Starting gamification in the classroom? Keep it simple

Science and discovery centres are great places to see some examples of gamification in action. They present poignant reminders that gamification does not need to be extremely complicated nor lengthy.  In an exhibit from RBC on the Science of Sports, Vancouver’s Science World sets in with some gamification before one even sets foot inside the exhibit. It also serves as a great example of gamification made simple.

In keeping with the topic of sports, the floor and walls just outside of the Science of Sports exhibit display a series of lines and labels indicating various lengths and heights associated with different records around a variety of sports performances.  Some lines show the actual length of a world record standing long jump or show the height of the high jump world record (2.45m).  Lines with some labels… and that’s it.

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Let the games begin…

With no other instructions provided to exhibit-goers, people naturally started trying to size up their own ability and performances with the displayed records. People were jumping alongside the standing long jump record to see how they fared against Arne Tvervaag’s 3.71m world record.  Other guests tried to jump to touch the height of the high jump record or match the distance covered in a second by a record holding sprinter at full speed.  With this information presented in such a simple yet compelling way, participants were now experiencing and playing with content and concepts rather than just reading about them.

Gamification in the classroom…

The sports examples listed above would lend themselves to a physical education classroom or gym class but this approach can perhaps find a way into other courses and subject areas.  Within the unique concepts, skills and competencies that are inherent within each course and subject of study, there is an opportunity to reinvent the way we present this content.  Looking for a way to present information in a manner that brings scale, accessibility and a perspective that is both authentic and measurable supports an interactive element to learning.  And maybe, just maybe… serve as an enticing invitation to play.

K. Takahashi




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