Gamification has been a big buzzword in education in recent times. Games can be fun and effective for teaching and learning.
But, what is Gamification?
Well, it is the use of game mechanics, such as high scores, badges, levels, tasks, and rewards to help students focus on tasks and activities that are not in themselves ‘games’. This generally works by taking advantage of students’ natural desire for competition and success. In fact, these educational games encourage the competitive nature in students, teaching them not only to play the game, but also to win it. Since one important aspect of Gamification is that of collaboration between the students, it’s totally possible to use it to help people work together, help others, share knowledge, encourage teamwork and prepare students for real-life situations.
Gamification can allow students to practise manipulating a virtual world, encouraging them to use skills they will need to impact change on the real world.
Mentoring is at the heart of Gamification in the classroom, as the teacher is meant to serve as a guide and assessor throughout the students learning process. Students are supposed to be creators of their own knowledge, and their teacher the assistant to their learning journey.
Gamification is the application of game-design thinking to non-game activities so that they become more fun and engaging.
Through the incorporation of game-design mechanics, such as goals, rules, feedback systems and autonomy, gamification aims to effectively engage and teach individuals. The intrinsic ability of games to captivate and engage young people can be effectively used to improve their reading and writing skills.
While not-yet so popular in all schools, Gamification has gained quite a lot of momentum outside the classroom in other educational settings and it is gaining more and more “addicts” among new and active methodology practitioners who believe that educational games can teach students not only literacy but also skills such as cautious risk taking, collaboration, team work and critical thinking, which will accompany them throughout their adult life.