New Technologies 325
March 10, 2015 Game On! The Potential for Gamification in Education
Educators across the country, from graduate schools to middle schools, are increasingly focusing on gaming methodology to turn learning into an interactive experience.
Gamification uses game design elements in nongame contexts, but it should not be confused with a traditional game of any kind. More than other disruptive technologies, gamification has the potential to change content delivery systems in the classroom and create truly meaningful experiences for students.
Nearly every school is challenged to motivate students and strengthen student engagement. Successful student engagement is the foundation for learning and includes the learning process, the subject matter, the purpose of study, and additional social and cultural factors.
Gamification attempts to harness the motivational power of games and apply it to real-world problems. Game players regularly exhibit persistence, risk-taking, attention to detail, and problem-solving, all behaviors that ideally would be regularly demonstrated in school (Lee 7).
Game-like components that track activities such as custom avatars, badges, and other rewards keep students motivated and task-oriented. Presentation can change behavior in many settings. Researchers at Thefuntheory.com studied whether more people would choose climbing stairs over taking an escalator if taking the stairs were more fun. When stairs were covered to look and sound like piano keys, 66% more people than normal took the stairs, proving that fun can positively impact behavior (The Fun Theory 1).
Several studies on instructional games revealed that the greatest benefits were obtained when users could target specific content and knew the objectives. Instructional games can provide measureable learning for many different types of learners. Making sure that students knew how to play the game was often more…