After exploring why educators should include gamification techniques in their classrooms and a few principles of gamification they can follow in order to do that, I promised a few tips on how to do it exactly. Well, a promise is a promise.
But before going further, one thing needs to be clear: no two students are the same and no two classrooms are the same, so the success of any gamification initiative in your primary school class will very much depend on factors specific to your situation.
5 Tips on how to gamify your classroom
Without further ado, here are a few things you can do if you want to start creating gamified learning experiences for your students:
Do it for the right reason
If you think gamification will solve all the problems in your classroom, don’t start it because you’ll be disappointed. If you want to gamify things because that’s what teachers do lately, don’t waste your time with it.
But if you truly believe that your students will benefit from it, by all means, start yesterday!
Decide how much to gamify
Remember how you’re supposed to design gamified learning materials based on levels of progress? If you yourself are new to the game of gamifying your classroom, do you really think you can just wing it? Implementing gamification in learning activities is not a game play. Those that do it properly know there’s quite a lot of work behind it.
So don’t get carried away by its luring potential and start slow. Gamify just one learning activity at first. See how you can improve it over time, and only then add more things to your workload. You’ll eventually grow into it.
Align it with the real world
The real world means head teachers, principals, State standards, and so on. If a student needs a proper grade at the end of the semester, you need to give them the right one. Your students could collect millions of points and plenty of badges, but these things need to become As and Bs and Cs, and so on.
For example, a test could be worth 5,000 points; homework could be 2,500; a quiz, 3,000; group participation, 1,000; other related activities could equal some bonus points. But at the end of the day, all these points must correspond to some percentages of the final grade of a student.
Technology can help you
The good news for those who want to create gamified activities in the classroom is that there are plenty of options to achieve this. From things as simple as a mobile app (does Kahoot! ring a bell?) to more complex things like a school LMS with gamification features, education technology has your back.
All you have to do is find the right ed-tech tool for you. If you start small, with only one or a few gamified activities, there’s no need to stress over how to use one or another. Apps are generally very easy to use. But if you want to gamify your entire course, an LMS might be a better option. You can do a lot of things with it, and it makes it easier to keep track of all learning data, which is necessary to find out just how successful your gamification endeavor is.
Know when to stop
Don’t overuse rewards and don’t try to gamify anything and everything that happens in your classroom. Your students may like play, but some things are only learned the hard way.
Plus, if all your energy goes into gamification, there’s not much left for other learning activities, which are still important in the development of children. The time you put into creating gamified learning materials should be seen in the general progress of students, never forget about this.
All in all
Teachers need to know the learning needs of their students and their classrooms, and adapt their gamification strategy accordingly. Only this way will they be able to create the most successful gamified learning experience for their students.
FREE Resource: How to make learning engaging with gamification