In the education world, a new school year signals new beginnings for students and teachers as well as for those working behind the scenes. We’re looking forward to exciting advances in educational technology (edtech) that will be rolling out soon to classrooms around the world as we gear up for the 2018–2019 school year. New edtech pieces inevitable come with their own learning curve. How can educators prepare to use these new tools in the midst of meeting new students and planning lessons? A little prior preparation can ease the transition.
Conducting activities using gaming concepts like point-and-reward systems is motivating and engaging. So much so that IT services company ITinspired noted gamification among the rising trends in edtech in its recent white paper, Technology Trends in the Classroom: What’s on Tap for 2019 and Beyond.
It’s important to think through how game-based learning will be presented because using motivators such as badges, points, and competition can be problematic for some classes. Critics noted several potential areas of concern like external reward systems can rapidly lose their appeal after the novelty wears off, and for students who simply aren’t competitive, games and team challenges may not be motivating at all in the NEA Today article Gamification in the Classroom: The Right or Wrong Way to Motivate Students? Cited by NEA Today, educators who have used game-based learning in the classroom shared these strategies for success:
Focus on the journey: The better way to gamify is to put students in an inquiry-based or project-based learning experience. Or give them a task in a narrative frame.
Find the internal motivator: We should avoid simply rewarding learning behaviours—while badges, points, and leaderboards can be included in the game, they shouldn’t be the central focus.
Engage with the material: Educators should continue looking at the heart of the subject to excite students instead of depending on the mechanics of gaming. They should try to find what is inherently interesting in a subject and exploit that. Ultimately, even though gamification adds a layer of excitement, we want to convey to our students that learning itself is exciting.