Gamifying The Classroom - Using Gamification to improve learning by Daniel Millsap

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    01-Dec-2014

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Gamifying the classroom is about using gamification to enhance lessons and increase student motivation and student performance.

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GAMIFYING THE CLASSROOMUSING GAMIFICATION TO ENHANCE LEARNING OUTCOMES by daniel millsap Gamification is a fun and easy way to improve your classroom. You dont need fancy hardware or software to use Gamification in your lessons; you need only your imagination and whatever else you find laying around. In my 1st grade English as a second language classroom, I found that students were better able to recall material that had been taught using a story. Using a story allowed students to use more of their senses while learning which, in turn, helped them to solidify the knowledge into their long-term memories. A useful method of engaging their imagination was to turn the lesson into a game. The chalkboard was used as a map and the magnets were used to represent the relative position of each team as they competed in a race from one end of the board to the other. To make the journey more interesting, hungry monsters and dense jungles were incorporated as obstacles the students had to bypass. When students within a group were engaged and cooperative, their magnet was advanced and if they were naughty, the monster was always ready to eat the ones who could not solve a question posed in the English language. I used several criteria when deciding when to move a magnet forward. If one group was better behaved than the other, then that group had their magnet advanced while the other groups magnet stayed in place. The team that had their magnet advanced was thus rewarded and eager to continue their good behavior while the team that did not advance was motivated to behave as well or at least try to improve their performance. Along the board, I pinned up pic-tures to use as waypoints along the board. For example, the monster depicted in the picture was fond of eating students who did not remember certain English words. In order to safely bypass the monster students would have to go home and study diligently so that the next day they would be quick to recall those English words. The jungle could represent a place where teams got lost and the only way to get out was to be the quickest to open to a certain page number or to be the team with the students with the best posture. Important considerations were whether a team could move both backward and forward or only forward. I found that moving a magnet backwards at times caused group members to act aggressively towards individual students who were perceived to be the cause ofthe backward movement. The reinforcement schedule also had to be tweaked depending on the class, time of day, etc. so that motivation remained at a constantly high level. It was also important that each team progressed somewhat equally across the board. This maintained the tension required to prolong student effort. If one team was so far ahead that the other team had no chance of winning, the members of the losing team would give up and the purpose of the game would be lost. When a team won the game, their performance was celebrated with a loud cheer and at times, I found it useful to allow both teams to cross the finish line at the same time so that everyone was happy and cheerful.The outcome of using Gamification in the classroom was that students were highly engaged in learning English and were selfmotivated to behave and cooperate with other students. In conclusion, you dont have to wait until the year 2030 to use Gamification in the classroom. Armed with only your imagination, you will find that amazing things can take place in the classroom and your students will thank you for it. Daniel Millsap

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