Success Stories in K - 12 Education
Quest to Learn
One school in the USA has taken gamification to a whole new level. GCO's article, The Quest to Learn: The Model for Gamifying Education, explains how the Quest to Learn school is committed to bridging the gap between traditional and Web 2.0 competencies, by gamifying the curriculum. Game developers, Teachers and Curriculum Specialists employ the connectivist theory of gamification, to develop programs that are highly engaging for todays hypertexting students. The curriculum is designed using the fundamentals of gamification (motivation, engagement and satisfaction) and the design principles of games, to support 21st Century competencies:
- creative problem solving
- ethical citizenship
- critical thinking
In this case study, the design for learning characterises the Social Constructivist Theory of education, allowing students to examine and clarify their understanding through discussion and collaboration (refer to Theories of Gamficiation). The Quest to Learn curriculum incorporates the three categories of gamification: dynamics, mechanics and components to successfully engage and challenge student learning. The success of this teaching pedagogy can be measured by student performance results in English and Maths, which increased by 15% in 2011 to 2012.
Although Quest to Learn is a unique school, game elements can be easily adapted to any curriculum. A dice game may become a platform to teach statistics and graphing, and a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire style game a tool for reviewing topics. Look for more ideas on how to gamify your curriculum by viewing our Resources page.
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Kate Fanelli's Mathland
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver cc
The 2012 article by Peter Ross in Gamification In the Classroom: How (and Why) One Teacher Did It explains how one teacher managed to turn around 'at risk' teens to successfully complete Maths courses by introducing gamification into her classroom.
Recognising that current pedagogy didn't align with her students learning style (many of whom were gamers) Fanelli focused her teaching methods on the following gaming elements - leveling up, avatars and badges to create Mathland.
Each level of Mathland contains three components:
- a lesson with instructions, necessary information, and mandatory exercises
- a practice problem section
- a mastery test completed without help
Gamification in this sense:
- maintains students' attention as they require learned information to master each level
- means that learning is relevant and necessary in order to level up
- increases student confidence through instructional and practice sessions before attempting to master the level, and
- awards badges at the completion of the level, giving students a sense of satisfaction and pride.
By gamifying her classroom, Fanelli broke the students' cycle of work avoidance, absenteeism, and disruptive behaviour.
While the article addresses challenges associated with implementing gamification in the classroom, it is clear that the rewards that transpired as a result far outweighed any hurdles. It is encouraging to see that gamification, when correctly implemented, can significantly influence students' responsiveness to learning.
You'll find further information on gamifying education on our Blog or alternatively, refer to our Getting Started with Gamification to learn more.
Details of sources cited can be found on the References page.