Week 5 – Gamification and Game-Based Learning


Welcome to our OER! Our topic is looking at Gamification and Game Based Learning through the lens of K-12 Education in BC. Our OER is hosted on a Google Site and we will explore topics such as:

  • The difference between gamification and game based learning
  • The advantages of gamification and game based learning
  • The landscape of the video game and educational game market
  • Resources you can use to implement gamification and game based learning in your classrooms

Throughout the week, please explore and read through the different tabs on our OER and complete the following activities:

  1. Contribute to the Padlet for games and applications for game based learning in the game-based learning tab. Note: You are required to sign up / log in to your Padlet account to view and join the discussion
  2. Complete an interactive quiz at the end of the gamification section
  3. Using our discussion questions as a guide to discuss gamification and game based learning in the comments section of this post

Discussion Question Prompts:

  1. Are there any examples of gamification or game-based learning you have seen used effectively in your classroom or any K-12 classrooms?
  2. In addition to the challenges listed in the OER, are there any other challenges you consider when attempting to implement gamification or game-based learning in your classroom?
  3. Are there any important missing pieces that need to be considered when attempting to implement gamification and game-based learning in the classroom?
  4. What does authentic assessment look like when students are engaging in game-based learning?
  5. What do you think gamification and game-based learning will look like in the classroom in 10-20 years?

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21 responses to “Week 5 – Gamification and Game-Based Learning”

  1. scott hladun

    In response to prompt 1:
    One effective way I have used gamification in my courses is through a modified version of 20 questions. I have taught first aid courses for many years, but found that the students really struggled to connect specific signs and symptoms with the suspected injury/condition, and were also intimidated by the sheer volume of information in the textbooks we use. In order to make the learning more accessible, we split the class into 2 teams, and each team finds 3 injuries in the textbook that they want the other team to guess. Then the first team asks the second team up to 20 yes or no questions to narrow down the chosen injury. I have had great success with this activity because it engages the entire class and they are interacting with the course materials in a way that is less intimidating than assigning reading. Every time I play it is interesting to see the strategies that emerge, as well as the engagement within each team as they work together to develop their next question. It has students problem solving with their peers, and asking questions to one another that they may actually need to ask when encountering first aid situations (eg. Is the chest pain caused by a respiratory or cardiac injury?). I’d love to hear if anyone else has tried this game or a similar one and some ways you have altered it to better fit the content that you were teaching!

    In response to prompt 5:
    As you mentioned in your market analysis, developing games is becoming more accessible with more and more tools being released each year, I think that educators will be able to more easily develop games to fit not only the specific content that they’re teaching, but have the content be more individualized to the needs of each student. In 10-20 years, I believe that gamified experiences will be tailored to the student that is playing it, making it easier for educators to see trends in the proficiency of each student, as well as any knowledge gaps that emerge across the entire class.

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    1. Jerry Chen

      Hi Scott, thank you for your contribution to the discussion. I like that you remined us that gamified learning doesn’t just have to be using technology. This gets rid of the technology barrier for some teachers and allow them to introduce games into their teaching. I also agree that in 10-20 years with the increased ease of developing games, game-based learning will be more individualized and the educator will have more tools to assess their students.

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    2. Michelle To

      Hi Scott, thanks for your contribution. I totally resonate with “(the game) engages the entire class and they are interacting with the course materials in a way that is less intimidating than assigning reading”. Recently, I personally have similar experience of using quizzes to revise and consolidate the course materials. It was very helpful for me to study the materials with the quiz, rather than simply memorizing straight from the textbook. Also, I agree that these games are very efficient in evaluating the class’ learning trend and identifying knowledge gaps. Further actions can be taken after studying with the games.

