When I started teaching 6th grade almost 3 decades ago, I quickly learned that if I could get a little friendly competition going, add some motivation for achievement, or add in levels of advancement to student learning, my job of teaching students became easier. Not only did students increase their knowledge, but classroom management issues were reduced, and students were happier and enjoyed school more. Until I attended an ISTE session on Gamification and Digital Gaming taught by Ryan Schaaf, I didn’t realize that Gamification is what I had been doing in my classroom for years.
Gamification is taking an element of gaming (incentives, levels, problem solving, time limits) and adding it to other experiences, like; simulations, multiplication fact learning, spelling bees, and incentives for 100% on tests, just to name a few.
Gamification can be done in any subject, and without digital devices.
Digital gaming requires digital devices, and can also be done in any subject area. Digital games are abundant and motivating for students, but the challenge comes with knowing the game your students are playing is actually reinforcing the concept you are trying to teach. Although it is time consuming, the teacher responsibility with digital gaming is to review the games students are playing.
One of the resources I received from the session from Ryan Schaaf is a link (click here) for a list of great digital gaming sites and specific concepts it is designed to teach. UEN also has a fantastic compilation of digital games (click here).
Just remember to take a few minutes to preview the activities in order to direct student learning.
Most of all: LEARN and have fun! It's contagious!