, many are still concerned that it also encourages gambling and gaming in general.
These are the issues that should be avoided and discussed with the students in order to make sure they understand that gambling is bad for them. Gamification should serve a positive purpose in schools and if done right, it can completely transform education as we know it.