Do you think that education is boring, that it is all about dull classrooms, heavy backpacks, tedious note-taking, and complex academic assignments? Do not hurry to buy term papers or demonize schools and teachers. The learning process quite can be fun and engaging thanks to games. Yet Albert Einstein has said that playing is the best way to explore the world. When participating in such activities, students do something more important than just waste time, satisfy their whims, and rest from “real” science.
Games create situations helping young people to apply theoretical knowledge, hone practical skills, learn to analyze, evaluate, compare, and contrast.This is a great springboard for developing higher-order thinking, since it may be challenging for kids to perceive abstract concepts. They need bright emotions and immersive experiences stimulating memory.
Gamification nurtures healthy philosophy and value system. Young people believe that life is a game full of interesting quests and rewards, perceive failures without sadness – just as a chance to find out something new and become better persons. Challenges bring them adrenaline and pleasure rather than stress and anxiety.
Those who claim that gamification is not serious enough and unsuitable for an educational environment are wrong. After all, schools have been gamified for years. Grading, class rankings, Olympiads, sports tournaments, photos on an honor roll, academic degrees – all these are the elements of healthy competition present in games. Learners get points, trophies, and titles, move from one level to another.
Therefore, gamification is in no way something extraneous for the academic world. On the contrary, it is an indispensable element of the learning process. Educators have been developing many efficient strategies and interesting approaches. In this article, experts from Pro-Papers have outlined the great ways how teachers may help students to study by playing:
1. Use points to assess students answers when asking them to cite quotes from texts or provide arguments substantiating certain ideas. A statement without examples and evidence should be rewarded with 1 point, a statement with one example – 2 points, and a statement with multiple examples – 3 points. At the end of a lesson, a person with the largest number of points should get a good mark or be exempted from homework.
2. Add points for performing academic assignments ahead of schedule.
3. Create a code of conduct in the classroom. Students should be rewarded for good behavior and lose points for violating rules. Points of all learners may be summed up to get a general class indicator. This figure may be compared with other classes indicators to turn student groups into teams and stimulate healthy competition. If you need an example of how this strategy may be used, recall Harry Potter. In Hogwarts, faculties have been getting points from professors and fighting for leadership. By the end of each year, a dining hall was decorated with symbols and colors of a winner faculty. In the real world, a class may get stationery bought by a school or the opportunity to go on a free educational trip.
4. Draw a seating chartor project an electronic image onto a whiteboard. Reflect all points on this scheme. This will allow students to see their current achievements and motivate them to pursue better results.
5. Provide different rewards at different levels. For example, ask all learners to wear sunglasses and allow those who score 5 points to take off their accessories. Once scoring 10 points, young people may be allowed to stop writing and get a printed version of a lecture material. Those who gain 15 points may get positive messages from a teacher to their parents.Students having more than 15 points may be exempted from homework, allowed to come to a class in their favorite clothes or have a lunch with a teacher.
6. Class leaders should be rewarded for helping their less successful peers. While working in pairs and groups, all participants develop teamwork skills, learn to communicate efficiently, become more sociable and responsible.
7. Start grading from 0 rather than 100. Students should not get points for free. It is crucial for them to realize the value of their work, the meaning of each skill demonstrated, assignment performed, correct answers, and diligent behavior.
8. Create tasks which may be addressed in several ways. Open-ended questions create a good platform for innovations, develop students’ imagination, allow to look at different issues from their own perspective, and find unique strategies.
9. Use badges instead of grades. Numbers, percentage, and letters are rather boring. Replace them with cards having bright design and inscriptions like “class hero”, “thorough investigator”, “star performer”, “thoughtful participant”, “math/poetry/sports master”, “impressive improver”, “great communicator”, “dynamic storyteller”, “excellent critic”, “talented collaborator”, etc.
10. Allow students to take part in academic planning, set their own goals, and create individualized pathways. Track their progress, help to correct mistakes and overcome difficulties.
11. Introduce role-play elements in the classroom. For example, pretend you are all astronauts when delving into astronomy or read dialogues in pairs when studying classical literature. At law lessons, students may consider court cases, assume the roles of criminals and judges. Such activities have much in common with video games where players may create any character and get experience which is impossible in real life.
Add bright colors to the educational process and respond to young people’s interests. You will be surprised by how enthusiastic they may be!