It is no secret that video games are among the biggest industries and forces in pop culture in the world. No matter who you are or where you come from, chances are you’ve heard of and played some video games in your time. The Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and other video game characters rank among the most recognizable media figures in the world for children, and remain a touchstone for the children who’ve grown up with them over the past few decades. Indie, casual, and puzzle games such as Candy Crush have taken off in popularity, and even companies like Starbucks have started to “gamify” getting coffee with an online app that rewards you every time you buy a cup.
It should thus come as no surprise that the world of education has been eager to adapt to this gamification of life. In an effort to engage students, schools are gamifying education. Here are a few suggestions that can help you engage your students by gamifying your curriculum.
We already reward students with points and grades for tests – why not make it explicit? Give assignments and tests different amounts of points, and then bracket the traditional breakdown of grades into specific point totals reached for a given semester.
Use Educational Video Games
It’s not a new idea, but it’s one that is gaining traction. There is a wealth of educational video games out there for varying grade levels, many of which are free on the Internet. You might also want to consider offering motivating factors for these games as well. In-game points are nice, sure, but excellence in a math game leading to more points towards one’s math grade might well make students work harder at the game and, thus, learn math more efficiently.
Individual games are great and all, but nothing motivates quite a like a little competition. That’s why you might want to consider incorporating a few more classwide games into your learning plan.
As we continue to gamify life and education, make sure these are games your students are equipped to win.