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  2. Kendal

    Hello Michelle and Jerry, thank you for sharing your OER! First – a huge congrats on getting this completed so quickly. The site looks great, and I love how clearly laid out everything is, the concise content, interactive components, and awesome resources section. Well done! I have made my way through the OER, completed your Padlet on the GBL page (though I am having difficulties actually saving it and seeing my submission embedded on the site… it may be worth doing a practice to make sure it’s just me :)), and also completed the H5P quiz on the Gamification page (I was not sure if a resource was meant to be shared for Jean Piaget’s work or not but I completed the quiz :)). In response to your Discussion Prompts: 1) I am not an educator in a traditional classroom, so have not used games in a K-12 setting. However, something I am familiar with on a personal level is Duolingo, which I think is a fantastic learning app! I also have used many citizen science apps (iNaturalist, eBird, etc.) which may not be game based but have some overlapping components. It was great learning more about applications in the classroom and also seeing all the examples of apps that are available to K-12 teachers. 2) As far as challenges go, I think the perceptions/attitude is such a huge barrier. I think there needs to be a pretty big shift in our thinking to fully accept games as learning/meaning-making tools, and also get students more involved in the making process (more of a constructionist point of view). I have found through reading your OER that I have some biases against games (I do perceive many of them as “bad” and not “beneficial” and I’m sure this bleeds over into my educational lens… so learning more about them has opened my eyes – thank you! 3) I think more emphasis should be on having students as the designers of their own games. I’m reading lots about this in my ETEC 510 class right now, and the software Scratch and other examples have come up often, and how incredible they are at teaching students so many things beyond content. 4) Authentic assessment is a tough one! Again, I am not a K-12 teacher, but I’m hopeful that along with game development, there has been lots of research into how we can best determine if these tools are effective in reaching the goals of educators and learners. 5) Very cool questions – I will be interested to see if we have a “classrooms of the future” group, but I think there will be more autonomy with students creating their own games, more AR and VR, and hopefully a shift in perspective on how awesome games can be for learning. Thank you both!

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    1. Jerry Chen

      Hi Kendal, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your experience with gamification and game-based learning. Like you mentioned, gamification doesn’t just happen in the classroom but is used for many other types of applications on top of education. I’m glad that your perception of video games has shifted. There are definitely time wasting games out on the market, but at the same time there are also a great amount of games that are not only educational but could help with developing 21st century skills.

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    2. Michelle To

      Thanks, Kendal! The H5P quiz is more of a demonstration of what it is like to have a gamified learning experience. Hope you had enjoyed it. Games could do more harm than good as we might have observed sometimes, but in the future, as long as we make good use of them in the right scenario, it could bring more good than harm in many aspects. As knowledge accumulates and technologies advance, we anticipate there will be more games that is developed by the students and more people will be benefited in different fields.

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  3. EmilyOlson

    Jerry and Michelle – great work on the resource, it’s impressive that you put this together so quickly! I enjoyed learning more about the theory and differences between gamification and game based learning, trying that quiz out on H5P, and exploring all of the examples on the Padlet and on your Google Site.

    I used Kahoot a lot as a new teacher, and while it took me a while to embrace the chaos when a game was going there’s no doubt that it is a very engaging way to review and reinforce learning! A great alternative is Gimkit, which lets students work in teams, re-address answers to make sure they figure out the right one for each question, and make “money” for repetition of correct responses within the time frame. I found it was just as engaging with students as Kahoot, but less overwhelming for everyone.

    Cool Math games and ixl are popular in Elementary classrooms, but I think it’s important to make sure that students are being monitored while playing, collaborating, and afterwards reflecting and communicating the connections they’re making so that the games are challenging enough to make for meaningful learning.

    I have used Class Dojo in the past as a behaviourist style positive reinforcement tool (points given for desirable behaviours as individuals and a group so that they can work toward rewards) and there were some challenges: some parents were worried that their child wasn’t getting enough points, and long-term it reinforced doing the right thing for a reward rather than just because it’s the right thing to do!

    Another issue with gamification and game-based learning is that students who aren’t “winning” can lose their motivation, and become checked out or upset. In my experience games that stress collaboration rather than competition are more successful in Elementary classrooms. Digital escape rooms that can be tackled in groups are one example of a fun collaborative gamified activity.

    I think that in the next 10-20 years game-based learning will incorporate a lot more VR, as headsets become more affordable and more games are developed. Using VR is such an engaging and immersive experience that I think popularity will continue to grow.

