The new trendy concept in the world of education in 2015 has undoubtedly been gamification. Gamification is when elements of game playing are embeded in the process of learning.
In his book Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to do Extraordinary Things, Brian Burke tells us how, in order to be successful, gamification has to engage people to develop skills, solve problems and be motivated.
The tremendous potential of gamified applications in education can drive innovation in schools, changing behaviours to reinforce learning. It has to touch students emotionally, recognizing their achievements along the way.
Gamification is about connecting people, not collecting points and badges, and it´s about motivation, not about entertainment.
A good example of a well structured gamified platform is the Nike + app, letting customers take their workouts to the next level and motivating them to achieve their goals and organizational objectives by using positive feedback and rich design.
In language learning, a well planned gamified environment is in the app Duolingo. With Duolingo students can earn points (or hearts) for correct answers racing against the clock and levelling up. In my Ab initio classroom at the International School of Bremen, students have been using Duolingo in order to learn the basics in Spanish with success.
If we gamify our classroom, we will make things interesting and fun, making progress visible. By simply changing the context in which the activities are presented, teachers transform the act of working into a more enjoyable experience. We can even make students create their own games, giving them voice and choice. This can be a tremendous asset for student confidence, giving teachers room for collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking in the classroom.
Game mechanics will increasingly be used in the world of education in the years to come. More apps, virtual career coaches and motivational avatars will definitely be part of the process of learning.
Creativity in teaching has never looked so good.