Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

Engaging Students through Gamification

Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

Engaging Students through Gamification

Article excerpt

Every day, educators look for ways to engage students and help them develop 21 st-century skills necessary to function in our world.

At O'Neill Middle School, participation in our voluntary library reading program was 17 percent, and we wanted to increase that level. So we sought an innovative approach to motivate our students through collaboration, creativity and communication. Because students had started using Google apps and other social tools, we wanted to increase and build on those skills. Gamification provided the platform to engage and excite students. Gamification takes a process or learning target and sets it in a gaming format. The idea of introducing a game, creating teams and making it apply across different media had never been tried at our school.

We called our game Conquest of the Realm, or as the students dubbed it, CotR. Students were given challenges worth a set number of points via their student email accounts. Challenges required critical thinking, collaborating to solve puzzles, interacting with teachers outside their normal purview, and creating original work such as book trailers and creative writing pieces.

Each student was assigned a house (or team), and the house with the most points would win. Students quickly began identifying themselves by their house and worked collaboratively for the common good. Strategy cards could be earned to impact the game. Critical thinking determined when and against whom a card should be played. Because each house had about 120 students, they had to strategize both online and in person. …

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