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    1. Jerry Chen

      Hi Emily, thank you for sharing all these great resources you have used in your classroom! In my high school classroom, every time I put on a Kahoot, the students are instantly engaged as well. I will definitely look into Gimkit for students to be able to work together and have a chance to review their answers while playing a quiz style game. Thank you for sharing your experience with using Class Dojo. As someone who has never used a gamified learning management software, it was really beneficial for me to know the challenges I need to consider when implementing this into my classroom.

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    2. Michelle To

      Thanks, Emily. A rewarding system is always a good technique to employ in a classroom. Tried many times and success every time. I am glad we have all these technologies to allow more variety in the classroom. I like how you have described this as “meaningful learning”. Indeed, learning is more than just completing the syllabus and getting the knowledge, but rather making the process of learning a meaningful one. Educators or someone who loves to learn should always be in mind with that. Also, I am aware of the potential issue with gamification/GBL you mentioned. Competition happens all the time. Were you able to solve this issue or was the situation even worse with these technologies?

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  4. Leon Lam

    Rather than using apps like Kahoot!, I think it’s helpful to just think like a game designer and try to introduce game elements like cooperation, chance and competition into existing classroom activities. For example, rather than doing a worksheet, we can get students to come as a team to create approved questions for another team to complete. We can have students dictate to another students instructions for completing a task at the front of the class. We can build in a time limit for keeping things moving. We can start providing prizes as incentives. We can run simulations and role-plays. Some of the most effective and fun activities I’ve had in my classrooms are offline ones that have the elements of games.

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    1. Michelle To

      Hi Leon, thanks for the comment. Besides being educational, games are also good for team building and creating friendships inside the classroom. As you have mentioned, it brings dynamics to the classroom and carries out the main objective of the class efficiently. Role-plays is another good activity to do. I was very impressed by some of my previous role-play activities back when I was in high school, which I still remembered until today. It is particularly when it comes to understanding a literature; through role-playing the character in the literature, it helps readers to immerse themselves into the words.

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    2. alexei Peter Dos Santos

      Hi Leon,

      I see gamification and GBL beyond the Educational content as well. Games work as a platform for friendship, awareness, peaceful divergences, and understanding from multiple points of view. Therefore, I think we should involve the metaverse in this discussion and digitally offer pathways, advantages, disadvantages, and consequences for our students’ choices. For instance, how essential is it to understand history to predict or change behaviors? How are communities formed in the metaverse based on affinities, thoughts, or the need to experience a transformation? And most of all, How will education be inserted in this free and mutant digital environment?

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  5. SafaaAbuSaa

    I applaud you for the great work Jerry and Michelle!
    One of the challenges is to select or design the right games that help to achieve learning objectives seamlessly and efficiently. Some educators might be tempted to try fun and ”cool” games and forget about their educational values or what these games add to the learning experience. However, I wonder if it is okay and enough if the only thing these games do is create engagement and enthusiasm and eliminate lethargy without necessarily adding educational value.
    Also, the outcomes of using gamification or GBL might not be the same in every learner. They might help some learners but not others. Adapting gamification or GBL to every learner’s needs is a big challenge.
    As for assessment, I think the most important thing is to be able to measure the scores or outcomes of the assessment very clearly.

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  6. sage capogreco

    Hi Jerry and Michelle, I wanted to congratulate you for a great OER!

    I really liked your section comparing the BC curriculum core competencies – that was a useful summary for me and speaks to how effective games can be in a variety of learning contexts.

    I wanted to chime in on prompt #4 about authentic assessments. I know you focussed more on the digital game market, but I think this in-person example could still be interesting. A few years ago, I sat in on a workshop with some delegates from Egypt who were attending the workshop to learn more about international trade practices. At the end of our workshop, when everyone was losing steam taking in new content, the facilitator of the workshop had planned a game to put into practice all of the ideas we had learned thus far: we were asked to form a team and create paper crafts to sell on the international trade market, which would “open” for a certain number of minutes every hour. there was suddenly great energy in the room and everyone quickly came to play to their skills in either the production side (i.e. making paper boats) or the front-facing business side (i.e. running to the ‘market table’ and negotiating deals with other ‘countries). The exercise was meant to mimic supply and demand and organizational strategies in business. In this context, the game was not used for assessment purposes, but I think it could have made for a very effective authentic assessment. As you both, James and Michelle, made apparent in your BC core competency comparison, games like this one have the ability to be an environment where students can practice a variety of skills in an authentic environment.

