Will using a gamified learning approach with a year 10 Mathematics class have a positive impact? Nazmul Bashar (Collaboration , gamification , student engagement, student outcomes!!!!)

Prepared by Nazmul Bashar; Mindlab July 2016

Acknowledgement: All the images used here are from RC college. I wanted to make the backgrounds meaningful. One of the photos is from Central Auckland Mindlab classroom.

"To teach is to engage students in learning." Cristensen et al

Teaching as Inquiry

Introduction: Some of the pedagogical questions seem to be simple, but in reality, they are not easy to answer. Here I will echo Rachel Bolstad of New Zealand Council for Educational Research and quote,"Do games actually help learning?" My inquiry or interest in games as a strategy in pedagogy started when I began to read some literature from Hamari, Jabbar Clark and others while I was attempting to do a literature review at Mindlab.

educators, researchers, and policy makers have advocated student involvement for some time as an essential aspect of meaningful learning.

Visually, the process of Teaching As Inquiry is represented in the background slide. "Teaching Gap Analysis" in our school provides initial ideas about the areas of development. "The New Zealand Curriculum, teachers were asked to specifically focus on the needs of four to five priority learners in order to manage and monitor the effects of the change they made more effectively." (Lindsey Conner, 2015).

Hypothesis: using Gamification and some game play will contribute positively to the students' engagement in year 10 classes. In 2017, two year 10 classes' engagement level will be compared. The comparison will be done as an experimental design.
Truely gamified event: MATHEX
Students who are 'interested' in learning is more likely to participate in various activities willingly. For example, students, generally engaged will be eager to get into a competitive team like Mathex. Mathex is a source of satisfaction in the learning process. Also it is a thoroughly collaborative process.

When it comes to creating a highly collaborative classroom teachers need to model listening, paraphrasing, artful questioning and negotiation any and every chance they get. All these contribute towards students' learning engagement.

Our school's built in Teacher appraisal system will be used to execute the process.

Inquiry Based Teaching and College Appraisal System: they are integrated

A year's educational quest is about to finish. Today (End of Year 2016, December), I completed the year's appraisal cycle. In our school teacher's appraisal is linked to the overall inquiry teaching and learning events. It begins with the goal setting based on 'teaching gap analysis'. Teaching gap analysis is created with the data obtained from various sources e.g feedback from the students, appraiser, asttle results, overall results and performance of the classes taught by me. So it deals with graphs, tables, qualitative and quantitative data.

Throughout the year, I had an important educational quest: students' engagement during lessons. Student classroom engagement, in my opinion is important. I think engagement matters and their success is dependent on how engaged the they are in a class.

Another overarching thing is how collaborative the teaching and learning process is . Collaboration is essential to teach social skills to the students.

MindShift for all stakeholders is required for any innovative approach in a school

Mainville, Y., & Janes, D. (2013). Constructivism: Transforming Teaching Practice Assignment.

We have to shift from a culture of teaching towards a culture of learning. No more 'imparting knowledge' , rather shift should be to that of constructing knowledge. The construction of knowledge should be based on students experience, collaboration, and interactivity. Bygone are the days of large lecture hall, rather learners prefer informal, small group discussion, often through text messaging or e-mail. Message of constructivism has overshadowed traditional teacher centred education. Students want a learning space in which they can get to know one another, engage in dialogue, work independently or in groups on projects, get or provide feedback.

One of the year 10 classes will be integrated with the 'Classcraft' gamification system for this Inquiry Teaching:

The idea of using games for learning is not new ,Muntean,(2011). Gamification ,Deterding et al, (2011) is the use of game-play mechanics for non-game applications. Any application, task, process or context can theoretically be gamified. Gamification's main goal is to rise the engagement of users by using game-like techniques such as scroreboards and personalised fast feedback ,Flatla et al, (2011) making people more ownership and purpose when engaging with tasks ,Pavlus, (2010).

Preparing for 2017 : Classcraft and gamification

End of 2016, we started using Classcraft which is a gamification tool that teachers can incorporate into any class. It is simple to use, as it does not change the structure of the class itself, but simply adds a layer of gamified elements to the class.

M.Sherriff, M. Floryan & D. Wert (2016) said "..that basic changes, most notably an XP based grading system, increased student understanding of their standing in the course and were the most effective at motivating students".

Above background picture is created from 'Classcraft'. My intention is to create a gamified (intervention) year 10 class and compare the outcomes with another year 10 non-gamified class (control group in experimental design).

During the study I will follow the various studies reviewed by Cark et al. focussed on a range of learning outcomes, including: 1) Cognitive outcomes (e.g knowledge, creativity); 2) Intrapersonal outcomes (e.g. intellectual openness, conscientiousness), and 3) interpersonal outcomes (e.g. teamwork, collaboration, leadership). I hope my finding will align with the conclusion drawn by the researchers, "Digital games did enhance student learning, relative to the non-game control conditions". ( Clark et al.,2014)

Mostly my interventions will be 'Gamification' component and there might infrequent use of 'Game-play'.

The video clip above is from year 9 class. Students were using simulation applications to design their 'dream' classroom. While students were engaged with a game like activity, they were learning about various geometrical shapes.

