As an educator, I am constantly exploring new methods of teaching and learning. One area that recently caught my interest was Gamification. Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users’ self contributions. In a nutshell, teachers can turn their class into a game by building their current content standards around leaderboards, avatars, and XP (Experience Points) rather than letter grades.
“A good game is a challenge that you care about.”
As a fifth year educator in an urban school district, I found that many of my students struggled with personal motivation. In an attempt to overcome this challenge, I started to explore game-based learning websites. I found that many websites were not tailored to education, provided limited customization and were not mobile friendly. They also required teachers and students to sign up and create a propriety user account on their system (teachers and students already have enough usernames and passwords!). A number of teachers were even trying to implement a “gamified” classroom using generic tools such as Microsoft Excel.
My interest in programming and education collided. I partnered with David Knapp, Director of Technology at Loveland City School District to create a teacher and student friendly gamification platform. Our goal was to provide teachers and students with an extremely simple, easy to use platform that would improve student motivation and engagement.
We started by making sure that we built our platform around Google Apps for Education (GAFE). Many school districts have already signed up with GAFE. If students already have a Google account then they will automatically be able to login to our website. We integrated our platform with Credly to allow teachers to create high quality, universal badges that could be used in a variety of ways.
We launched our website (Gamified.com) in the spring of 2014. We currently have over 30 school districts using our free gamification platform. Through the use of experience points, badges, avatars, and leaderboards, Gamified creates an engaging learning experience that motivates students in the classroom. For more information, please head on over to Gamified.com.