Monday, July 14, 2014

"Gamification" I Like the Sound of That and So Will Students

Walk into many high school classrooms a few minutes before class starts and what will you see? A large number of students will be on their cell phones, iPads, etc. and many of those will be playing games. So if they like playing games (and who doesn't?), then shouldn't we be figuring out how to take advantage of this in the learning process? Like making a worksheet into a "playsheet" perhaps. In her article "Beyond the Worksheet: Playsheets, GBL, and Gamification" (I love that term), Educational Technology Specialist Alice Keeler discusses how using electronic devices to play learning games in class has become a hot topic in education. 

She defines the following terms as "GBL [Game Based Learning] is when students play games to learn content. Gamification is the application of game based elements to non-game situations."

Keller also goes on to discuss the use of playsheets instead of worksheets; it's a thought-provoking argument that may be useful in your classroom this fall. Here are 5 benefits of using playsheets from the article.

5 Benefits to Using Playsheets in the Classroom

Most math games created for the tablet devices are playsheets. The gaming elements are superfluous to the learning objective -- for example, shooting space aliens when answering math facts correctly. Playsheets are not bad. While they may be described as chocolate-covered broccoli, students do enjoy playing playsheets.
Here are five benefits to using playsheets in the classroom.
  1. Engagement: Students are engaged in their learning. The gaming elements draw students in and motivate them to continue practicing. You can find students voluntarily practicing playsheets, even when they are not assigned.

  2. Feedback: Digital playsheets have the advantage of giving students immediate feedback. This alone is an advantage over traditional worksheets. Students can correct their mistakes or ask for help before they have practiced incorrectly too many times. They don't have to wait for the teacher to grade their work to know that they're doing a good job, because the work is corrected after every question. Success breeds success. As a student is successful, he or she will continue to practice.

  3. Progress: Typically, a playsheet allows students to know what their score is as they play the game. A progress bar, adding stars, or a tally of the number of correct answers can help students feel that their efforts are resulting in positive progress. They're able to set goals to help push themselves beyond what they would normally strive for.

  4. Celebrate Success: Playsheets often have elements that encourage students and help them feel successful. This motivates them to continue playing. Sound effects can help the student know he or she is on the right or wrong track. Words or stars can appear, helping the student to feel as if his or her efforts are being celebrated. When a student reaches a certain level, it becomes something that we as teachers can celebrate with the child. Reaching a short-term goal is something to get excited about.

  5. Self Grading: Digital playsheets can free up teachers' time. They spend less time grading worksheets and reviewing answers with their class. Instead, they have more time to engage with students and design activities that continue to stimulate and challenge. This allows for a shift in what is possible in the classroom.

Image from Ninja Math app.
 Credit: Thinking Garden
Playsheets are not a substitute for teachers. While playsheets can be a part of the learning environment the teacher creates, they should not be the entire educational experience. Using playsheets in place of paper worksheets has tremendous benefits, but this format can never replace engaging activities, projects, and discussions. As with all things, moderation is the key.

2 comments:

Rebecca Abrams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca Abrams said...

If you teach a student through playsheets they can improve their creative skills and they can perform well in their education. Excellent blog post. For writing related help visit custom essay writing service, you can get better help.