The art of gamifying a students’ learning experience via gamification tools that are fun and engaging while maintaining a student’s attention without having to stand on your head is the wave of the future.
Let’s face it; classrooms no longer look the way they did ten years ago.
Modern classrooms now come equipped with tablets, eBooks, and digital boards requiring more learner engagement and more shiny things vying for your students’ attention than ever before.
So let’s dive in and explore the world of gamification.
What is Gamification?
The term gamification is still relatively new.
Even though it is a term that has been around for more than ten years, gamification is still refining itself.
To date, gamification is a method that enriches educational content and marketing or business processes with game mechanics.
Game mechanics, when used properly, take an aspect of your personal or professional life and turn them into a game.
Typical gamification elements include points, badges, and leaderboards, allowing for an emotional tie into content by promoting friendly competition that translates into stimulating learning and training experiences.
Benefits of Gamification
Dimitri Mendeleev, a Russian scientist, was credited with publishing the first Periodic Table of Elements and an educator from the 19th century; he was one of the first scientists to employ gamification tools in a learning setting.
He was not one of your better students; however, he was able to excel with gamification.
The five following benefits are just some of the many ways in which gamification tools enhance learning and training content:
- Allows for learning to be fun and interactive.
- Gamification creates an addiction to learning.
- The opportunity to see real-world applications of learning content.
- Real-time feedback.
- Friendly competition provides opportunities that equal intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation to learn.
How To Implement Gamification
Once you establish these, you can proceed to set up your game mechanics.
1. Use a Point System
In a typical learning setting, grades evaluate performance which can be disheartening, especially if you are not doing well.
A point system rewards task completion and can offer a sense of accomplishment, allowing students to feel compensated for their efforts.
2. Hand Out Badges
Just because students may not be earning points does not mean they are not accomplishing tasks.
Badges are a great way to reward progress and serve as milestones for the class.
3. Create a Script With Avatars
Invent a story that includes your students’ imagination.
To do this, allow them to create their characters or avatars in the story you use to gamify their learning experience.
Just make sure you continue to use the same characters or avatars throughout the game so that the student creates consistent ownership with their unique role in the game.
4. Encourage Teamwork
Creating teams to accomplish tasks throughout the story or game is invaluable to move through learning objectives.
When working in a team setting, you are more apt to show up because the fear of letting down a teammate is greater than failing on your own in most cases.
Thankfully the technology of gamification software now offers many tools to gamify the learning experience.
The following list in alphabetical order will give you a solid idea of what gamification tools can work for you and the experience you can create for your students.
Arcademics makes multiplayer educational games—free math games, free language arts games, and more for K-8 students.
With Arcademics Plus, teachers and parents can view analytics and reports that allow customization of game content.
BookWidgets is a gamification software that serves all educators, including; elementary teachers, middle or high school teachers, university professors, and professional trainers.
BookWidgets also offer 40+ digital exercise templates that work on smartphones, tablets, or computers.
And BookWidgets is a fast and efficient grading system that provides feedback to students and teachers, allowing them to assess problem areas or where students may need extra attention.
Brainscape boasts of being the world’s most brilliant flashcard app.
Brainscape uses cognitive science gamification software that optimizes studying by repeating more challenging concepts in perfect intervals to maximize memory retention.
You can bet there is a flashcard for every possible application.
And if you cannot find a flashcard deck in their robust database, you can create your own.
4. Breakout EDU
Breakout EDU offers 1,800 kit-based digital games that span every grade level.
Games are available for core subjects like Math, Science, History, and general topics such as holidays, team building, and more.
Through Breakout EDU’s puzzle-based game design, students’ critical thinking and creativity are put to the test as teams explore clues to create the perfect lock combinations to solve the puzzles.
Cerebriti, created in Spain, is a gamification software platform that offers two distinct angles to the learning process.
First, students create their educational games, and second, they play other students’ or teachers’ games to consolidate their learning process.
There are games on all subjects for all ages, and they are multi-platform.
ChemCaper is a video game platform developed by school teachers that teaches fundamental chemistry concepts to teenagers aged 10 to 14 years old.
Students report that they remembered 90% of concepts learned in 6 months after playing the game for the first time.
Based on chemistry concepts and the Periodic Table, students can explore unique environments, craft potions, and battle with collectible creatures.
Classcraft promotes social and emotional learning (SEL) through its gamification software.
Class Craft is a game app where students create their avatars complete with special powers to navigate the classroom, its rules, and deadlines collaboratively.
You can utilize Class Craft to get students fully interacting with the rules of your classroom and beyond.
And it is a perfect classroom management tool for high school students.
ClassDojo is an app that is great for connecting teachers with students and parents.
The Class Dojo app focuses on younger children of primary school age.
Creating a positive culture from working hard, being kind, or just helping others, Class Dojo is brilliant at fostering or strengthening new behaviors.
Teachers can also keep parents in the loop by communicating the story of their classrooms by instantly sharing photos, videos, announcements or by privately messaging with any parent.
And Class Dojo will always be free for teachers.
CodeCombat is a video game platform that teaches students how to code through play.
With CodeCombat’s unique gamification software, students learn to play and write code from the start of their adventure in the game.
Teaching over 20 million students Computer Science, CodeCombat teaches students to be critical, confident, and creative learners regardless of experience.
10. Course Hero
Course Hero focuses on filling the gap between college and the workplace, offering simple course creation tools.
The gamification features are fundamental, with achievement badges for accomplishments like logging on during the weekend, uploading documents, and completing classes.
There’s a sitewide leaderboard, but lacking here is community or interaction between students.
Course Hero’s strengths come from its study resources, 24/7 homework support, textbook solutions and explanations, and expert tutors.
It boasts 500 million+ users worldwide.
And the Duolingo for schools app offers teachers and its users a fun, gamified way to teach language involving personalized and self-paced assignments.
Meet students where they are by utilizing their personalized learning engine.
With customizable assignments and lessons, teachers can cater to their learning objectives with ease.
Edmodo is a free app that mirrors the functionality of a social media network for educational purposes.
It provides tools that allow teachers and users to send messages, share class materials, and make learning accessible anywhere.
In addition, Edmodo communicates with parents keeping them up to speed on class updates, allowing them to sync with their children’s teachers, and support learning at home.
And lastly, parents can see classroom activity and grades to support their children’s progress.
Genially is a platform to gamify your presentations by making them interactive and fun.
Genially works to elevate the learning experience by allowing you to import any presentation by offering rich animation and gamifying anything from quizzes to escape rooms filled with interactivity.
Also, Genially offers a myriad of templates to plug and play your existing content into so that you can be up and running fast.
Gimkit is a gamification software that offers a live learning game show experience with constant updates, new modes, and power-ups that keep the game fresh and relevant.
Students answer questions on their own devices and are presented the same questions in multiple ways to ensure mastery of a topic.
Students’ rewards come with in-game cash by answering questions correctly but at the same time can lose some money by answering incorrectly, motivating them to be thoughtful with their answers.
And Gimkit can be used outside of the classroom as homework which facilitates automatic grades for you.
GooseChase is gamification software that allows you to run real-world scavenger hunts.
There are multiple ways to use Goose Chase; virtual teams, recreation, onboarding, campus orientation, and K-12 education.
In addition, Goose Chase offers real-time game action that includes a live leaderboard and activity feed, reward points for outstanding submissions, and a reporting dashboard analytics to measure success.
Kahoot! offers a game show environment to get students excited about learning.
Particularly useful in the school setting for quizzing vocabulary, multiplication, and simple geography.
And Kahoot! provides support to many learning settings such as school, work, and home.
Kahoot! is utilized by more than 1 million+ players per year in more than 200 countries.
Kahoot! is used in the US by more than 50% of teachers and 97% of fortune 500 companies.
Knowre is an online math program platform that supports the needs of all students with a personalized online math curriculum for each student, instructional support at every step, and an intuitive online math interface.
Comics are used for grades six and above to introduce lessons and provide a fun visual learning experience.
