There are over 155 million Americans playing video games regularly. Chances are many of your students will be among these 155 million. To many parents, video games have a negative connotation that seem to have no value. The truth is that video games, in moderation, have many benefits. The gamers use many facts, tools, and information given to them to move on throughout the game. This makes it no surprise that some games can also be beneficial in your classroom.
In our technology class, one of our favorite type of game is one that sets the students up against each other. If you have competitive students, as we do in Math 371, these types of games can be very beneficial. They can also be used for short quizzes, or exit tickets. One thing that we must be carful with when playing these is that we do not forget what we want our students to learn. Many of these games can teach the students speed, but is speed always important in math?
Another type of gamification you can incorporate into your lesson plans are quests. During these, the students are given different questions, tasks, or projects to earn points. These are usually done throughout a semester or a month. They allow the students to work at their own pace but also allow your high-achieving students to work ahead. You can even create a fun tradition if you do it year in and year out.
You can also use badges to reward your student’s learning. One advantage of this could be that not all badges mean the same for the students. A badge might signify an increase of a student’s grade, or an increased level of mastery. The badges will not only encourage the students in the classroom but will also allow the students to see where they are as far as understanding the content.
In conclusion the main purpose of gamification in the classroom is to engage your students and create a deeper learning while having fun. Not only does it make it enjoyable for the students, it also makes it more fun to teach the content. I encourage every teacher to find a place in their lesson plans for gamification.