You're standing at the front of the class, trying to wake up John, who's seat is the fifth from the first bench. There's another John all the way at the back, rolling bits of paper into balls, and throwing them to the far corners of the class. All this takes place when you're trying to teach your class of rebels, some simple equations. Let's pause time. Did you stop to think how a game could be your best chance of managing your students?
Now that I have your attention, let me continue. Learning is in itself, a game. You unknowingly create levels in your head which you would have to pass. For instance, when you're sitting up late, making notes for a chapter as you go, what do you tell yourself when you have no other choice but to stay up late?
"Okay, all I'll have to do is finish with notes I've made for this chapter, go make myself a cup of coffee, and with the points I've highlighted, form questions for the assignment I need to create. And then, I'll call it a night!"
See the picture now? Your first mission is to finish up with the notes you're now making. You're power point is that strong cup of coffee. Your second mission is to form questions for the assignment you have to create for your students to work on, and you finish the level when you hit your bed.
This is the environment you could create. It has potential, captures and retains attention, and makes learning fun for them and easier for you.
In short: it's using games in areas that need non-gaming techniques to get the job done. It uses game mechanics and design to bring forth an environment that is engaging, competitive, awesome and safe for students to enjoy their learning experience. Its benefits are listed in an article I've written earlier, all which have been explained in depth. A quick recap:
To better learners' experience. The learner's experience during the game creates an environment that is both high on engagement and fun. A good gamification strategy (insert link here) with high levels of engagement will lead to increased retention.
Better learning environment. Gamification in learning provides an effective, engaging and safe environment for a learner to practice real-life situations and challenges. This helps in facilitating better knowledge retention.
Instant feedback. It provides instant feedback so that learners better themselves for the following levels to come. This too, facilitates better learner engagement and thereby better recall.
Prompting behavioral change. Points, badges, and leaderboards would make training a truly wonderful experience. Yet, gamification is a lot more than that. It can drive strong behavioral change when joint with the scientific principles of repeated retrieval and spaced retention.
Can be applied almost anywhere. Gamification has its use cases anywhere, as it can fulfill most learning needs. This includes induction and onboarding, product sales, customer support, soft skill development, awareness creation and consent.
Impact on the bottom line. Along with the above mentioned points, it can also create a significant performance gain for the organization.
Moving on to the reason you're here, reading this article. What five strategies do you need to wake up the sleeping beauties in your classroom?
Use levels. Like in video games, your students can be rewarded points on completion of an assignment, or being responsive in class. The points system and its rules depend on you; a common case would be the points you award being used to "level up" to the next grade.
Create Challenges. Challenges help retain the attention of a student. One way of implementing this idea would be by adding mini-missions to an assignment they would have to complete to gain extra "eXPerience points", which would bring them closer to completing a level.
The Extra Life matters. Video games give players rays of hope with an "Extra Life" that was earned in an earlier level. Give room for students to make mistakes. This allows the student to understand and learn from the error, thereby pushing themselves forward.
Student Choice. What makes video games unique is their ability to let the player choose their path. In your classroom, letting your students voice out their choices empowers them, and fosters creativity. Goals are achieved, and they learn in the best way possible.
Badges and Rewards. Once your student has achieved a certain level, you reward them with a badge, and a fancy title. This continues raising efforts, which gives you a rewarding experience.
Gamification isn't about gaming. It's about using the tools that gaming experts used to engage their users to play. Being interactive with your students and finding out what motivates them, and trying to integrate those elements into their lessons will prove to be fruitful for you. Got any ideas in mind?
I hope you received some insight from what I've written here. If you want to check out more of our related links (written by yours truly), here's a list that might help: