Gamification is the New Classroom Social Experience
The educational process has to cover so much these days it is no wonder that many teachers and educators struggle to fit everything in. Learning the basic curriculum elements of reading, writing and arithmetic are the foundation of the classroom experience but educators now understand that they have to provide pupils with more.
The educational process is now as much about providing youngsters a modern social experience as it is teaching them essential tools they need for life. Schools now have to play a role in how youngsters, think, act and engage with each other with information technology. This need for the educational process to assist youngsters to share and socialise with each other in the correct manner is a newly added burden on teachers, tech integration specialists and institutions as a whole. Social gaming experience offers a way these aims and elements can be combined into one subject or activity.
The integration of game mechanics in classrooms has long been a teaching strategy used by teachers to motivate and engage students. The recent technology laden gamification process has both proponents and critics. Anything which helps children to feel more comfortable or more motivated to learn certainly is not without merits. A technology based social gaming experience does even more. Helping youngsters to become aware of making progress, receiving valuable real-time feedback of this progress and comparing their overall knowledge with their peers shows students directly where they stand and provides impetus for them to try harder by seeking out answers in order to advance.
Engaging and interacting socially is crucial in the classroom
From an early age, youngsters are ever more being exposed to computer games and software as a socially interactive activity. Gameplay, be it academic or not allows children the opportunity to engage with other youngsters with and creates a platform for discussion, competition and sharing of information.
Games based on Common Core Standards can provide interaction, competition and engagement amongst youngsters thereby aiding the learning process. An example of this would be Math Champ Challenge, where students in grades 4-7 can gain achievements locally using iPads and iPods or compete against pupils from all over the world via access to the Game Center.
While this educational app provides an immediate benefit in its social use, it also provides benefit to the individual. There is a genuine Personal Learning Environment aspect to this app which adapts to each user, based on their strengths and weaknesses dependent on their answers. This adaptive learning engine keeps students engaged while at the same time giving students opportunity to earn achievement awards and win merit badges for particular curriculum standards.
Each pupil can learn at their own pace
Much like many games have characters with AI which react to the players tactics, Math Champ Challenge delivers a learning process which is about mastering the topic as opposed to racing through a topic. Students receive a detailed report at the end of their game that shows them where they need to practice more. Observant eachers in the classroom environment can check the answers and results, it becomes easier for the teacher to see where the strengths and weaknesses of pupils are. This in turn will mean that those pupils requiring additional support can receive it, while those making good progress can continue.
In this way, apps such as Math Champ Challenge, help to create a more level playing field in the classroom. Pupils are always going to have different ability levels and some will understand some topics more than others. With the learning process aimed at reducing knowledge gaps, the classroom environment becomes more equal, and therefore more competitive.
Competitive environments where pupils feel as though they are at a similar standing or nature will help to improve the social integration of the class. If pupils feel inferior to their peers, there is every chance that they will become withdrawn or will shy away from becoming involved in anything which will highlight their deficiencies.
Social gamification, in addition to all of the other benefits it offers, can help to create a more level playing field with respect to knowledge, which will help to develop the confidence of youngsters. Teaching is often about delivering the core lessons to the entire class but then adapting to provide every pupil with the support that they need. Apps built with social-gaming dynamics such as Math Champ Challenge, can provide assistance in this difficult yet crucial area.