Gamification offers many benefits for teachers and students alike--here's how to integrate these tools into your instruction.

Gamification tools that increase student engagement

Gamification offers many benefits for teachers and students alike--here's how to integrate these tools into your instruction

Who out there doesn’t enjoy some form of game? Whether it be watching or playing a sport, a card game, a board game, or video games, most people would say they at least enjoy one.

Games are part of many people’s lives–so why not use them to benefit students when teaching?

From a 5th grade teacher lens, it is evident that students are more likely to engage in an educational activity when it is “gamified,” and even more so when it is gamified with technology.

There are a variety of reading and math apps and websites that cater to gamification, and even provide the opportunity for differentiation.

Let’s start off with reading apps and websites. Learning A-Z’s Raz Kids, Dreamscapes, and Prodigy English are all free websites/apps that cater to gamification as they encourage practicing reading skills. IXL language arts also
incorporates gamification, but it is a paid subscription (free 30-day trial).

Learning A-Z provides a variety of genre books at different levels. One of its
features is that the books have an audio feature–books are read out loud while the system highlights the word being read, which can help build students’ fluency skills.

Another feature is that the book offers a 10-question comprehensive quiz at the end, which can help indicate if the student grasped the story’s vocabulary and content. The gamification aspect comes in when students receive stars for reading the book, listening to the book, and taking the quiz. The reader then uses the stars to add more additions to their robot user.

Dreamscapes and Prodigy English have a video game theme. Students roam around the world of their choice and partake in battles or ways to earn more points to advance in the game. The battles occur when the student reads a short passage and answer questions about the text, general grammar questions, and figurative language questions.

Differentiation takes place in both games. Dreamscapes allows the student to select their age, upon which questions in the battles are based. Prodigy offers even more specific differentiation by allowing the teacher to hand pick certain topics to assign to all or certain students.

Learning A-Z, Dreamscapes, and Prodigy English are a few resources that can increase student engagement through technology gamification.

Prodigy Math, Math Playground, Pet Bingo, Sushi Monster, and IXL math are some math apps and websites that cater to a variety of math levels and provide differentiation as well in the gamification world.

Prodigy Math has the same concept and options as Prodigy English, but, as its name implies, offers math content instead. Math Playground is a website that caters to all elementary grade levels and offers specific topics within each grade. A fun feature
students like about Prodigy and Math Playground is that students can play each other, which can create a buy-in for students.

Another feature in Prodigy Math (English as well) is that the teacher can host a contest where students compete in battles to correctly answer the most battle questions in a set amount of time. Pet Bingo and Sushi Monster are free apps that students select addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division and answer a set of questions that range in difficulty.

In Pet Bingo, once the student selects the computation, then they select their
level of difficulty. In both games, students receive points for correctly-answered problems. IXL math, like language arts, is a paid subscription (free 30-day trial). The
teacher hand selects certain topics to assign to all students or to specific students. If the student answers the question incorrectly, the system walks them through how to do it correctly. The teacher can see what question each student is answering (in real time or past questions). As far as the gamification piece, students receive stars for the number of questions they answer correctly, along with stars for other achievements. Students use the stars to reveal or purchase animals that are showcased on a chart.

There are a variety of resources that can help gamify one’s math activities. In this ever-changing world, students can be provided the opportunity to learn through gamification, which in turn keeps them engaged and helps them enjoy learning.

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