Gamification: How to Turn a Lesson Into a Game

There is a common opinion among teachers and parents that gamification is used only in the younger grades. After all, children are not yet set up for serious learning. Actually, it is used in high school. Together with experts, we’ll find out what its pros and cons are and why gamification is an integral part of today’s lessons.

Gamification in education is the use of game elements in the learning process. It should not be confused with the game: gamification is aimed primarily at achieving results. For children in elementary school, it is something like a bitter pill in a sweet glaze. The teacher does not need to chew up the material in a long and monotonous way, it is much more convenient to deliver it in the form of a game. Then the “pill” in the form of the multiplication table is quickly absorbed, and the learning process itself brings pleasure.

Elements of gamification are used throughout education, not only at school but also at university. Grades, ratings, grades are hidden gamification, which is so entrenched in the educational system that it is perceived as something natural. Even final tests and the transition to the next grade are analogous to the final battle with the main boss and a kind of level up.

The Key Elements of Gamification

Gamification in education itself is not a new phenomenon, but rather a new term and its definition. Games in education have always been: desktop, business, role-playing. But now the digital opportunities are such that games are becoming more interesting, productive in terms of educational effect. They can be used as simulations, for modeling, forecasting. Children from the other side of the globe can be connected to the lessons.

The main reason for the increased attention to gamification is related to new possibilities. It becomes not an addition to the lesson, but an integral part of it

The traditional school creates an artificial environment that contradicts children’s interests and limits their perception of the classroom walls. The result is a paradox: children are brought to a place where they can gain knowledge and find answers to numerous “whys,” but they kill their desire to at least ask questions. Gamification eliminates this paradox and makes learning interactive. It includes everyone in the process because it uses the following elements:

  • Dynamics, creating a legend. It can be a story with unexpected plot twists, where the outcome of events depends on the students’ decision. They should have a feeling of belonging and contribute to the common cause.
  • Gradual change and complication of the goals as students acquire new skills and competencies. This helps to keep the students’ attention, keeps them involved. These can be gifts similar to CasinoChan bonus offers or other fantastic rewards.
  • User interaction. Constant feedback from the teacher or classmates. It gives the opportunity to get an assessment of their actions and to correct them if a mistake has been made.

For example, David Hunter, a geography teacher from Seattle, has developed a full-fledged training program based on a game scenario. His course is a quest through a post-apocalyptic world populated by zombies, and the outline maps and textbook are a comic book.

In the story, the students are in the midst of zombie congestion. Their job is to leave the danger zone (without becoming prey) and create a human colony. They do this gradually by completing different missions. The success of each depends on how well the student passes a test on soil types, migration, climate zones, and other sections of geography. Each mission, according to the canons of gamification, leads to a new level and gets you closer to your goal. In David’s words, there are now many opportunities for teachers to implement their ideas and to engage every child in the learning process.

How Gamification Can Harm Students

Gamification is a universal tool to involve students in the educational process, but it’s not a panacea for all problems. Many teachers, trying to make a lesson interesting, try to use gamification elements at every opportunity. However, their overabundance leads to negative consequences.

Students Are Less Receptive to Traditional Forms of Work

A student who is used to game-based learning may find it hard to concentrate on a subject without someone trying to draw him or her in. Then read-aloud and retellings or lectures and seminars simply lose their effectiveness.

The Atmosphere in the Classroom Deteriorates

Competition can lead to aggression and competition in the classroom that goes beyond the school and leads to conflicts. It’s important to be able to work competitively and monitor group dynamics.

Decreased Motivation

The constant expectation of rewards can lead to a student simply not wanting to do things for themselves and for nothing.

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