WHAT IS GAMIFICATION?
Gamification is the use of game design, elements and techniques in a non-game context such as, education. It is considered a means of engaging learners in a context that encourages and fosters learning as well as having the potential to support learning. (Dr. Selay, n.d)
Gamification enables learners to use multiple pathways to their achievements while providing a safe way to fail that does not affect their grades and the focus is placed on leveling up rather than losing points. (Conrad, 2016)
It’s tempting to assume how gamification works. Based on the popularity of video games and consoles alike, one could ask who doesn’t love games? Despite the uncanny answer to this question, the world’s experts on gamification will tell you “that everything about this fledgling field – even the very definition (loosely, the application of game elements to non-game situations) – is still up for grabs”. (Knowledge@Wharton, 2016)
It is highly important to understand how gamification works in order to view it as a viable option in classroom settings. Currently, the common classroom consists of many desks, chairs, a blackboard, and or projector, along with a teacher who might be stuck in the past. If you are lucky, your teacher might be up to date with latest trends and would want to engage his/her students in new ways to keep up with the times.
Students today are tech savvy and have wandering minds. They are able to process information coming at them from several channels at a time – walking, talking, and texting” - (Ronan, 2015).
Educators are beginning to realize that past techniques of teaching are failing to keep the attention of kids. Failure to remain attentive could account for bad grades and poor life choices due to lack of learning within classrooms. To solve this, educators must change how they deliver classroom content so that they can “keep kids’ attention, draw on their strengths, engage them as lifelong learners, and be amazingly fun”. (Ronan, 2015)
Based on the problem at hand, there arrives a simple solution; gamification. To sum it up, “gamification is the process by which teachers use video game design principles in learning environments”. (Ronan, 2015) This isn’t a classic shooter style design principle tailored to late nights on the sofa with a beer in one’s hand but rather a new style of teaching tailored to a younger audience. If video games have proved one thing, its that they possess an uncanny ability to get you engaged. Based on this, one could argue that gamification in a classroom setting could increase student engagement and create class-wide enjoyment of academic lessons.