Gamification, as I understand it, does not necessarily have to include technology. It is simply the act of incorporating gaming aspects and mechanics into a setting such as a classroom, business or corporation. Through the implementation of gamifying the classroom, students inadvertently gain life-skills such as problem solving, perseverance, collaboration, communication, and a work ethic.
Gamification, not to be confused with game-based learning, is different in a sense that the creators are given the freedom to design the gaming aspects and mechanics of the game. Game-based learning on the other hand has predefined outcomes and balances learning simultaneously with game play. Gamification is a powerful tool where there is no top end to the game (GamifiED OOC, 2014). It allows participants to keep making forward progress even if they’ve achieved an A+ on a letter grading scale. But as Lee Sheldon points out in The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game, finding the right balance between entertainment and education is important to get the best of both worlds (Sheldon, 2011).
The depth and creativity of the gaming dynamics and mechanics can prove to be the captivating factor for gamification success. For instance, displaying a leader board, which creates an additional competitive aspect, can generate student motivation. The use of badges and items also brings a whole new realm to the game. As Michael Matera mentions in the video, creating a tactile badge is so much more effective with certain age groups than say something electronic. Putting a little imagination into the presentation of material, for example the introduction of a new unit, hooks the student audience and helps with student buy in. Gamification also offers an authentic way for students to collaborate. Inadvertently it creates a driving force where students like the challenge provided by assignments and at the same time they feel supported in the assignments (GamifiED, 2014).
GamifiED OOC. (2014). Entering the Realm of the Nobles: Michael Matera. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFG3Vk-MCf8 on July 7, 2014.
Sheldon, L. (2011). The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game. Boston, MA: Course Technology/Cengage Learning.