Classroom gamification transforming education

Classroom gamification transforming education

Education is the cornerstone to the advancement of any population. It is the key to success. It is the foundation to the future. However, The United States seems to be falling behind. Only three decades ago, America led the world in quality and quantity of high school diplomas. Now, America is ranked 36th globally. An even more shocking number indicates that roughly 1.3 million high school students fail to graduate on time every year. So what’s happening? Are Americans getting stupid? No, they are just getting less interested. While the rest of the world is innovating their education systems, America is using antiquated methods that have left students disinterested and unengaged.

The introduction of classroom gamification

This might be changing–slowly albeit. Teachers are seeing this slow decline and some are starting to take action. Teachers from around the nation are trying out different methods to get their students re-energized and re-excited about learning. One method that is proving popular is classroom gamification. Teachers have seen how engaged many of their students are in games and they have also seen the value of educational games. So now, they are trying to further integrate games into the classroom. And it’s working–really well.

The idea of using games for learning has been around for a while. Commercially, it started to take off in 1985 with the advent of Carmen Sandiego, and then continued with the introduction of games like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Civilization, Active Worlds, Brain Age and more.

Why classroom gamification works

Teachers and parents alike began to see that students learned from games for three very simple reasons:

  1. Progression: Students enjoy seeing their success visualized in an incremental way. The idea of levels, unlocking content and accumulating points just makes sense and motivates them.
  2. Investment: Students want to feel pride about their work in a game, so earning achievements and collaboration with others encourages students to keep going–and, in turn, learning.
  3. Cascading information: In other words, the idea of continuously unlocking information. Countdowns, bonuses, new discoveries, aversion to loss, the synthesizing of multiples skills and the ability to play infinitely are some of the key factors that keep students involved and attracted to further learning.

While games that are specifically designed for learning–whether to improve typing, critical thinking or collaboration with others–continue to remain popular and effective, teachers and educational professionals are starting to see that these elements can be implemented into aspects of the classroom that do not involve the students playing commercial learning games. Now, many games, achievements and challenges are being added into online learning programs and significant success is being observed.

Examples of classroom gamification

Classroom gamification is seen is many different ways. Below are just a few examples of classroom gamification that are transforming education.


Duo-Lingo is an online learning platform for languages. Anyone can download the application onto their phone and choose from a variety of languages to start becoming proficient in. The gamification aspect comes from the skill points students can earn as they complete each level and complete questions in a given time limit. With incorrect answers, students can lose points and delay their advancement to the next level. There are also prizes, awards and certifications that students earn by completing a certain amount of levels each day. And there is an aspect of collaboration that allows students to compare their results with classmates and friends–encouraging healthy competition and a desire to be at the top of the leader board.

Ribbon Hero

There are incredible computer programs available that improve the educational experience of students. However, sometimes these programs can be challenging to learn. Microsoft wanted to solve this problem, especially with their Office suite of programs. That is why they created the Ribbon Hero add-in game. It is available for free to download and helps to train students on how to use all of the tools available in the Office programs, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel. The user, or player, is then given challenges and, if completed, the user is awarded points. Half of the points the user can earn during game-play and the other half are actually available when the user employs those learned features outside of game play. In addition, there is a social aspect with the ability to link to Facebook.

Mr. Pai

Ananth Pai, a third grade teacher in Minnesota, has been a pioneer and major advocate of implementing gamification into the classroom. He has explained that there are three major benefits to students learning this way: they can learn more quickly, they can learn more and they can learn at their own level, rather than worrying about how they are compared to others in their class. He also loves the idea that students have the ability to play with others in the class, play on their own or even play with students from different countries.

In his classroom, Mr. Pai uses console-based games, web-based games, game-based apps and local, computer-based games. And the result? Increased class engagement, increased overall enthusiasm, higher reading scores, higher math scores and increased class interest. Because of his pioneering spirit, his entire school has followed course. They have introduced multi-subject based games throughout the school so that students can learn basic concepts of business, economics, and math all in one game. Achieving multiple goals, gaining achievements and the positive feedback from classmates and teachers have created an enthusiastic response from students and their parents.

Classroom gamification with Datagame

Classroom gamification in education has been around for decades, but the true benefits of it are only just being realized. To see how your school might benefit from implementing aspects of gamification into the classroom, contact Datagame.