Gamification: Teacher’s Holy Grail?

Some conferences on “Gamification & serious games: increasing productivity for your business” have taken place this week. We have been there and can tell you our vision and conclusions on this exciting topic.

Firstly we would like to recommend everyone attending such events basically by the passion that can be felt in the air: entrepreneurs, speakers and attendees are crazy about what they do.

We have learnt about different experiences in which gaming is being introduced in several sectors that until now were considered, by its seriousness, vetoed to the fun and entertainment world.

We have seen the thrust of many professionals for improving in sectors (health, emergencies, education) that currently are going through serious financial difficulties or institutional support. And we have seen that there is creativity in the environment, creativity at the service of change. This change is being driven by experts who love what they do and are willing to continue doing it, despite the lack of resources (economic).

Thanks to all of them and also to the organizers for allowing this breath of fresh air at this difficult time.

Let’s start by clarifying what “gamification” is about.

This term is used to define the systematical use of game mechanics in environments that have no apparent relationship to the playful world. In educational settings it is summarized as learning through fun produced by playing.

This concept has been used for some time in learning processes and has now spread to commercial environments as a new marketing and customer loyalty strategy.

Specifically enterprise environments are using games as a tool to improve training skills of employees, to improve management or to increase sales. It is also being used as a strategy to train customers on bureaucratic tasks and, as already mentioned, in customer loyalty strategies.

Definitely these actions create brand, involving employees, suppliers and customers, improving their relationship with the company and the product / service offered. And results can go viral.

At an institutional level these games are being used to train personnel to operate efficiently at times of great stress or in emergency situations, such as decision-making training in high-responsibility jobs, or other therapies to enhance recovery of hospital patients. Even there are games that train teachers and executives to face conferences and lose stage fright.

And at School…

At Elesapiens we believe in the benefits of gaming as a teaching method and have always been on the side of transmitting knowledge through entertainment. We are convinced that gaming has the ability to train persons as integral human beings, promoting their social skills, boosting their ability to excel, learning while they enjoy themselves, preparing them to address and resolve difficult situations throughout their life.

The school-level educational gaming has the invaluable ability to generate student satisfaction in the process of acquiring knowledge and the power of motivation is the “Holy Grail” for most of teachers.

In addition, by playing students can get more involved in their education, making them participate in it and enhancing their desire to go beyond strictly the curriculum matters. And it makes them understand knowledge as global and cross-curricular matter.

Given the good results shown at the centers that are already using gaming techniques and products we believe that, without a doubt, these methodologies are the foundation of tomorrow’s education.

The technology is there. And the contents are coming. What is missing then?

  1. It requires strong support from the institutions for these necessary changes to really happen.
  2. It should be understood that the implementation of these policies is not an expense but a social investment for the future. And this investment is a priority.
  3. There should be an extensive training of teachers in new methods and tools, applying new requirements systems and offering new social recognition standards.
  4. It is essential a social and institutional support to end with monopolies and lobbies that control in many countries the educational policies, having only economical purposes.

We trust that finally, with the effort of all of us, we can make this change happen and we will be able to create and implement educational models to build a fairer and more responsible society.

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