Gamification is all around us, whether you have noticed it or not. Companies such as Nike, Foursquare, and Duolingo have used it to engage users and create customer buy-in. Very recently, the gamification movement has been sweeping education, as well. According to famed game designer Jane McGonigal, “99% of boys...and 94% of girls [under 18] report playing videogames regularly.” Gamification in the classroom allows teachers to reach this target audience in new and innovative ways, by catering to their interests.
Recently, I presented on gamification with Shelly Sanchez Terrell at ISTE. In our hands-on session, “Gamification on a Shoestring,” we discussed ways that educators could begin gamifying their classes for little or no money. Here are five easy steps to implement the system that I used in my classroom last year.
Create a webpage for your class (or use a learning management system). You just need one platform, whereby you can get information to students and parents. A very simple class site works just fine. So do most learning management systems, such as Edmodo. All you need is a place that all players can access.
Create rules. This is one element common to nearly every game that exists. Without rules, nobody can win! Set your students up for success by making sure they all know how to play. (See my game rules here.)
Include your challenges. In many video games, challenges are what players complete to move on to the next levels. My class is no different. Convert your assignments into challenges, by posting rubrics, explicit directions, and even “cheat guides” (i.e. flipped videos, walking students through the assignment).
Create your leaderboard. This is just one way to gamify your classroom, but I have found that my students are even more motivated when they see how they stack up against their peers. Allowing students to create pseudonyms is also a fun way to ensure that they remain anonymous.
Explain your system to students and parents. Now that you’re officially a game-master, it’s time to let the players have their turn!