GAMIFICATION

Gamification is the use of video game elements in learning. Examples include the use of points for reaching academic targets and competitions within a class. 

 

The use of gamification in learning is driven by two factors: the need to sustain children's attention in class and the want to motivate them to learn. 

 

Attention 

Many supporters of gamification claim that children's attention spans have been reduced by modern technology. Many children spend much of their time playing video games and using digital devices that have been specifically designed to hold their attention. High-quality graphics, fast-moving action and the ability to access any information at any time by using the internet mean that children are very different from those only a generation ago. Today's young people are used to a high level of visual stimulation and because a classroom lacks this, some children may struggle to maintain their attention when learning. 

 

To compete with digital technology, proponents of gamification argue that teachers should borrow elements from video games to sustain children's attention for longer periods. 

 

Incentivisation 

Digital technology has been developed in a way that it can hold our attention for huge periods - one of the very specific ways that it manages to do this is through the use of incentives. Many games offer points or rewards for achievements (or for simply spending a given amount of time on it). Moreover, many applications offer motivation messages and other rewards for passing 'checkpoints' or reaching 'levels'. 

 

Again proponents of gamification argue that we should borrow the use of incentives for learning to increase pupil engagement in activities. 

 

What does it look like in the classroom?

  • Giving points-based rewards for achieving objectives in class - just like in video games. 

  • Giving learning badges instead of grades. 

  • Creating challenges with more than one way to be solved - this helps to develop creative problem-solving skills. 

  • Using 'levels' and 'check-points' to track progress in class. 

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