Knowre Math provides standards-based instruction for Grades 1-12 with over 70,000 rigorous practice and real-world application problems organized into topic-specific lessons.
18. Minecraft: Education Edition
Minecraft: Education Edition is a gamification tool based on the award-winning video game Minecraft.
The Minecraft: Education Edition offers features designed for teaching, pre-built lessons, and cross-curricular support.
Meeting children where they are by incorporating a gaming platform that kids are excited about and have brand loyalty with possesses the keys to unlocking the education process in a new, refreshing, and exciting way.
19. Monster Kit
Monster Kit is a board game aimed at primary school children allowing 1 to 10 players.
It allows you to practice creative skills by utilizing drawing, reading, writing, doing calculations, and fostering imagination through the development of funny monsters.
20. Pear Deck
Pear Deck is a way to create interactive presentations in the classroom or remotely.
Pear Deck seamlessly integrates with Google or Microsoft-based systems, so there is no need to learn a new system.
Students can interactively respond to questions in real-time that allows teachers to communicate feedback immediately.
These responses can take the form of dragging and dropping pins, drawings, multiple-choice, short text, giving students a website, and providing a numbers-only reaction.
PlayBrighter allows you to set your students on missions to complete specific learning objectives in a gamified manner.
From spelling to science, French vocabulary, to the Fibonacci sequence, the games employ over 15,000 possible questions you could ask and gives you the ability to add your questions.
Utilizing avatars, students can add personas to their learning experience to accomplish learning objectives making the game more interesting.
Quizzizz is an online app that allows teachers to quiz and test students in the classroom interactively or at home.
Quizizz offers gamified quizzes, polls, and lessons that can be led by a presenter or self-paced.
Students can join from any device with a web browser and use their iPhone and Android Apps.
Teachers know instantly what’s working and what’s not with real-time reporting and key performance indicators (KPI).
Quizlet is a multi-national American company offering digital flashcards, matching games, electronic practice assessments, and live quizzes similar to Kahoot!.
Available in English, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, French, Indonesian, Dutch, Italian, Turkish, Vietnamese, and more.
It is an excellent study aid for anything that requires memorization in a fun, gamified manner.
Socrative is a gaming app that offers everything from quizzes to polls and is 100% free to all students.
Offering three customizable game modes called “space race” aimed at accuracy and speed, your typical question and answer mode, and “Exit Ticket” aimed at assessing how well lessons are creating a learning experience.
You can use Socrative on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers.
Toovari is a multi-player platform created and developed in Spain.
It allows you to create a class where you can invite students and test their knowledge via game mechanics.
Toovari also includes assessments and communication with parents providing a robust environment that capitalizes on the latest technologies.
Trivenet is a free online trivia game created by a teacher to gamify the learning process.
In addition, it allows you to set up your own trivia game, allowing students to engage with your specific learning objectives.
And lastly, Trivenet is now available in a downloadable app for android platforms.
Virtonomics is a business simulation offering student engagement through a gamified experience in economics, entrepreneurship, competition, marketing, finance, sales, production, strategy, innovation, startup development, R & D, HR, supply chain management, and more.
It boasts an online community of 1 million players from all over the world engaging in various business platform simulations.
The intended audience for these games is business people, entrepreneurs, university and college students.
28. World Peace Game
World Peace Game is a hands-on political simulation that allows students to discover connectedness through global, economic, social, and environmental crises.
The game teaches students the work of peace.
The goal is to pull fictitious countries out of turmoil with minor military intervention, thereby creating prosperity.
**The founder and creator of this program, John Hunter, an award-winning gifted teacher, will be dissolving this project and game on December 31, 2021, due to Covid-19 related challenges.
Gamified to Win
There is nothing that gets your student’s attention and engagement better than a game.
And when tasked with teaching student-specific learning objectives, you will have to compete to get their attention.
Having the tools to gamify and shape a student’s virtual training experience can be an art form.
Fortunately, gamification tools and their advanced technologies now give teachers and instructors an upper hand.
So go out and PLAY!!