Teach Play Learn AN INQUIRY INTO THE GAMIFICATION OF TEACHING
This teaching as inquiry project is driven by our need, as e-Leaders, to facilitate an innovative and efficient, professional learning and development (PLD) approach. The proposed innovation is to use a gamified learning management system to support teachers as learners. This approach should allow schools PLD teams to target specific learning outcomes and establish a way of quantifying the effects of teacher PLD. This inquiry uses the current theory of gamification in education and business to identify how gamification might be used to support teacher PLD and explores current uses of gamification tools in teacher learning. The proposed innovation is then client tested by analysing feedback and responses from a range of stakeholders, including teachers, students, whānau, school leaders, professional learning providers, education specialists and other interested members of the community. The findings of this inquiry suggest that while many stakeholders may be interested in the idea of gamification of teacher PLD, some suggest that digital proficiency may limit uptake. Follow-up investigation might propose a pilot study which would teach interested users how to use a gamified learning management system to support their PLD while monitoring for increased proficiency in digital competence in these users as a result of the study.
LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The proposed gamification of teacher learning would also promote collaboration. Teachers working together as opposed to in silos is a major driver of 21st-century PLD. Alongside the collaborative element of many of the gamification and game-based learning experiences is the use of competition as a motivator (Nicholson, 2012). Deterding et al. (2011) discuss the idea of ‘consequentless’ competition, whereby under the rules of the game there are no penalties for failure. Players are granted awards for effort and time spent in gameplay, no disadvantage in seen in taking chances and making every attempt to succeed. Learners are thus, encouraged to try and consequently learn from their mistakes as they reattempt game levels and interactions. Kapp (2012) explores competition in gameplay. Whether competing against a rival player, another team or trying to beat a previous score, a competitive element is shown to increase user engagement.
Te Noho Kotahitanga expresses a commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi, highlighting cooperation or mahi kotahitanga - the idea of cooperation and whanaungatanga to actively engage in working relationships. In this case, colleagues working together in a fun, supportive learning environment using gamification in learning and interaction, as students might.
Working collaboratively toward rewards, badges, and levels, motivate and challenge staff to engage in teacher PLD and to use digital technologies to the benefit of their community. Reminiscent of an iwi, whānau, hapu social system, a gamified LMS would help communities of teachers as learners to recognise strengths within their networks, and to identify those who may need extra support. A gamified LMS which promotes the sharing of knowledge and resources also reflects values identified in Tataiako, such as identifying “Productive Partnerships” where Mäori students, whänau and educators share knowledge and expertise with each other to produce better outcomes.”
The Lytton High School, PLD team, was presented with this project proposal. This group included three classroom teachers, one literacy specialist, the deputy principal (PLD lead) and the principal (by special invitation). An outline of the innovation, to use a gamified learning management system to support teachers as learners, was proposed in response to the PLD team’s identified need to develop a new approach to PLD at the school.
- A short review of the identified needs to develop PLD at the school, including the need for innovation which would enable the PLD team to facilitate a dynamic and efficient PLD programme.
- A brief outline of the principles of gamification, referencing the use of gamification in both classroom and business settings.
- Suggestion and discussion, around the possibilities that a gamified approach might have for teacher PLD.
- An overview of the design and purpose, of a gamified learning management system (LMS) and why it might benefit teacher PLD.
- An example of a gamified learning management system, Adobe Captivate Prime.
- Discussion and feedback session.
Statement: "We do need to do something!"
Discussion: The innovation is responsive to the necessity of an innovative approach
Statement: "Maybe, then our teachers would try it with their students."
Discussion: Gamifying teacher learning would promote an understanding of gamification as a pedagogical approach and thus may lead to an increased use of gamification in the classroom.
Statement: "Some of our teachers just wouldn't be able to use it."
Discussion: Technical ability may limit teacher engagement.
Response: Start with a less technical approach such as badges, digital badges, gamified task sheets.
Statement: "It might be going a bit far."
Discussion: We are aware of the overload which teachers experience when given an 'extra' task to complete on top of an already busy schedule.
Suggestions: Incorporating gamification elements into the existing PLD infrastructure may increase engagement without increasing teacher workload.
Statement: "Well, we already have 'Teaching as Inquiry.'"
Discussion: Teaching as Inquiry is a mandatory component of the teaching profession. How might the gamification of out PLD assist this? School leaders identify that many teachers may not be using the inquiry cycle to its full potential, and some teachers could recall no formal training or development around efficient use of this tool to inform their practice.
Suggestions: A gamified PLD approach could be used to support and streamline the Teaching as Inquiry process.
"First why and then trust." Simon Sinek
The findings of this inquiry suggest that while school leaders may be interested in the idea of gamification of teacher PLD, some suggest that digital proficiency may limit uptake. Follow-up inquiry might propose a pilot study which would teach interested users how to use a gamified learning management system to support their PLD while monitoring for desired outcomes through teacher and student feedback and response surveys.
As an integral, and compulsory, part of teaching practice it was decided that the need for each teacher to engage in Teaching as Inquiry could promote "buy in" to the gamification project. The project design should incorporate elements which would streamline the 'Teaching as Inquiry' process, for example, the areas of learning in the LMS would target practicing teacher criteria (PTC) and provide badges as peer-reviewed evidence of meeting these.