    My question now is how to effectively assess this kind of activity? Because I was a ‘fly on the wall’ during this activity, I was able to view how the teams were able to work together and which members had certain aptitudes for business-related skills. In this way, I think these kinds of games can be great to give learners specific formative feedback. It is harder, though, to create and adhere to an assessment strategy that depends on standard criteria, especially if the focus is to play to different aptitudes. I wonder, too, if an online environment could have been effective in different ways. Perhaps using an online environment to house a game like this one could have additional metrics with which to assess learners. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has considered these kinds of questions about games and authentic assessments!

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  7. emma pindera

    Hi Jerry and Michelle! Great OER and I really appreciated the Market Analysis, I feel I really learned a lot about the opportunities in the Gamification and Game-based learning world! I also appreciated learning about all the games that our peers use to learn. Games can be such an effective tool to motivate people to learn. Making learning fun 🙂

    I enjoyed the quiz for gamification, and I would have loved more embedded games that mimicked some of the examples we shared in the padlet board. I found some amazing games in your resources section, it would great if they were in the games under resources specifically the dinosaur photography game! I’d love to see that moved into a space where it is clearer activities exist, as a user may understand “resources” as the references you used to create you OER. Overall this is a great resource and I learned a lot while having fun! Incorporating all the best things about gamification and game-based learning!

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  8. Petros Katsigiannis

    Hello Jerry and Michelle,

    Thank you for creating this excellent opportunity forecast project. I enjoyed reading and expanding my knowledge on this topic on your website. It reminded me of the importance to always be open to new creative ways in order to help make learning more appealing in the classroom, and to further give students a great educational experience.

    Regarding prompt #1, Ever since I started the Graduate Certificate in Educational technology, I have become more familiar with a few game-based learning products. One of them that stood out for me the most is Kahoot!. I decided to apply this medium into my ESL classroom. After observing my students participate in a Kahoot! I created, they seemed to be really engaged with it and enjoyed learning from it. As Jerry and Michelle mentioned on their website, it is crucial for game-based learning experiences to have a genuine educational purpose in the classroom. I made one for my Grade 6 ESL students to familiarize themselves more with the vocabulary on “the weather” unit I was teaching them. Students then went on to use this vocabulary for informal and formal oral/written assessments. Game-based learning is a fun and interactive way for students to learn in the classroom. I look forward to further analyzing Kahoot! for Assignment #1, and I intend to add more game-based learning platforms from your website into my classroom.

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  9. joseph villella

    Hi Michelle and Jerry,
    You did an excellent job on your OER! I was really interested in the following question relating to how we could see gamification in the classroom in the next 10-20 years. This ties in a bit to immersive experiences as I really think we will see a lot more gamification in education as schools gain access to VR, AR, and MR. Gamification through sites like Kahoot and Quizlet have already shown that they can improve student success for students that may have difficulty learning through the traditional methods of note-taking and lectures. With immersive experiences allowing for students to all partake in virtual games that put them in control of the learning experience, I really think we’ll enter in to a new era of education. I am excited to see all of the new gamification experiences that will be invented for classrooms across all education levels, and I think the future of gamification in education looks bright!

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  10. alexei Peter Dos Santos