Define the Community & Rationale

My school's appraisal system is integrated with our Inquiry Based Learning. At the beginning of year the professional partnership is established which remains an ongoing process throughout the year.

Where do we begin? : Benchmark

School's Inquiry based learning starts from analysis of 'Teaching Gap Analysis' which sets the broader picture on a teacher's overall positioning e.g strength and weakness. Asttle results, beginning of the year sets the 'baseline' which the teacher does by Interpreting Individual Learning Pathway Reports. Asttle's database is comprehensive and requires skilled and time consuming analytical methods.

Whole teaching staff has to work together and the process is usually led by one of the Deputy Principals of the school. The first meeting happens at the beginning of year where the broad outlines are provided to the teachers. Here the teachers are advised to select a Professional Partner who remains the partner throughout the year.

Teachers identify their gaps in teaching process by analysing the 'Teaching Gap Analysis' forms which is based on previous year's 'Teaching Performance'. The data is mainly 'qualitative'

New awareness

Bulk of 2016, I attended/& attending the Mindlab Post Grad Certificate in Digital Collaborative learning which created a new opportunity for me to research on some of the important aspects of contemporary education. We, as educators, are so much used to discussion on students' disengagement and lack of interest in classroom learning which eventually aroused my interest in the issue of 'student engagement'. All educators are in agreement that if we can have good engagement in class the teaching will be so much easier.

Gamification, as a concept, came in new to me, it sounded innovative and interesting. My interest grew and I wanted to investigate this particular area in my practice. I thought, an action research in this issue of gamification will be interesting and useful.

Experimental Design

In 2017 this experiment will be used on 2 year 10 classes. Students of both classes will complete start of the year Asttle test. The aim is to find the 'differential' of Asttle outcomes comparing it to the End of Year Asttle result.

One year 10 class will be registered with the Classcraft, Socrative (gamification) applications, whereas the other year 10 will be subjected to minimal BYOD materials and they will not be registered to use Classcraft. The groups will differ in the way the lesson is delivered, but the content delivered to both the groups will be same.


Various types of measurement methods may be used to quantify or qualify our variable/s. Student self-reports are measures in which students respond to items using specific response formats (such as "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree" or "very true of me" to "not true of me". Scores can be summed or averaged across items to form sub-scale or total scores to describe the student.


My Community of Learning is mostly around my college i.e. students, colleagues, The Senior Management Team. I have been talking to the distant participants e.g Online Educators in New Zealand and from overseas. I have been discussing about the 'values' the gamification may add to my teaching practice with various interested people. Following are some of the instances I had interesting discussions/feedback from a number of teachers/ Educational Leaders.

John Hattie in his book, Visible Learning, introduced the concept of 'Effect Size'. "The effect size of 0.40 sets a level where the effects of innovation (e.g Gamification) enhance achievement in such a way that we can notice real-world differences, and this should be a benchmark of such a real-world change" (Hattie, 2009). Attali (2014) in his studies showed effect size of Gamification in the classroom is not significant (d=0.27, which is below the hinge point of d=0.4), but indirect effect of gamified lessons is also is to provide 'Feedback" to students which is significantly beneficial (d=0.7).
Students are central to a Student Centred Learning which is pretty much the same in a Gamified Classroom too. Students' feedback and conversation is pivotal in framing a Gamified Classroom where objective is to achieve more engagement in the learning process.
Culture Counts: more than 25% students in the college are Maori & Pacifica

Annual Plan of the school has very clear expectation regarding Maori and Pacifica students' engagement. Therefore, their development and engagement should be carefully observed and monitoring their performance is one of the important priorities.

Kaupapa Maori research is limited on Gamification in the classroom. Crow (2015) in his research on A Mobile Game World for Maori Language Learners, stated that the features enriched game enhanced Children's learning in both Numeracy and Te Reo Curriculum areas more than the feature devoid groups of children in a Primary school. He went through an experimental process measuring children's learning as Dependent Variable. He used a Gamified Educational Tool as the 'intervention' in his research.
CORE, Kaupapa Maori on gamification: email communication
Bicultural Aspect: Maori & Pacifica students engagement using gamification

Kahoot may be used to create a gamified environment

Potential Impact of Gamification

Direct impact of gamification on engagement is likely to be non-significant. As per Hattie (2009) the effect size of 0.4 is the 'hinge' point where significant impact happens with any educational endeavour. Gamification does directly impact positively , but the impact is not too significant. But it impacts on other elements e.g confidence of students, intrinsic satisfaction, team building. Gamification attempts to harness the motivational power of games and apply it to real-world problems, such as the motivational problems of students in school ,Nah, Telaproulu, Rallapalli & Venkata, (2013). I will expect enhancement of cognitive outcomes (e.g knowledge, creativity); intrapersonal outcomes (e.g. intellectual openness, conscientiousness), and interpersonal outcomes (e.g. teamwork, collaboration, leadership). The application of gamification in the educational context can help to increase student motivation in learning. As Lee and Hammer, (2011) explained, schools have been using game-like elements in classroom activities, such as giving points to students for completing assignments; these points are then converted into "badges", more commonly known as grades. Using such an incentive system, students are rewarded for desired behaviours and punished for undersirable behaviours.


Created with images by makamuki0 - "castells hands collaboration" • JerzyGorecki - "aphids insects ants"

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