3 ways gamification engages students

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of K-12 and college students have transitioned to online learning. However, not all teachers have received the adequate resources and training needed to teach remotely.

One of the major issues teachers are struggling with is effectively engaging students. In a study of 554 teachers in the San Antonio area, 60 percent said that students turned in assignments less frequently during distance learning, and 65 percent believed that there were significantly fewer lessons that grabbed the attention of students. Because online learning cannot easily foster the social and emotional connections that in-person learning does, students have a more difficult time staying motivated in classes.

Gamification, defined as using game-like elements in non-game contexts, can help motivate online learners and solve this issue. In the context of education, gamification elements typically include digital badges, leaderboards, progress bars, and more. Integrating these elements within an online learning environment can provide students with an intriguing, immersive experience.…Read More

I gamified my classroom and students are soaring

An average child today will have played 10,000 hours of video games before the age of 21. If playing games is part of our culture, even part of our identities, then it stands to reason that students can be highly motivated by game-based learning opportunities. So what if we make classrooms the game?

Gamification means using game-design principles such as cooperation, competition, character development, and point scoring in a non-gaming context. In the classroom, it can be as straightforward as transforming learning activities into games or a more subtle application of game-design principles to learning tasks.

Gamifying your classroom can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it. Some teachers choose to create their own game for their classroom in order to customize features including backstory, characters, rules, and objectives. At the same time, there are many user-friendly apps that teachers use to simplify those features.…Read More

Report: Gamifying computer science is an easy place to start

With efforts to expand computer science education growing across the nation, some schools still grapple with a big problem: they don’t have the staff or space to accommodate a computer science course.

In fact, though interest in computer science education, and access to it, is growing, a recent report found that not enough students are taking high-quality computer science classes at the high school and university levels.

The report found that just half of U.S. states actually count computer science as a math or science credit rather than an elective, and 29 states lack computer science teacher certification programs.…Read More

Stretch student collaboration skills with Breakout EDU

There is a new platform for immersive learning games that’s taking classrooms across the world by storm. Based on the same principles as interactive Escape The Room digital games — which challenge players to use their surroundings to escape a prison-like scenario — Breakout EDU is a collaborative learning experience that enhances critical thinking and creativity while fostering a growth mindset in students.

There are two types of games available for teachers to run in their classrooms: the physical games (which are the main games) use the Breakout EDU box (or any box with a hasp that can be locked) with a set of locks, and the digital games which only need internet-connected devices.

Gameplay revolves around a Breakout EDU box that has been locked with multiple and different locks including directional locks, word locks, and number locks. After listening to a game scenario read by the teacher, students must work together to find and use clues to solve puzzles that reveal the various lock combinations before time expires (usually 45 minutes). Teachers can either purchase the Breakout EDU kit, which includes a plastic or wooden box and a set of locks, or the individual pieces of the kit can be ordered from Amazon directly. Either way, it takes about $100 to get started with the physical games; the digital games are free.…Read More

5 ways to gamify writing in the classroom

Believe it or not, writing is a natural fit for gamification techniques

You’ve surely noticed how your class gets engaged as soon as you introduce a game into the teaching process. The students get competitive, but that’s a healthy competition you want to nurture.

Have you ever thought about teaching writing through games? It’s a great strategy that helps students overcome the lack of motivation they have regarding writing assignments. Robert Monroe, a writer for EduGeeksClub and a father of a 10-year-old, explains how he made writing attractive for his son: “I realized he was bored whenever he had to write something for school. I know how fun writing can be, so I found a way to turn it into a game. I set up a private online diary and gave him brief prompts every day. He received points for each ‘level’ he passed and a prize for every big achievement. I noticed great improvements in his grammar and style in a really short period of time.”

Needless to say, you’ll need an effective strategy that will help you introduce writing games in the classroom. Read on; we have the tips you need.…Read More

3 ways to revamp lessons for the interactive learner

To connect with today’s interactive learner, look to these innovative strategies

Today’s students are a uniquely interactive group. Most of the 80 million Americans who are part of the millennial generation—a group that comprises the lion’s share of today’s student population—can’t remember a time when they didn’t have instant access to the internet.  Most of them grew up playing video games, and ever since they can remember, they’ve been in constant contact with friends via social media platforms and text messages. A growing number of today’s instructors also fall into this group.

