Gaming mechanics have had a role in the classroom for quite some time. Many Millenials hold a special place in their heart for “Oregon Trail,” the classic educational adventure title, and Baby Boomers have their own tales of playing games in school. In-class games and contests have long been used to spur on a bit of friendly competition, in the hopes of getting students engaged in their coursework. And let’s not forget the promise of games as a reward; who can forget trying to finish an in-class assignment early so that you could go to recess five minutes earlier? Yes, gamification is a tried-and-true educational tool.
But now it’s changing. With the influx of tablets and computers into the classroom, education is becoming increasingly digital. This new approach to gamification not only aids in curriculum retention and serves as an incentive for students, but also prepares them for future success. By familiarizing children with computers and tablets at an early age – in other words, enabling children to learn the “language” of the modern work environment – the new “Classroom 2.0” is giving children the tools and knowledge they need to succeed. As it turns out, gamification is no mere game.
Gamification Engages Students
The fundamental idea that drives gamification adoption is that it engages students, and that this engagement leads to better learning outcomes. It’s easy to see why and how this idea took root; games are fun and rewarding, so it stands to reason that if you take gaming mechanics and apply them to a task that might otherwise be mundane or burdensome, you can provide an individual some added incentive to take part. Put simply, gamification makes school fun. Students are able to earn rewards, compete head-to-head with other classmates, and work in teams. Through gamification, teachers can take passive, uninterested students and transform them into active and participatory students.
What’s interesting about gamification in 2015 is not that it exists – we’ve already shown that it’s been around for some time – but the form that it is now taking. Today’s laptops, convertible tablets, and traditional tablets make gaming in the classroom a breeze. Thanks to top mobile devices processors, mobile games themselves are more rich in content, graphics, and gameplay that would have seemed possible when “Oregon Trail” was considered the gold standard for educational video games. And from a pragmatic point of view, gamification management is becoming easier than ever for teachers, which makes it more feasible for them to integrate gaming into the curriculum. Just as the computer transformed the classroom in the 1990s, the tablet and laptop are doing the same in the 2010s.
Gamification Sets Up Future Success
Mobile apps and games (along with tablets and laptop computers) help set up students for future success in two key ways:
- It familiarizes children with computers and operating systems at an early age, both of which are key elements in nearly every modern working environment; and
- It directly prepares them for gamification in the workplace, which is becoming ever more rampant.
Gamification is not the sole domain of the classroom. Increasingly, businesses are adopting gaming mechanics to improve productivity, boost employee morale, foster team building, and drive revenue growth. Thus, it only makes sense that children who grow up in a gamification environment will find such mechanics second nature when they transition into the professional world.
Gamification Simply Works
There are numerous studies indicating that gamification can and does work. It is fairly well accepted that gamification provides an effective means of engaging and motivating individuals towards a certain goal. Combine these mechanics with today’s modern digital tools, and you have a classroom that is transformed. Though the goals may be the same – learning retention and an understanding of key concepts – teachers have more ways than ever of achieving these goals. The end result of this fusion of technology and methodology? Student 2.0 and the modern, digital classroom.