Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

The Core of Gamification for Education

Gamification for education might be a new term emerged in recent years. It represents the teaching practices that learn from good games. But some great educators probably have implemented the same philosophy in their learning activity design. This week  published 2 articles around this topic worth your reading.

In the first post, he grouped James Gee’s core principles of gamifying education  into two categories: Rules (how you design the lesson), and Play (how you implement the lesson). Learning by doing, risk-taking, agency, being open-ended …, along with the element added by the author – timely and informative feedback – are among other main principles learned from good games.

Salen and Zimmerman created a landmark book called Rules of Play, which is really the go-to manual for game designers.  They distinguished between Rules, or formal structure, of a game, and Play, or the experience of a game caused by the tangible implementation of those rules. I see a similar analogy for education– on one hand we have lesson plans, which are the rule sets for the educational experience.  On the other hand, we have the implementation of those rule sets by teachers in an actual lesson or activity.

learning by doing

In the second post, he discussed  some common classroom practices as a case study, just to emphasize the many ways that they violate gamification principles, and what gamification-friendly solutions might look like.

We like to stimulate your thinking by posting the problems highlighted by him here, please find the possible solutions proposed by him. There is no any game license or technology you need to purchase, it only need a shift in teacher’s learning design. We will say, those teachers know what best teaching practice is are already using these design principles.

Problem 1 : You know, the ones with a list of instructions that you follow step by step, until you get the answer which is either right or wrong.  The worst ones even have blank spaces for you to write in your data. This is mostly a “rules” problem, but many of these labs are so constrained in their rules that they limit the potential for a good experience.

Problem 2 : The experience of a pop, get-ready-at-any-moment, quiz AND  a terrible form of feedback, what’s the problem? A pop-quiz creates an artificial setting to test knowledge, usually separate from the act of doing, and delays feedback until the teacher can grade and return the quizzes.

Problem 3 : All standards basically say “You need to know this knowledge at this point in time in this way. The purpose of a standard is not to give students feedback, it’s to test and rank them. Students are given almost no feedback on that objective until it’s long past and useless for improving learning.

Gamification of education is really not about educational games, not about badges and prizes, is about “implementing best teaching practices.” But these articles are not the period for the “standard answer” for this kind of discussion, it’s more like an open-ended quest for educators. What do you think?


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6 Responses »


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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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