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Gamify your classroom and empower students

By Team ISTE
December 1, 2015
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Games are a popular — and effective — classroom tool. Educators can use them to immerse kids in content, assess learning and modify behavior. They can teach life skills, such as collaboration and team building, and encourage students to be competitive but fair.

You can use gaming platforms in different ways, says Michele Haiken, who will discuss games and gamification in her Dec. 2 ISTE webinar, “Get Your Game On: Boost Content Area Learning with Gamification.”

Haiken likes to use Classcraft Games in her middle school classrooms because the free role-playing game gives students the opportunity to work in teams and also teaches real-world consequences.

Adding gamification to the classroom

The best way to get started, Haiken says, is to jump right in and explore one of the many game and gamification sites available. Haiken suggests trying one of her favorites.

Quizzing tools. Most students love playing classroom “Jeopardy.” Kahoot! and Quizizz make testing and studying fun by turning these activities into games. Students can use laptops, tablets or phones to test their knowledge or review material.

Badges. Stickers have gone high tech with Smithsonian Quests (soon to be Smithsonian Learning Lab) and Khan Academy. Students earn badges as they level up their learning. The Smithsonian offers badges for an array of activities. Khan Academy partners with academic and cultural institutions to offer content on topics ranging from computer programming to art history. Students earn badges as they master the material.

Minecraft. Almost every school-aged person is enamored with Minecraft these days, so why not invite Minecraft into your classroom? During her webinar, Haiken will discuss ways to implement in your classroom.

Support system

If you aren’t ready to dive right in to gamification platforms, Haiken suggests learning from peers who are already using games and gamification in their classrooms. The ISTE Games and Gamification Network offers rich conversations and resources for educators looking for tips and advice.

“The one thing I found in successfully implementing games is the support system of teachers through social media, sharing what’s working and what’s not,” Haiken says.

Haiken’s webinar will offer something for everyone, from those who have never used games and gamification in the classroom to those who have some experience but are looking for new ideas.

Expect to learn about:

  • The many gamification resources available.
  • How to gamify one lesson or an entire classroom.
  • Gamification techniques for veterans.

Gamification offers a wide array of platforms to enhance the learning environment for both students and teachers. It’s just a matter of getting started and then personalizing those options for your classroom.

ISTE members can watch the free webinar Get Your Game On: Boost Content Area Learning with Gamification” now. Not an ISTE member? Join today!