The use of gamification in education is a powerful strategy that combines technological and strategic elements to create positive change. Gamification is the process of incorporating gaming and digital technologies into teaching and learning. These techniques involve the application of technology in the curriculum or educational activities to enhance learning and provide opportunities for students to apply knowledge learned. Gamification is particularly useful in teaching because it allows students to have fun while learning. It involves the integration of technology into all aspects of learning, allowing students to interact with the material and apply the knowledge learned.
Learning requires that students pay close attention, making mistakes and being accountable for their actions. Gamification in education provides students with the tools they need to participate in these behaviors. Games in education give students the opportunity to become accountable for their own learning and to gain self-confidence as they progress through a game or challenge. These games can range from games that simply require students to click a button to advance through an array of obstacles or games that test their mental acuity by requiring them to solve a puzzle or riddle.
Gamification in education can be incorporated into many different learning practices. One of the most common uses is in the application of assessment tools such as the TOEFL or EQA exams, which are used in both college and career setting to measure a student’s level of comprehension and understanding. These tests rely heavily on memorization in order to assess the ability of a student, and many people believe that games can greatly contribute to a student’s level of memorization and comprehension. In this way, studying for these exams becomes more of an active skill that needs to be developed through the use of games that require players to apply a variety of mental skills.
Gamification in education can also occur in the forms of digital technologies. The development and popularization of technology has provided countless opportunities for educators to incorporate gamification into their curriculum. Games are readily available for download from the Apple or Android stores that can be used in the classroom for things like learning spelling or grammar. Likewise, there are a variety of apps for smart phones that incorporate educational games into their play modes. Gamified versions of popular online courses can also be found for free. This makes it possible for educators to take their learning to a variety of different levels and showcase different skill sets through a variety of mediums.
Another example of gamification in education occurs through the implementation of tech gadgets like Smartboards. Smartboards provide a visual way to take notes and interact with a teacher or other student in class. Gamification techniques can be used in teaching methodologies in the form of providing options for students to gain exposure to different types of models and behaviors through the utilization of virtual tabletop games and real-world examples in the learning environment. The gamification of learning can even be used within the technology itself. For instance, medical and dental schools have integrated the use of gamification into student registration and appointment books, appointment reminders, appointment listings, and even emergency response cards.
Gamification in education is not a new concept. It has been around for decades in various forms of entertainment and is starting to enter the education realm as well. Educational games and other edtech tools can help to reinforce what is learned in the classroom while students are engaged with learning activities that help them grow as individuals. Gamification in education should not be viewed as an expansion of what is already available but rather as a way to make the entire experience richer and more rewarding through the integration of technology.