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Challenge: Kids and Technology

Play to Learn: 4 Best Resources on Gamification

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You will hear many complaints these days about students spending time online and playing games, instead of learning. Naturally, kids will be kids, and they will always prefer playing games to studying, but there is a way we can use that to improve their education. Of course, we are talking about using game-based incentives to get them to stay interested during class.

Software companies which design education software have shifted their focus towards implementing game mechanics and functionality in their products. Teachers are beginning to take notice, as well as parents, students, and even education experts.

Gamification is not just about fun and games, because its effects are quite real. “Students are more involved in class, they pay more attention, and participate more actively. You can even find resources for writing process gamification. They also learn more, and in turn, they make the teacher's job easier, because it's a joy to teach a class full of children that are hanging onto your every word.” - says Janet Regis, educational expert at

However, there are so many game-based applications and resources out there, it's hard to tell which ones are the most useful and effective. That is why we have prepared some great examples of classroom gamification, along with a short list of 4 best game-based resources you can use in class.

1. The Education Arcade

This resource created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology can save you a bit of time, because you can check out their in-depth reviews on educational games, and focus on the most effective ones right away. Their games, simulation, and tools are categorized by different sections and could be played on mobile devices and computers as well. Another feature you can find on The Education Arcade is the news section, where you can read about latest trends in education development.

2. EmergingEdTech

It looks like EdTech and gamification are definitely here to stay, and it would be good to keep track of all the latest news and developments in the field. For that, we recommend that you start following this resource. They provide regular updates about all the latest software, methods, and resources, as well as detailed commentary and useful information that will help you become an expert on gamification in education. Technology is definitely the way of the future, and you should do everything in order to keep up with it.

3. OpenLearning

OpenLearning is a great resource for all educators, because they allow you to take a course on gamification, where you will become acquainted with all the ins and outs of the process, as well as all the best tools and apps for the job. Also, they provide great analysis of all the possible applications of gamification. But, their main focus is on using games to improve the learning process, even for children with developmental and learning disabilities, which is especially important, because gamification can become a valuable teaching aid in such situations.

4. Teched Up Teacher

If all the other resources on this list feel too analytical or impersonal to you, you definitely need to check out Teched Up Teacher, which is a blog started by a New Jersey teacher. On his blog, he shares his experiences with EdTech tools, and that includes gamification. He goes into great detail to explain what tools and resources he has implemented inside the classroom.

You can use it to take a closer look into what works and what doesn't work, and which options might be suitable for use inside your own class. Furthermore, you will get a first-person insight into what's it's like to be a teacher using EdTech platforms and gamification to improve their students' performance.

Apart from a list of resources, here are 5 ideas you can use for gamification in the classroom. Keep on reading to find out more.

1. Give Them Quests, Hunts, and Challenges instead of Homework

You can still give them homework, but you can change the context by providing them with the same problems which are presented in the shape of quests and challenges. They will jump at the chance to solve them, because it is something they will be familiar with through video games. For instance, you can introduce a math problem as a code that they need to break in order to get to the next level.

2. Award Them with Badges

Although it may appear as if you're sending them back to kindergarten, awards and badges can be an incredible motivation. You can make them even more effective by attaching words and phrases used in video games or pop culture. Giving them a badge that says “Like a Boss” or “Boss Level 10” will entertain and drive them to try harder in order to obtain the next badge or skill level.

3. Quantify Their Progress

Instead of grading them, you can try and quantify their progress by introducing progress bars, as in their favorite video games, or organize each new lesson as a game level. Once they learn it, they get a new skill, and their progress bar will expand.

4. Allow Room for Mistakes

In video games, children have the option to load the game again in case their character has failed, and pick up where they have left off. You can apply the same principle inside your classroom. If a kid has failed to finish a particular task, allow them to give it another go. If they have failed yet again, let them try one more time. Once they succeed, allow them to proceed to the next level, and update their progress bar.

5. Allow Kids to Become Designers

When putting together your class syllabus that involves gamification techniques, allow your children to pitch in with their own ideas. Hear their suggestions, and come up with new gamification ideas together. They will feel more in charge of their own learning, and will be more motivated to work on something that they have helped create.

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