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Learning has always been a challenge for people. There are those who acquire knowledge in a simpler and faster way, but there are also those who cost them a little more. Therefore, there are different academic strategies that somehow seek to facilitate the learning process, whether in children, youth or adults.
One of the most popular teaching techniques in recent years is the gamification. This is a learning model based on game dynamics, so it is a strategy that is characterized by being entertaining, motivating and very attractive.
What is educational gamification?
In a general and simple way, gamification can be defined as the use of game elements in non-playful contexts, that is, outside the game. And if defined a little more broadly, it can be said that gamification is the use of the mechanisms, thinking and aesthetics of games to get people’s attention and incite action, solve problems or promote learning.
This is a general definition that can be applied to any field. However, we must highlight the character of gamification as a learning promoter. Therefore, there is also a concept associated with education.
Educational gamification basically consists of applying elements and techniques of the game to a training environment in order to obtain better results. These elements are usually the goals and objectives, the rules, the narrative, the freedom to choose and make mistakes, the rewards, the feedback, the competition, among others.
However, it must be clear that this does not necessarily mean playing or using games. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that not everything that has to do with games in the educational environment means gamify.
To apply gamification in the classroom, teachers often use a series of both mechanical and dynamic techniques extrapolated from games such as:
- Accumulation of points: consists in assigning a quantitative value to certain actions. These points accumulate.
- Level Scaling: some levels are established that the student must overcome to move on to the next one.
- Classifications: according to the points or objectives achieved, students are classified by highlighting the best in a list.
- Obtaining prizes: when the objectives are achieved, prizes are awarded that stand out for being collectible.
- Gifts: similar to the previous one, but in this case they are goods that are delivered to the players when they reach a goal.
- Challenges: it implies competitions among the participants so that in the end there is a winner who obtains points or a prize.
Benefits of educational gamification
Many studies have endorsed the benefits of creating gamified activities in learning environments. And, thanks to this technique it is possible to create a more positive experience around teaching.
If you are thinking about gamifying in your classes, discover what benefits can be obtained.
Increase motivation for learning
It’s not a secret that kids love games, and adults do too. Therefore, any activity or project that seems fun increases the motivation for learning. Not directly, but being an entertaining strategy, it increases the predisposition of students to learn and does not generate the rejection that usually implies the concept of traditional learning.
Gamification helps to change the role of students, who cease to be passive receivers to be active. With gamified activities, students have to make decisions and their actions are taken into account, since they imply consequences. In this way the learning becomes more interactive and you can receive feedback in real time.
The difficulty is increasing
As in a videogame, with gamified activities students must overcome challenges to progress. The difficulty is gradually increasing, but with a little effort the participants will be able to overcome the obstacles and thereby learn.
Increase attention and concentration
This aspect is directly related to motivation. If students are motivated they will feel better able to understand concepts, even if they seem difficult. If they feel comfortable with the activity and especially if it is entertaining, they will pay more attention and be more concentrated, which will favor their learning.
Stimulate social relationships
Most gamification tools are designed to be implemented in a group. This means that students must learn to work as a team and communicate with others to achieve their goal. Therefore, it stimulates social relations.
Promote skills such as logic or problem solving
One of the key elements of the games is the approach of challenges that participants must solve. It can be a mathematical puzzle, a trivia or a strategy that requires knowledge of some subject such as chemistry, physics, biology, etc. The point is that these actions involve the use of logical thinking and the application of techniques such as trial and error. This helps students develop these kinds of skills more.
20 apps for classroom gamification
Now that you know well what gamification is and the benefits it brings, you probably want to implement it in class. There are multiple gamification applications that will help students learn in a different, interactive and fun way. These are some of the most popular:
Mathematics is one of the subjects that generates the most stress in students. Many have an unfounded fear and others have tried to make friends with her but have not succeeded. Therefore, knowre has become a very interesting gamification app, since it is a platform that includes challenges about geometry and algebra. Its objective is to be a support for the traditional class, since the teacher’s explanation is given first and then the app is used to strengthen the knowledge.
2. Minecraft: Education Edition
The popular Minecraft video game not only serves to play, but also has ample educational potential. That is why Minecraft: Education Edition has been launched, a version aimed at both teachers and students. Its purpose is to promote collaboration, creativity and problem solving in a fun and imaginative environment. So students can learn new concepts in a more fun and effective way.
Another of the most popular gamification apps is Kahoot! It is a tool that allows teachers to create question and answer games. Users can create their own quices very intuitively and even join a group, which are available on the platform for different ages and levels. It is a pure gamification tool with rankings, learning and lots of fun.
