What is gamification?

Put simply, gamification is where elements or principles of game design or games are applied to a context that you wouldn’t usually associated with games. This means that gamification has entered the realms of recruitment… and the school classroom.

The reason for the appeal of gamification is because developers have realised a very basic fact: people love games!

The principle of playing a game (and also the sense of competition) has always been an appealing one.

Games have the power to engage and excite. This is why gamification is ripe for use in the classroom.

The rise of the gaming industry

The gaming industry has overtaken even the movie industry in recent years in terms of revenue created. Many other entertainment industries have struggled in that time – most notably the music industry – but video games continue to grow from strength to strength.

The old stereotype of the ‘typical gamer’ has been smashed too. No longer are gamers seen as geeky teenagers holed up in their bedrooms. Gaming appeals to all ages and genders and there are now over 2 billion gamers across the world. The gaming industry is predicted to generate in excess of $108 billion in 2017. The fastest growing sector within the industry is the mobile market. It is estimated that over 50% of the total gaming market will be made up of tablet and smartphone games by the end of the decade.

In anyone’s language, this represents BIG business. Alongside this astonishing growth is another equally impressive rise…

Gamification.

 

How can the classroom become a gamified environment?

The principle of gamification is focused on the flow of an activity. This is what inspires a user to play. When the flow is blended with engaging and appealing content, gamification is likely to succeed – whatever the content is.

There are a wide variety of apps and software on the market that gamify the learning experience. Games, quizzes and challenges can be used to engage students, with the teacher able to direct the learning journey and to give feedback.

From personalised learning platforms to revision resources, the potential that gamification brings to education is immense. Anything that creates an engaging learning experience will always be an advantage. Gamification learning apps and software put students in a familiar comfort zone.

Software can be expensive and there are a few potential negatives. No teaching and learning activity should be used purely for its engagement potential alone. Just because a pupil is engaged, it doesn’t necessarily follow that a pupil will learn and progress at a better rate. All activities need to be set up with the end result – the learning – in mind, not just as an activity for the activity’s sake.

Having said that, gamification used in the classroom that is well-judged and carefully matched to the needs of the students will definitely bring clear benefits.

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