Academic Culture

Gamification

Motivating students to improve behavior and engage in self-directed learning

Gamification is the process of adding game elements to an environment that is not traditionally a game. I use Gamification as a strategy in my blended learning classroom to motivate my ninth grade students to engage in the curriculum and to buy in to my social and behavioral expectations--all while keeping learning fun! We have two games going on in our classroom---our academic game and our behavioral game. Our academic game is based around the storyline of the Isle of Nosredna and features an island-based theme with a leaderboard ranking based on students' engagement in our self-paced learning environment. Our behavioral game, using the Classcraft online tool, is based on health points, experience points, battles, and powers. Students work as teams to keep each other "alive" and progressing in both games.  

Strategy Resources (3)
Teacher In Action
 
 
Strategy Explanation
 
 
This screencast demonstrates how I use Classcraft events to add an element of chance to our behavioral game. The random events can be positive or negative, giving students XP or HP as a result. The event can be anything you choose. One event that I particularly enjoy is when my entire class must use non-verbal communication the entire class period.
Article
 
 
The first blog post discusses the early excitement within the classroom as game elements were introduced to my students. The second blog post reflects on the elements of gamification I have implemented in my classroom, the three things I've noticed after implementation, and the differences between my behavioral and academic games.
Teacher In Action
 
 
Strategy Explanation
 
 
This screencast demonstrates how I use Classcraft events to add an element of chance to our behavioral game. The random events can be positive or negative, giving students XP or HP as a result. The event can be anything you choose. One event that I particularly enjoy is when my entire class must use non-verbal communication the entire class period.
Article
 
 
The first blog post discusses the early excitement within the classroom as game elements were introduced to my students. The second blog post reflects on the elements of gamification I have implemented in my classroom, the three things I've noticed after implementation, and the differences between my behavioral and academic games.
Jessica Anderson
Powell County High School
Deer Lodge, MT


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Long
Subject:
Science
Grade:
Ninth grade
Similar Strategies
Feedback Systems
Instant Feedback
Motivating students to improve behavior and engage in self-directed learning

Instant Feedback, my method for conferencing with students on a daily basis, is one of the strategies I use each day to help my students progress through the content in my largely self-paced course. I also use Instant Feedback to gauge my students' understanding of the material we are covering. As I walk around the room, I'm constantly looking at what students have written and am asking them to explain their thinking. If I need to learn more about their thinking, I ask additional questions until I identify the source of their confusion or misconceptions or until I am convinced that they are on the right track. This year I have begun to experiment with a protocol called "SE2R" (Summarize, Explain, Redirect, Resubmit) to structure some of my Instant Feedback to my students and to help them identify their next steps.

 
Assessment & Data
Digital Assessment Tools
Motivating students to improve behavior and engage in self-directed learning

I formatively assess students through digital technology like Plickers, Kahoot, and Poll Everywhere. Plickers (Paper clickers) is a free software tool designed like QR codes to collect students’ answers to questions. I create questions on the Plickers website (www.plickers.com) and assign each student a card number. I will read and display the question on the SmartBoard and scan the room to determine students’ answers. The answers are displayed on my device in two colors (incorrect/correct) and in graphical form. This gives me a good visual of where students excel in the curriculum and where they struggle. I also use Kahoot (www.getkahoot.com) as a whole group assessment of students’ understanding. Kahoot allows me to write questions, allows for an allotted amount of time for each question to be answered, and for students to be ranked on time and the correctness of their answer. The students are fully engaged in this activity because it’s over material they’ve all covered, there is music that is aligned with the timer, and they get instant feedback. I also get a report showing their answers to the questions at the end of the game. I use this report, which uses conditional formatting, to show me which answers are correct and which are incorrect. I love how the visual gives me feedback on what students still need to master. I’ve also found Poll Everywhere (polleverywhere.com) to be a great way to formally assess my students. For instance, I asked my students to give me an example of something that is within the hydrosphere. They messaged their answers to our classroom code. It was then displayed on our SmartBoard as a word cloud. I’ve also used Poll Everywhere in conjunction with small group discussion groups with a checklist of skills and standards students need to achieve. For instance, I first used Poll Everywhere to check to see if students understood what objects would be in the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere. I wanted to see if they understood the definitions before we moved onto more complex tasks. The word cloud created a list of all the objects in each sphere. I then had students take words from the word cloud and create drawings showing how the four spheres would interact. The students then shared their drawings via Apple TV and the SmartBoard in small groups. I gave verbal feedback in front of the group as well as asked probing questions if I needed to.

 
Learning Apps
Voxer Enables Virtual Collaboration
Motivating students to improve behavior and engage in self-directed learning

Voxer is an application I use in my classroom to incorporate verbal collaboration. Voxer is a walkie-talkie type app where teachers can assign students to groups, pose questions, and have students verbally discuss the questions with a virtual audience. When Voxer is being used by students, they are switching between verbal and written communication. Most groups will verbally respond to questions and other students' will type their answers. Voxer is a great application for connecting students virtually with students their own age with limited bandwidth use.

 
 
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