Play to learn: ideas to gamify your classroom

Published: March 17, 2016

Gamification is based on the idea of applying game elements to non game contexts. Kids love playing games, so it creates amazing opportunities to educate them in a gamified way. Integrating elements of gamification into teaching can help to increase engagement and to improve learning outcomes. Here are some ideas for incorporating elements of gamification into the classroom.

Ways to use gamification in the classroom

Use technologies

Although gamification does not require you to use technologies, you can benefit from a number of online resources to gamify your classroom. For example, there are many online resources for learning languages, practising maths or spelling in a gamified way. Technologies not only allow students to learn but they can also help develop other useful skills like critical thinking or problem solving.

Online educational games

One of the easiest ways to gamify your classroom is finding some kid safe sites that can be used to allow students play educational games as part of the lesson or as a reward for doing a good job in something.

Create a class-wide achievements system

Work together with students to develop the short and long-term goals that will be achieved through gamification. Working on this as a team can encourage collaborative work and students will feel more motivated to perform well because they were involved in the decision making.

Provide badges and rewards

Providing badges and rewards can be very effective in celebrating certain student achievements. This is expected to encourage students perform even better next time. What is more, it can be a great tool for raising student confidence.

Share the progress

Encourage students by sharing any achievements of their peers. Students are more likely to try harder and achieve better results when they feel some competition. The best thing is that they are learning while being involved in fun activities.

Overall, incorporating some elements of gamification into the classroom can help make learning more engaging as well as it can teach students practical skills, encourage collaboration and creativity.

Top 5 Do’s & Don’ts of Teaching

Published: February 2, 2016

Teaching requires a great amount of patience, mindfulness, compassion and commitment. It is not an easy job as many would assume. Teachers usually have to play many roles and show many faces to enhance the student learning experience.
With that in mind, we have done some research on the top do’s and don’ts of teaching in the classroom, which we hope new teachers will find helpful.

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Imagine a classroom, seemingly ordinary, where every student is deeply engaged, their eyes alight with curiosity. This isn’t a scene from an idealistic movie; it’s the reality created by a teacher who understands the subtle art of influencing young minds. This teacher knows that in the world of education, akin to Malcolm Gladwell’s concept of the ‘tipping point’, small things can make a big difference.

 1. Do: Connect Beyond the Curriculum In a small town, there was a teacher who found a way to reach a disinterested student by talking about skateboarding, a shared passion. This simple connection transformed the student’s attitude towards learning. Like the ‘stickiness factor’ in Gladwell’s theories, personal connections make ideas and lessons more engaging and memorable. Teachers who find common ground with their students create an environment where learning extends beyond textbooks.

 2. Don’t: Underestimate the Power of Expectations Consider the ‘Pygmalion Effect’ – a psychological phenomenon where higher expectations lead to an increase in performance. A study once showed that students, randomly selected but touted as ‘likely to succeed’, actually performed better. This wasn’t due to their inherent abilities but the changed expectations of their teachers. In teaching, the expectations set can either be a barrier or a catalyst for student growth.

 3. Do: Embrace the Mavericks There was once a student who constantly challenged conventional methods. Instead of suppressing this unconventional thinker, a perceptive teacher encouraged this curiosity. This encouragement led the student to excel in a project, inspiring peers to think differently. Like Gladwell’s ‘law of the few’, a teacher’s support for the mavericks can create a ripple effect, fostering a culture of innovation and critical thinking in the classroom.

 4. Don’t: Neglect the Small Moments Gladwell’s concept of ‘thin slicing’ – making quick judgments – is often seen in teaching. A teacher’s spontaneous decision to praise a student’s work can boost confidence significantly. These small moments, though seemingly insignificant, can be pivotal in a student’s academic journey. Teachers need to be mindful of these interactions, as they hold the power to change a student’s perception of learning and self-worth.

 5. Do: Cultivate a Culture of Curiosity A creative teacher once turned a rigid lesson plan into a journey of discovery, allowing students to explore topics beyond the syllabus. This approach resulted in heightened student engagement and deeper understanding.

Teachers who encourage exploration understand the ‘law of the few’; they act as connectors, mavens, and salesmen, spreading the virus of curiosity among their students.

In the world of teaching, just as in the dynamics of social change that Gladwell describes, the smallest actions can be the tipping points.

Whether it’s through creating personal connections, setting high expectations, encouraging unconventional thinking, paying attention to the little things, or fostering curiosity, teachers have numerous opportunities to make a significant impact. Just like a carefully placed domino can set off an entire chain, a teacher’s actions, no matter how small, can set the course for a student’s future.

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