Educators who want to reach students who favor interactive communication know that integrating digital tools into their lesson plans can be an effective strategy, and many have incorporated technology tools into the classroom in one way or another. But to make a real difference, educators have to integrate technology in a meaningful way. It’s not sufficient to just use social media platforms as an alternate communication venue or post schedules on a class Facebook page

So how can educators use technology in a more meaningful way? Here are three methods educators are successfully using to connect with a new generation of students in the classroom.…Read More

New professional development focuses on engagement through gaming

New online professional development course focuses on increasing student achievement through engagement with game-based learning

The ever-increasing omnipresence of digital media in student’s lives can be challenging for teachers as they compete for kid’s attention in and out of the classroom. With this in mind, Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL) and DimensionU have teamed up to create a robust Online Professional Development course that supports teachers’ instruction in mathematics and language arts through gamification, quickly and easily.

Included for K-12 educators who enroll in the course by February 15, 2016, is a free DimensionU Class License (for up to 30 students), through the remainder of this school year.

The online professional development course focuses on helping teachers incorporate educational video games and applying game-based learning techniques in the classroom. The DimensionU portfolio of educational games creates high student engagement and offers a solid foundation with demonstrated improvement in students’ achievement results. In regards to the online course, TKL’s instructional methodology, guarantees teachers immediate implementation in the classroom, individualized support and well structured, easy-to-use examples for applying the newly acquired techniques.…Read More

Microsoft replacing MinecraftEDU with new education edition

A new education experience is coming to Minecraft

Starting this summer, classrooms hooked on MinecraftEDU will be given the option of migrating to a new education-focused Minecraft title, recently announced by Microsoft who has acquired the rights to MinecraftEDU from Teacher Gaming, a Finnish company.

The rebranded title, called Minecraft: Education Edition, will launch as a free trial this summer, and all MinecraftEDU subscribers will receive a yearlong subscription to the new game (they can also continue to use MinecraftEDU). In the meantime, Microsoft is reworking and expanding the new education edition especially for classrooms. In a statement, Microsoft alluded to working on a “transition plan” with Teacher Gaming, but said that further details — including if and when MinecraftEDU would be absorbed into the new title — would be worked out in the coming months.

Microsoft is also encouraging more involvement in its online community at education.minecraft.net, where they hope to connect educators interested in the game with relevant lesson plans, a place to provide feedback, and even a Minecraft Mentors page that “allows educators experienced in Minecraft to connect with those interested in trying it for the first time,” according to a recent online announcement.…Read More

3 ways teachers can make learning more interactive

From gamification to crowdsourcing, improve learning with these interactive elements

interactive-classroomToday’s students are a uniquely interactive group. Most of the 80 million Americans who are part of the millennial generation—a group that comprises the lion’s share of today’s student population—can’t remember a time when they didn’t have instant access to the internet.  Most of them grew up playing video games, and ever since they can remember, they’ve been in constant contact with friends via social media platforms and text messages. A growing number of today’s instructors also fall into this group.

Educators who want to reach students who favor interactive communication know that integrating digital tools into their lesson plans can be an effective strategy, and many have incorporated technology tools into the classroom in one way or another. But to make a real difference, educators have to integrate technology in a meaningful way. It’s not sufficient to just use social media platforms as an alternate communication venue or post schedules on a class Facebook page.

So how can educators use technology in a more meaningful way? Here are three methods educators are successfully using to connect with a new generation of students in the classroom.…Read More

My top 6 gaming resources for STEM teaching

One teacher shares her favorite games for chemistry, biology, and more, plus resources to help teachers

stem-gamingMotivating students and keeping students actively engaged in lessons is becoming frequently more challenging for even the most creative teachers. At times it can seem we’re competing with smartphones and video games for students’ undivided attention. Perhaps the best strategy is to embrace the technology and harness it for learning.

Using games to teach, and adding gamification principles to the classroom, can make learning meaningful, engaging, and fun for even the most reluctant learners. I use games in my classroom in a few ways. I use them to actively teach content, to make lessons more engaging, and as project-based learning platforms for immersive learning. Some of the games are digital, and others are played as board games, or in a variety of other formats.

My favorite lesson planning resources are provided by The Institute of Play and 3D Game Labs.…Read More