    I have been using gamification in my classroom maidenly. Probably, my colleagues have already used this strategy as well. I chose a new and controversial literature subject and divided the group into three teams. The first team favors the new idea and searches for positive points using videos, opinion leaders, and arguments to endorse that idea. The second team searched for pieces of evidence against that theory, describing the frailties and negative impacts of the concept itself and the first team presentation. The game isn’t only about the idea, presentations, and argumentation capacity. The third team is a kind of jury deciding who has the best performance. My work is to be a kind of reference,e just applying the rules and conserving the boundaries. It’s really profitable in terms of Education because the teams are free to take advantage of any available technology. The majority of the time is pretty tricky to split the quality of the presentation from the consistency of arguments. There are many alternatives for fitting theories into new technologies, capturing attention and
    captivate the audience.
    My thoughts are regarding how many times and activities we can engage our students because gamification or game-based learning in your classroom today is just a piece of the Education puzzle. We are still far from using it ubiquitously as a cornerstone of our teaching methods. However, once we get used to efficiently implementing gamification and GBL, students will become more interested in the school. I noticed learning difficulties after the pandemic, with students feeling lost and unaccustomed to the routine of classes and homework.
    The missing part that worries me the most is the concept that games can be restarted from the beginning without losing anything. On the one hand, it is terrific because one can practice fully understanding or even master it, like a pilot in a flight simulator. On the other hand, our first chance is the last for many essential things in life. I miss reflecting that every action has consequences, even in a digital environment.
    The authentic assessment for students engaged in gamification or GBL is to solve problems related to games and their environment. It seems totally out of purpose to structure Education technology with gamification and its variations, and after that, the evaluation process excludes those tools. Finally, the future is obviously unpredictable and metamorphic. Nevertheless, I bet on gamification and GBL as Blockbuster to reform Education and to promote a considerable discussion about the objectives and purpose of the Social role of schools, colleges, and universities.

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  11. greg patton

    Awesome job on your OER Michelle and Jerry! As I was reading your prompts, number five made me think back to the book (and movie) Ready Player One. Everyone went to school in the OASIS… which was a massive multi-player online role playing game and a virtual world. I could actually see this happening… especially after the somewhat successful implementation of virtual school over COVID. Each residence could have complimentary AR/VR headsets and wifi so that students log in to their school virtually. Of course these would lead to problems with social development that we can see in schools now after having students at home with really no social interaction for a long period of time. Games aren’t going anywhere; it’s amazing to see how much they have integrated everyday life since I got my first Atari and tried to get that little frog across the street (Frogger, not Crossy Roads), yet there is the potential to harness and use games for way more educational purposes moving forward. I think it is inevitable.

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  12. Justine

    In addition to the challenges listed in the OER, are there any other challenges you consider when attempting to implement gamification or game-based learning in your classroom?

    Great work on your OER! The two challenges you listed in your OER definitely come to mind when I think about game-based learning. I agree that one major challenge is cost! Last year, I was a Vice Principal, and it took us about two years to get 10 new laptops for our school through parent fundraisers. Ten laptops is not nearly enough for a class of 28 students! It takes time and investment for hardware. However, another challenge when it comes to cost is the subscription costs for teachers. For example, I was marketed a game called Splash Math. They offered me a 1 year pilot program for my class. I used it, and I absolutely loved this program. However, after my 1 year pilot, they wanted to charge me the annual fee of about $100. Unfortunately, my classroom funds are not nearly close to $100 so I was unable to purchase the subscription. Even if I had $100 of classroom funds, I have to consider spending that money on classroom resources and activities, so I still wouldn’t have the funding for the subscription. Moreover, the district did not want to support the purchasing of this subscription for my class because they already had bought a game-based numeracy subscription. Overall, this impacted myself, my class, as well as the developers of the app!

    However, the application has changed their pricing. The program is free during school hours, from 7AM to 3PM. After 3PM, there is a cost for students to use the program. This encourages students to go home, and ask their parents to pay the $5 annual fee to purchase the game! So, yes, hardware and software costs are a challenge. However, for an individual teacher, so are the subscription costs, and I think these have even more of an impact than the hardware/software costs because in a district like mine, we have a good amount of devices for schools!

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  13. rtorresc

    Dear Michelle and Jerry: this was such an entertaining and informative module! I was very impressed with the easy navigation and flow of the content presented on your Google site. The content was also current and had a “market-driven” view of gamification and game-based learning. I appreciated the interactive element of the Padlet board. I also found myself very surprised to be enjoying taking a quiz. The way the questions were formulated in your quiz invited me as a reader to take a chance on answering, and I found myself pleasantly surprised to find myself more correct than corrected. This experience really helped me to view quizzes in a more positive light when there’s an environment that allows a “safe place” to try.

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