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Learners in a given classroom tend to have diverse needs. Educators and teachers should be aware of such needs in order to deliver the most appropriate skills to them. That being the case, experts have been focusing on the best approaches towards differentiating instructions. This is done in order to meet the needs of every learner. Many educational theorists support the practice because children develop and learn differently (McGonigal, 2010). The use of technology can deliver positive results in different classrooms. The use of games in different learning settings has been observed to support the changing educational needs of many learners. This discussion focuses on the role of gamification in different classroom settings
Lee and Hammer (2011) argue that “the learning process is supported by three key areas” (p. 2). These “areas include cognitive, social, and emotional” (Lee & Hammer, 2011, p. 2). Gamification has been observed to support the three areas, thus making it easier for learners and teachers to achieve their goals. Games are characterized by unique rules, experiments, and discoveries. The players have to plan, observe, and execute (Sailer, Hense, Mandl, & Klevers, 2013). The mastery process and understanding associated with such games make it easier for learners to widen their concepts. They eventually feel encouraged, motivated, and engaged in every classroom activity. As well, games have the potential to invoke various emotions such as joy, hope, frustration, and curiosity. Games can also become powerful sources of pride, courage, and optimism.
Gamification improves resilience, thus making it easier for individuals to focus on new challenges. Students can, therefore, “see every kind of failure as a renewed opportunity to achieve their potentials” (Sailer et al., 2013, p. 31). Learning can also be described as a social exercise or experience. Games make it easier for individuals to develop new social skills such as decision-making and problem-solving.
These skills are useful in every classroom setting. Students with different educational needs will acquire new competencies and engage in learning. They will find it easier to work as teams, support each other, and focus on the best results (Sailer et al., 2013). That being the case, a “properly-designed gamification system will encourage children to undertake new roles that can support their learning processes” (Lee & Hammer, 2011, p. 8).
Gamification and Motivation
Students can be “motivated using both intrinsic and extrinsic forces” (Lee & Hammer, 2011, p. 9). Intrinsic forces are determined by the goals, objectives, and expectations of the learner. This fact explains why it might be impossible to dictate the nature of such factors. However, different motivational theories explain how extrinsic factors can be used to produce both positive and negative human behaviors (Hamzah, Ali, Saman, Yusoff, & Yacob, 2015).
Different sources of motivation can be used depending on the targeted goals. Educational theorists have observed that a motivated student will be ready to undertake new learning activities and eventually achieve his or her goals. Teachers use different tools and methods to ensure their learners are motivated. A motivated learner will “collaborate with others, focus on difficult assignments, and eventually achieve the best results” (Sailer et al., 2013, p. 32). Scientists argue that “the source of motivation should be rewarding, revolutionary, and exemplary” (Sailer et al., 2013, p. 33). Learners will be motivated by different “factors or tools that arouse a sense of optimism” (Sailer et al., 2013, p. 31).
Games have the potential to empower and encourage more learners to focus on their learning objectives. Gamification presents new challenges and opportunities for different individuals. The player develops a sense of courage and confidence in an attempt to emerge victorious. New skills such as problem-solving are also acquired, thus making it easier for the student to achieve the best outcomes. The use of games within the classroom setting can, therefore, play a positive role in increasing the level of motivation (Lee & Hammer, 2011). This is true because gamification refreshes and empowers the learner to focus on the best outcomes. New attributes such as “attention to detail, confidence, and satisfaction emerge, thus supporting the learning needs of many students” (Lee & Hammer, 2011, p. 18).
Educationists have been focusing on the best approaches to support the diverse needs of different learners. The concept of instruction differentiation has emerged in order to support every targeted student. Games have the potential to motivate and improve the outcomes of many learners. Gamification has also become a powerful tool for delivering differentiated ideas to targeted children. Gamification has the potential to support differentiated ways to teach (Lee & Hammer, 2011). For instance, teachers can monitor and analyze the diverse needs of their learners. This knowledge will encourage them to design personalized games depending on the learning abilities and needs of the students.
Individuals with various learning difficulties can be allowed to play simple games. The tutor can also use elaborated photographs to improve the gaming process. As well, learners will normal abilities will require complex games. Such games will support their emotional, cognitive, and social skills. These skills will eventually support their educational needs. Gamification can also be used to teach different subjects and topics to the learners. For example, a “complicated game can be used to support various mathematics topics” (Lee & Hammer, 2011, p. 12).
Some games allow students to choose appropriate words and phrases in order to emerge victorious (Sailer et al., 2013). Such games can be used to support the language needs of many students. A carefully-designed game has several levels and tasks. Every level is usually complicated, thus making it easier for learners to acquire new ideas. This fact explains why gamification has become a powerful tool for availing differentiated instructions to the targeted students.
Lee and Hammer (2011) believe that “games can be used to support the educational needs of learners in different classes or levels” (p. 9). The complexity of the game should depend on the needs of the targeted class. Learners in lower classes should be allowed to play appropriate games that can support or fulfill their needs. The most important thing is for the teacher to understand the needs of his or her students. This understanding will ensure the teacher designs the most appropriate game that can support the educational needs of every student.
This discussion, therefore, explains how teachers can use gamification to teach students with diverse educational needs. Games can, therefore, present new practices and insights for curriculum development (Lee & Hammer, 2011). Teachers should use games in order to support the changing needs and expectations of their respective learners (Hamzah et al., 2015). Differentiated instructions will ensure every child achieves the best goals and eventually becomes successful in life. Every game should, therefore, be designed to address the needs of specific students.
The current wave of technological advancement has revolutionized different sectors. In the recent past, educationists have been identifying various technologies that can improve the learning process of every student. Many schools are currently using computers to teach their students. Computers are “powerful devices that make it easier for learners to share ideas, communicate with one another, address their problems, and acquire new evidence-based contents from their counterparts” (Lee & Hammer, 2011, p. 16).
Studies indicate that “e-learning has become a powerful practice within the past ten years” (Sailer et al., 2013, p. 34). Various e-learning models make it easier for learners to share ideas and acquire new skills from their tutors (McGonigal, 2010). Mobile phones can also be used to support different learning processes. Teachers can embrace the power of mobile learning. Different “learning analytics have also been developed to deliver specific contents and concepts to the targeted learners” (Sailer et al., 2013, p. 34). Such analytics are accessible using computers.
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This discussion explains how the use of such technologies continues to motivate more learners. The targeted learners embrace “such technologies because they have the potential to solve problems, present answers instantly, and offer new challenges” (Sailer et al., 2013, p. 36). Teachers are also using online platforms such as videos and PowerPoint presentations to deliver quality concepts to their learners. Such technologies have also revolutionized the world of gamification. Many students also play different computer games.
Educationists have been focusing on this development in order to develop instruction-based games for different learners. Modern technologies present new opportunities for learners and teachers to share their ideas. The level of interaction has improved, thus supporting the needs of many students. The use of “these technologies will make it easier for teachers to differentiate their instructions” (Hamzah et al., 2015, p. 5). Educationists can also design new learning activities and games in order to support the needs of more learners.
Hamzah, W., Ali, N., Saman, Y., Yusoff, M., & Yacob, A. (2015). Influence of Gamification on Students’ Motivation in using E-Learning Applications Based on the Motivational Design Model. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 10(2), 1-12.
Lee, J., & Hammer, J. (2011). Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 15(2), 1-24.
McGonigal, J. (2010, February). Gaming can make a better world [Video file]. Web.
Sailer, M., Hense, J., Mandl, H., & Klevers, M. (2013). Psychological Perspectives on Motivation through Gamification. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal, 19(1), 28-37.