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By David Reeves • April 8, 2022

Gamification in Education: Increasing Student Engagement with Classroom Online Games, Teams, Contests

Increasing engagement is always at the forefront of teachers’ minds. When students are engaged, it’s much easier for them to learn and grow. Gamification is a current concept that’s proving to be extremely powerful. With the use of game design to enhance non-game situations, gamification can be a powerful way to increase motivation through getting students involved in something they find interesting and enjoyable. What exact role does gamification play in helping students learn? How do concepts from things like technology, classroom online games, and interactive apps play into getting students more involved? To help answer these questions, let’s take a look at a few specific ways that gamification in education can be a powerful, engagement-boosting tool.

5 Ways to Access to Benefits of Gamification in Education

Gamification in Education

1. Use Classroom Online Games and Interactive Apps

One of the easiest ways to work games into the classroom is through online educational games and interactive apps. Many of them are free, located on kid-safe sites and don’t require an account. Examples include Room Recess5 Dice: Order of Operations and Fun Brain. Whether digital content is used as a reward for good behavior or weaved into the instructional design of a lesson, students typically display high engagement with interactive apps and classroom online games.

2. Make Grading a Game

Not all students will associate academic grades with discouragement and failure, but for the ones who do, turning academic performance into a game can make all the difference. In fact, it is the lowest-performing students who stand to gain the most from gamification in education. Take the example of one Indiana University professor who stopped giving out grades and started letting students earn “experience points” instead. “The elements of the class are couched in terms they understand, terms that are associated with fun rather than education,” Professor Lee Sheldon told Escapist Magazine. Every person starts the course with zero points and works his or her way up to higher levels through quests like projects, quizzes, etc. This idea turned the classroom environment into a giant game, one that students could actually have fun with and enjoy, even while completing class requirements.

3. Offer Rewards

Every good game comes with some sort of badge or ranking in return for achievement. Offer individual rewards in order to incentivize students in the classroom. While in elementary school, this could be as simple as star stickers on a chart; in older years, it could be badges earned for certain point levels. Even if the badges are just given for completing assignments, they can go a long way toward making students want to participate. You may even try a class-wide skill and achievement system, as suggested by the Teach Thought Staff: “An example can be when a student reaches a new level or point total, certain skills or power-ups can be rewarded, such as the ability to choose a class-wide activity or game to play.”  

In-class rewards are also a great way to reinforce curriculum from classroom online games and can help bring the lessons full circle!

Interactive Apps

4. Create a Leaderboard

One thing most games have in common is rankings—take this idea to your classroom by creating a class leaderboard that will show top performers and ranks. By turning learning into something that individual students are competing at, you will often garner the interest of those who have been on the fringes of learning up until that point. When completing assignments and extra projects gains points, more students are likely to join in.

5. Divide Classroom into Teams

Encourage a little friendly competition while also helping students gain team-building skills by splitting your classroom up into teams. Set up a point system for how teams earn higher scores, such as a point for each person who turns in an assignment, five points for every score above a 92 percent, 20 points for every perfect paper, etc. You may also use the leaderboard concept here, but with team (instead of individual) rankings.

 Gamification in education

Finding ways to work games or game concepts into the classroom can be a powerful tool for educators to engage their students. And the ideas above are just the beginning! From board games to semester-long games to classroom online games, turning learning into a competitive, rewards-based system can make it more motivating and fun.

Want to try classroom online games with your students? Sign up for eSpark for free today!

Meet our Guest Author:

David Reeves is Marketing Manager of Superior Playgrounds. in Carrollton, GA. The company designs outdoor play structures for all age levels. The company offers customizable, safe equipment sets with components including swings, bridges and balancing structures.


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