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Gamification and game-based learning

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June 5, 2018

A lot has recently been said about gamifying the classroom. To some people it sounds like a crazy idea, how can you learn from playing games? But it is true that kids today can spend hours playing video games, but 30 minutes of homework is too much. They will spend every free moment playing some game on their phone, but can never find time to work. Whenever I talk to kids playing games, I am surprised by the details they can remember and the strategies they come up with.

One of my favourite quotes by Catlin Tucker is, “Whatever students enjoy, I will hijack for my class.” And that is what gamification is about. Taking the principals of online/video games and applying it to the classroom. Gamification is more of a classroom management tool and culture, than an actual activity. For example, in games, you always have more than one life. If you do something wrong, you can start again and learn from your mistake. On the other hand doing something right gets you a badge or a new life or points that you can exchange. Each person/player advance at their own pace and decide for themselves what route they want to take.

Have a look at Duolingo for an example of how gaming can be used to encourage learning.

On the other hand, game-based learning makes use of actual games to teach a concept. These can be games that are created especially for education, or adaptations of existing games. Tomorrow I will give some feedback on my experience of game-based learning. You can also read some more about game-based learning here.

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