Thursday, 27 September 2012

Gamification in education: trying to solve the puzzle

I must confess I've been trying to understand what gamification is for a while now. After reading several tweets and posts from my PLN, I still was not able to figure out what it was! I did know something about game-based learning, but this seemed somehow different.

Sooo I registered for a gamification MOOC at Coursera, dictated by Prof. Kevin Werbach from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, determined to take every advantage of it.

The course is half way through now and I must say I find it incredibly informative and motivating (although-not surprisingly- it turned out to be highly business-oriented and not related to education). In spite of this, I've already learned quite a few interesting concepts and I'm gradually coming to terms with the underpinning principles of gamification.

So, one thing is clear for me now. Gamification and game-based learning (GBL) are not exactly the same. They are somehow connected, sure, but they are not the same thing. Some differences:

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Now only one question remains: what are the implications of these differences in the classroom?

GBL seeks student engagement by proposing students activities that are naturally fun and motivating for them (i.e. games). For instance, students can learn history by playing Pirates, or they can research on capitalism by playing Animal Crossing (examples taken from Knewton).

Gamification proposes the use of game-like rule systems in the classroom or school. It involves game-like experiences such as repeated experimentation and failure, adoption of a variety of cultural roles and other challenges that might eventually result in learning and changing behaviour. Some examples provided by Lee & Hammer (2011) include giving students "reading points", "perfect attendance rewards", and assigning roles, such as a "lead detective role" in the Science class, among others.

Feel like going on reading?
Why use games in the classroom?
The gamification of education and cognitive social and emotional learning benefits
Lee & Hammer (2011) Gamification in education: what, how, why bother?
Knewton - The Gamification (or GBL???) of Education Infographic
Video: using game desing to improve my classroom
The 50 best videos for teachers interested in Gamification (and GBL???)