Author: Santtu

Gamification in Education

I moderated the #slowchatED Twitter chat for the last week of May 2015. The topic I chose was gamification in education. I work for a provider of K-12 educational materials in Finland, so it was very refreshing to jump into discussions with (mainly) US educators.

When I asked about gamification examples, the first answers mentioning e.g. Kahoot! were what I expected. Kahoot! does a great job in turning a classroom or a virtual learning space into a competitive environment. I was also told about Classcraft, which I think I had heard before but never really took a closer look. Now I will for sure.

In my job I am mainly involved with online learning materials. Just to calibrate my thinking, I also wanted to find some examples where modern technologies play little or no role. I got some great answers such as:

  • Having students running towards a fence, trying to estimate how much is 2/3 of the distance and stopping there. The best guesser gets to pick the next fraction, and off they go again.
  • Survivor-inspired Grudgeball, where answering trivia questions is combined with voting out your classmates.
  • Giving students dice and having them to simulate the electoral process of the US, where each student is a district and they form groups which are states.

The week-long discussion reinforced my opinion that learners should be motivated and engaged. This is not to say that they don’t need to drill from time to time or read long texts, not at all. Engagement can come from multiple sources. Quest for mastery is probably the ultimate motivator but gamification can be used at least to spark the interest and get things started.

My favorite quote of the week was the following:

Gamifying evens the playing field. It helps all to get aboard, to get engaged. And when they are engaged:

Thanks again for having me!