This is a platform that has two aspects. Students can create their own educational games, but they can also play those created by other users. With the first option your creativity is encouraged and with the second you can learn from various topics or strengthen your knowledge in a particular area. Best of all, there are games on a wide variety of topics and for all courses and ages.
It is an application designed to search, create and share your own ‘flashcards’ games. This platform has a wide variety of digital cards for teaching, so students and teachers will find a lot of material. If you download the app you can search among the different themes and also the web includes a special section for teachers to be inspired.
6. Pear Deck
One way to improve student attention is bidirectionality. If you just stand in front of the class to explain, students are likely to tire quickly. In Pear Deck, teachers can improve the performance of explanations and presentations, since while they teach, students can receive content on their devices in real time. This content can be images, questions or any other supporting material.
Another very interesting educational app for gamification is Classcraft, a platform very similar to a video game. It is a kind of ‘World of Warcraft’ for education that stands out for being very visual and attractive to students. With it they can create a world of characters in which they will have to participate in missions and cooperate with each other to earn points and gold. The idea is to move forward while acquiring knowledge.
This is one of the most popular tools in recent times. ClassDojo allows teachers not only to organize their class, but also to promote gamification activities and qualify students. In addition, it allows to maintain a more fluid communication with the students and also with their parents. This platform offers three types of accounts: teacher, student and parent. A prominent feature is that students can be assigned positive and negative badges when the teacher considers it.
9. Play Brighter
It is a platform that allows the creation of an online personalized learning environment. The teacher can configure the universe in which his students will participate, according to their tastes and needs. This involves the creation of missions and the design of the points they will assign, for example.
This is an app for special gamification to learn chemistry, one of the subjects that can be more complex for students. This tool was born as a Kickstarter project and has become a video game that teaches the basics of chemistry, as well as experiment techniques, instruments that are used, among other things. It is a game similar to the ‘Final Fantasy’, but its purpose is didactic.
CodeCombat is a very interesting application because it focuses on new knowledge. It is a video game designed to learn to program. Therefore, it is a platform in which users must solve challenges and problems through code. In this way they will move forward and can improve both their level and their equipment. It has progressive difficulty, so that each time the approaches will be more complicated, but more will also be learned.
12. Edmodo Gamification
Edmodo stands out as a kind of social network for educational purposes. This tool allows you to create challenges and exercises, as well as assign pins to multiple students. That is, not only the best of all is rewarded, but the best in every aspect: who has worked more, who has achieved a more creative or ingenious solution, the best collaborative project, etc. In this way the effort is rewarded equally according to the abilities of each student.
It is considered one of the most successful flashcard platforms today. It has drawn attention in the educational world because it offers the ease of creating own card packs and using those that have been developed by others. In Quizlet you can find thousands of packs that can be used to learn and review different concepts.
14. The World Peace Game
Another educational gamification application that teachers can use is The World Peace Game. It is characterized by introducing players into a political simulation. In this way students have the opportunity to explore and make contacts in a community different from theirs, with hundreds of problems of all kinds: economic, social and even environmental. It is basically a role play, as students should try to save these communities from all these problems that afflict them. However, it is an option that is only carried out in specific camps and workshops in the United States.
This is a gamification tool similar to Kahoot! With it, teachers can create tests to perform in class in real time. It allows you to add not only text, but also images or audios. And the best part is that it offers a sharing functionality to send the tests to other teachers.
16. Monster Kit
It is a tool designed for students in the first cycle of Primary Education. It is a board game with which you can practice creative skills such as writing, reading, drawing or calculating in a fun way. It is ideal to develop the imagination of children both if they do it alone or accompanied, since it admits 1 to 10 players. The funniest thing is that it is done by creating nice monsters.
With these applications you can understand that gamification can be used in many ways. Trivinet, for example, is a platform that allows you to play the popular Trivial game online. It can be configured collaboratively for students to play in groups. In addition, it can be accessed from the web or from an Android smartphone.
This is a multiplayer platform created in Spain that seeks to teach through the game. In it you can create an online class for students to join and test their knowledge. This tool stands out because it offers a mix of evaluation and communication with parents in order to provide an online environment capable of taking full advantage of new technologies.
It is a very versatile application designed to gamify the classroom through the use of different contents. Teachers can create different educational resources such as infographics, presentations, posters, catalogs and images. Best of all, it is very easy to use.
This is a compilation of interactive games in which users can learn by playing. It offers a multiplayer experience, which means that students can play with other classmates. If you use it you will find a wide variety of interactive games on different topics, either to learn English or even to practice mental calculation.
For those looking for educational innovation, gamification applications like the ones we have listed can be very useful. Many teachers are already using them to make their classrooms more entertaining and make students really motivated when they go to class. It is undoubtedly a way of making learning easier and more exciting, especially for children, who tend to get distracted or bored easily.