Fun tech and gamification: how to introduce them at school

Fun tech and gamification motivate students while maximizing their engagement at school, capturing their interest and inspiring them to continue learning. As we discussed in the previous article “The benefits of gaming in education the build a world case”, gamification leads to several benefits – such as the development of social and communication skills – and today we will understand how to introduce it at school.
Gamification: when learning intersects with fun
There is no “best way” of introducing gamification at school, favouring a particular teaching technique instead of another. While there is a growing body of literature that explains why fun tech and game-based learning is so effective, there is a limited practical guidance for how games should be incorporated into the learning process. We know its value and effectiveness, but we have few knowledge on how to best implement it in classrooms.
Though, it is certain that the aim should be finding all the right spots where learning intersects with fun, reaching the balance between pedagogy and engagement.
In order to incorporate gamification elements into the curriculum, the educational staff can use rewards and challenges to stimulate students to answer questions and solve problems. The material used in the gamification process should:

  • Show progress and measure success
  • Be challenging and use interactive elements
  • Show accomplishment
  • Incorporate avatars or digital currencies
  • Increase competition (e.g., using a scoring system)

5 ways a teacher can use gamification at school today
As we said before, there really is no “best way” of implementing gamification at school: a teacher can choose among many options, trying to understand which one of these can lead to the best result for students. Here we suggest you 5 different ways to start using gamification at school today. 
1 – Internet searches with Webquest
A webquest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format that guides students to search the Internet for specific information. The teacher pre-selects the sources, emphasizing information usage rather than information gathering. Webquests are classroom-based, they emphasize analysis, creativity and criticism, and most of them are group work with the task frequently being split into roles.
There are many already-constructed webquests to choose from, and they represent a perfect way to teachers to integrate Internet searches into their curriculum.
2 – Online grading system
Many sites offer the opportunity to track grades, record attendance and seating charts, and compile reports on students’ results. Many online grading systems allow teachers to directly email students – and parents – to keep them informed on their progress.
Thanks to this solution, students will never worry again about losing, damaging or forgetting their gradebooks at school, because they can access them from any computer, tablet or smartphone, whenever they want and wherever they are.
3 – “Publishing” students’ work
Thanks to their technological tools and devices, today students can transform their homework in professional-looking work. They can create videos, websites, and they can also share their ideas on social media or blogs. And the most ambitious ones can also raise money to have their work professionally published by a self-publishing company!
4 – PowerPoint “Game Show Review”
Teachers can engage their students creating review games based on famous and iconic game TV shows such as “Jeopardy!” or “Who wants to be a Millionaire?”. It is possible to prepare the material using PowerPoint with default templates which are available online for teachers to download and revise, including their own content.
5 – Well-known videogames to develop students’ skills
Everyone loves videogames, especially students! And every videogame is created in order to develop a particular set of skills, which can be improved through practice. So why using them at school? Here we propose some examples:

  • StartCraft stimulates students to produce visual models of new worlds
  • SimCity helps students thinking like a city mayor and developing organizational skills
  • Dungeons&Dragons can be used to talk about probability of events
  • Zoombinis grows logical and critical thinking abilities through use of deductive reasoning.

Videogames are the perfect solution to pass from “boring” subjects to funny educational experiences!

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