Poll – how many of you have heard of gamification? Could you define it? Please turn to your neighbor and explain the difference?
a system with rules, some sort of challenge, feedback of some sort, interaction, and fun. An emotional response is part of many definitions of a game as well – players get caught up in the game.
Aesthetics may not be so much part of teachers’ use of games, but it can be
Why has this become so popular? One reason is demographic – today’s digital natives aren’t patient people. We can say that they should learn by studying hard, and that’s true. We want to encourage intrinsic motivation to learn. But we know that engagement is a critical factor in learning, and engagement can encourage intrinsic motivation to emerge. By adding game elements – gamifying lessons – we can tap into our learners’ way of being in the world. And it’s not that hard to do. It’s being done in business routinely – frequent flyer programs, bank rewards cards, and more
Gamification.org suggests 24 game mechanics, several of which teachers may already incorporate or could relatively easily add to their lessons
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. Game theory calls those who are greatly motivated by achievement relative to others “Achievers” or “Killers.” Both need to know that they’re better than others, but the latter (“Killers”) want to have more power than others or power over others. Good teachers try to channel this desire for control into helping others. Sometimes it works. Community Collaboration – working together to solve a problem or do a task. We call it “group work” in teaching. In game theory, “Socializers” are especially motivated by this. Women are more likely to be socializers and motivated by collaboration than young men, particularly “Achievers” and “Killers.”
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. Loss Aversion – not getting a reward, but avoiding punishment. Grading is often how teachers implement this. Behavioral Momentum – the tendency of people who are doing something to keep doing it. This works in tandem with what SCVNGR calls Fun Once, Fun Always – activities that remain enjoyable, even with repetition. Classroom routines would fall into this category.
If you don’t do it already… 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 players/learners. 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!
If you don’t do it already…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. Ownership – feeling that you control something. Having learners publish their work to a broader audience can give this sense, as can giving learners more autonomy in choosing topics and tasks in the classroom.
Blissful Productivity – the idea that people like working hard and feeling productive. It’s not work for its own sake, but the sense of productivity that makes this powerful. Task-based learning often exemplifies this. Discovery/Exploration – people like certain kinds of surprises. Some learners are especially motivated by discovery. Game theory calls these people “explorers.” Epic Meaning – the sense of accomplishing something big, like saving a world. Language teachers can approach this by having learners do projects that go outside the classroom and that have a large external audience. Quests/Challenges – overcoming obstacles, either alone or with a team. Project- and task-based learning can use this. It’s another way of visualizing progress. Virality – a game or task that works better with many people. Project-based learning is often characterized by team work.
Highlighting the transition words in a reading: Turn it into a game – teamwork, challenge, points, achievement (all correct) Doing a presentation about a favorite vacation: Ownership, especially with own pictures; epic meaning if shared on slideshare; points with a rubric; possibly a team effort; progression if learners see that their presentations are getting longer over time or the task is broken into steps
Gamify to meet learner needs, expectations; motivate because everyone likes games of some sort Have game thinking and you can gamify just about anything
Gamification in ELT Healey
Gamification: A Wayto Hook Digital Natives Deborah Healey American English Institute/Dept. of Linguistics University of Oregon http://www.deborahhealey.com