The critical link between scholastic esports and career pathways education

When I first approached my administration back in August 2021 about implementing a scholastic esports program at school, I had imagined facing significant opposition to the idea, and, in preparation, had rehearsed my talking points and done my research in order to be persuasive.  I was prepared to talk about the connections to STEM learning, the opportunity to engage otherwise disengaged students, the inclusive nature of gaming, the research behind gamification and game-based learning, and more. 

None of that was necessary, however, as my school principal was extremely supportive in my effort to implement scholastic esports at the school and, more importantly, to use the program to teach students transferable skills while simultaneously encouraging them to explore related career pathways.

I began my esports program with a focus on social-emotional well-being using resources from NASEF to structure initial lessons.  Before jumping into the competitive aspects of esports and gaming, we spent three weeks discussing the importance of positive mental health and the negative effects associated with some online gaming cultures.  This included discussions of toxicity and online “trash talk” of opponents, as well as the impact on one’s emotional well-being and overall confidence as a result of being repeatedly subjected to such toxicity. …Read More

Gamification tools that increase student engagement

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. …Read More

Will gamification replace paper tests?

Nearly everyone remembers the stress of taking a test in school. In-class exams have the power to make even the most dedicated of students quake with fear, not to mention the damage they can do to the egos of struggling learners. For some students, the stress causes their minds to go blank, while others experience physical symptoms like headaches and nausea.

In fact, around 40 percent of students regularly report experiencing moderate to severe anxiety over tests. Unfortunately, that stress isn’t limited to students in higher grades. Even elementary school students can struggle with fear and performance anxiety on standardized tests. No surprise, then, that teachers and schools are increasingly rethinking their assessment methods, seeking ways to evaluate student performance without causing undue stress.

Fortunately, there are other methods of assessing students–methods that greatly reduce anxiety levels while simultaneously improving performance. One method getting a lot of attention is gamification, which involves incorporating elements of game playing, such as establishing ground rules, scorekeeping, and engaging in friendly competition with other students. Recent studies have shown that gamification in education can increase assessment scores by nearly 15 percent.…Read More

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