Mrs A's Blog

My Rambling Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

School is a Game… So What are the Rules?

This term I have been investigating the use of Gamification in the classroom with a colleague and while I’m not so sure that we have been successful I definitely have found that the concept is well worth further investigation.

The idea behind gamification is that you turn the classwork or course into a game in order to make it fun for students and allow them to work at their own pace.

My initial research led me to look into the axes of gamification, types of gamers, games in schools, and what is needed to make a game successful as a learning tool.  Below is a brief overview of my discoveries.  I have made a list of where my research came from below in the related articles though I am unsure off the top of my head exactly where each of these points came from, short of rereading all the articles again…

  • Gamification has 5 axes
    • Freedom to fail
      • Allow multiple attempts
    • Freedom to experiment
      • Can invent new approaches
    • Freedom of effort
      • Allowing students to change the amount of effort they put into a task
    • Freedom of interpretation
      • No two players experience the same game
  • Types of gamers
    • Power gamers
      • High end gaming machines
      • Play for hours
    • Social gamers
      • Just to interact with friends
    • Dormant gamers
      • Like to play but don’t have time
    • Incidental gamers
      • Lack motivation
      • Play because they are bored
    • Occasional gamers
      • Puzzle, word, board games
      • Here and there
      • Mainly online
  • Games in schools
    • Games as engines or authoring platforms
      • Parts of games are used
      • i.e. creating an avatar from a game (think Wii Miis)
    • Games as content
      • Games are used to understand curriculum content
      • i.e. Sim City to understand urban planning or Civilization to learn about history
    • Games as Simulations
      • Used to test theories about how systems work
      • i.e. economic simulations where you manipulate the economic factors
    • Games as context
      • Using games to provide ideas
      • i.e. Pictionary to introduce forms of communication
    • Games as Technology gateways
      • Give students experience with technology
      • i.e. Mavis beacon/mouse pointer games
    • Games as Illustration
      • Used for student reflection
      • Any game that the teacher then asks them to explain their choices
    • Games as exemplars of point of view
      • Role playing
      • i.e RPG games with good and bad characters
    • Games as code worlds
      • Use of writing to complete the game
      • i.e. scratch or alice
    • Games as assessment
      • Check understanding
      • i.e. quest atlantis
  • Gamification involves 1 or more of the following
    • Feedback
      • Including consequences
      • Levels
      • Progression
      • Points
      • Failure as well as success
    • Achievements
      • Shown off to others
      • Quests
      • badges
    • Competition
    • Cooperation
    • Immersion
      • avatars
    • Currency
      • Resource/skills collection
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