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Getting Started with Gamification Tip: Make it Sustainable

Gamification Badge

If you want to get started using Gamification in the classroom there are so many things you can try. Giving students choice, using badges to recognize student accomplishments, providing a narrative or theme to assignments and units are a few ways to get started.

Start Small

It is easy to get overwhelmed. Whatever you do you need to make sure it is sustainable for the entire school year. Using gamification techniques can increase student motivation but the opposite will happen if you do not sustain the gamification elements. Research shows you can not stop giving rewards once you start giving them. You need to be able to be consistent and persistent in offering the choices, badges and narratives. If you want to offer badges, have no more than 5 at any time that students can earn. The record keeping and awarding of badges can become too much data to track and you might want to give up.

Figure Out Systems

If you are just getting started with gamification or new elements of gamification expect to learn through failure (another key gamification technique). It will take some time to figure out best practices. I find that spreadsheets and Google Forms are really helpful for me in my gamification endeavors but you will need to find what works for you. Starting small gives you time to figure out workflows and what the kids respond to.

Slowly Expand

Once you are feeling comfortable with a particular gamification technique and have useable workflows try expanding what you are currently doing or adding additional gamification techniques. One thing we learn from playing games is that other than having a goal there are no required elements to a game. Some games have points, others do not. Some games have timers, others do not. Some games have competition, others do not. How you design gamification into your class does not have to be any particular way. Even adding one small gamification technique can make class more fun and more motivating for students.

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