Gamification in Education

Mini Matmian:

The use of Gamification techniques within education is not on the horizon…it is already here. 6 months ago I highlighted the fact that the work teachers have been doing in classrooms across the globe for many years could easily be seen as a form of non-digital Gamification.


The very practice of stickers, group leader-boards and reward systems that are already in place in so many primary school classrooms is already, in part, a form of gamification …


I then went on to mention how digital media could be used to augment the education process:


…add a bespoke system that also incorporates digital media (yes games are part of it) for multiple purposes that not only serve the individual pupil but also provide an accurate and easy way of tracking progress [for teachers) can only benefit the whole school environment.


All those many months ago I kept it brief. My experience as a former teacher meant that the topic was close to my heart and I knew that if I didn’t reign in my key-tapping fingers I would end up with a 3000 word essay.


As a supporter of the good gamification techniques can bring, I wanted to make one thing absolutely clear:


Sticking the same API or just shoe-horning badges in is NOT taking advantage of the power of game mechanics.


I mention this now because an article on caught my attention. It was about a company in Singapore who have developed an educational application that takes advantage of gamification techniques and mobile technology.


The company in question is called Trial Shuttle and the application they have developed “…lets students direct their own learning programs.” As I had said before, this is key.


Trail Shuttle promotes self-directed learning via individualized, experiential paths.


Three components, in turn, are involved to make that goal possible: a Web-based toolkit for creating learning programs as well as a mobile app that allows students to explore and experience those programs and a monitoring app that lets teachers track students’ progress. Included in the mobile app for students are an augmented reality way-finder and code scanner; quizzes to test the student’s learning; chat capabilities; and the ability to check in at “hotspots” and complete specific tasks,


via PSFK


There are a few tools out there now that try to add digital gamification into education but this one is the first I have seen that not only puts the focus on the individual as a learner, gets them exploring the real world, allows teachers to track their progress and is cross-platform (please leave a comment if you know of any other software that does the same thing. SquareCrumbs is close but is iPad only).


It seems the Singaporean education system is happily embracing gamification and technology full force. On an ego boosting note, it is gratifying to see that the Matmi thought lab is still keeping up with (and at times ahead of) digital trends.


Let us know how you feel about gamifying education.

February 2012