Gamification is becoming an increasingly popular concept in teaching.
Today’s “digital natives” have grown up with video and computer games, and they look for excitement. The fast pace of many games fits their short attention spans. The concept of “gamification” – using game elements in non-game contexts to motivate and persuade – is moving from marketing to teaching. While games have long been part of a language teacher’s bag of tricks, teachers can benefit from learning about the elements of games that will help us appeal to today’s learners.
Tonewdigital suggests and provides Ed-tech Apps for K12 , several of which teachers may already have incorporated or could relatively easily add to their lessons. This UnicornRunner Game App explains how English language teachers can use the game mechanics to improve learner motivation, collaboration, and willingness to spend time practicing.
Game mechanics featured in UnicornRunner:
- Cascading Information Theory – Breaking up information into bits so that each bit can be effectively learned; not getting all the information at once. We do this all the time; it’s called curriculum.
- Achievements – Where learners have accomplished something, and they know it. These may be made visible in a variety of ways. Teachers tend to do this a lot with their learners. UnicornRunner features a fun , interactive game upon achieving a desired score in each level.
- Points – Giving numerical value for actions. We call them grades. We tend not to give points to a group or for routine activities, but we could.
The child needs to accumulate a particular amount of points to be able to unlock the game , sort of a reward thing.
- Loss Aversion – Not getting a reward or a point, but avoiding punishment. Grading is often how teachers implement this. Each level of quiz is graded accordingly and points are not given for wrong answers.
- Countdown – Having only a certain (generally short) amount of time to do something. As the deadline approaches, there is more activity on the part of child. While we routinely include this with homework and tests, it’s also something that could be incorporated within a classroom lesson to gamify just about anything. The key is making sure that everyone can succeed sometime.
- Levels – Gaining more points leads to more or different rewards. If we changed grading so that learners started from zero points and added more, we would be doing something like this. A very interesting idea!
- Progression – Gradual success, typically via completing a series of tasks; the key is that progress is visual in some way. A chart of reading speed might be one example of this. It’s something that language teaching doesn’t always do well. Learners often don’t know where they are in their move toward language acquisition.
- Epic Meaning – The sense of accomplishing something big, like saving a world. Upon successful completion of level with desired points and “Beautiful and magical” Game is unlocked ‘UnicornRunner’.Kids love playing this game.
Try using the different game mechanics to gamify your class. Start small, but keep the focus on the student as an active player, not a passive recipient of information.
Unicorn runner is available for FREE for both iOS as well as Android Devices so wherever you will go, your kids can continue their learning.