What makes the student play in class?

Gamification: what it is and what it brings

Of course, you saw right away: Gamification is based on the English word "game", which means "game" in German. To equate the term with "playing in the classroom" is not enough, however. Because gamification is not about throwing the dice, Sudoku or another short game that you incorporate into a lesson for a change - but about embedding the learning content in a comprehensive game context.

  • Storytelling creates excitement and increases the fun factor. Embed your learning content and units in an exciting framework story. For example, you can move around in fantastic worlds with elves, magicians and warriors, in which the students have to defeat "monsters" such as exercises, tests and classwork. Chemical formulas become the recipe for magic potions and only those who know the correct English vocabulary can open locked doors and advance in the game.
  • The performance evaluation takes place according to fixed rules within and along the "game". Instead of solving stupid tasks and going through new knowledge, the students embark on so-called "quests" that have to be mastered in fixed small groups. For example, if you answer class questions correctly and solve exercises correctly, you collect (experience) points. Positive behavior is also rewarded. Disturbances, forgotten homework and other "offenses", on the other hand, are acknowledged with damage points.
  • The individual groups (and sometimes the students among themselves) compete in a playful way. The point lists and the current high scores are kept public, so that every group and every student can see the score. This arouses ambition and is an additional incentive.

When designing "your" game, you have various options.

You can use role play as a base and let students choose between different avatars. Each character brings specific skills that students can then use on their quests. For example, the warrior can sacrifice himself and "intercept" damage for other group members. Certain privileges are also associated with the avatars - a magician, for example, of course masters invisibility and can therefore be up to three minutes late with impunity. Depending on their score, the students then advance in levels and acquire new or further skills and privileges.

For role-playing games like these, there are online platforms that you can use as a starting point - such as Classcraft or QuesTanja. You can find a detailed report from a German teacher who has already successfully used Classcraft in his lessons here.

Even if you are not a role-playing fan, you can still use popular games or game worlds that you weave into your subject matter. For example, a colleague used the well-known “Minecraft” in his history lesson on the Roman Empire to have the students recreate the Limes and watchtower in their original size. If you are gripped by the gaming fever, you can of course also come up with your own game - and tailor it to your individual needs.

Clearly: Gamification definitely means extra work in your preparation. How gripping and entertaining the game actually becomes also depends on your commitment as the game master. If you're enthusiastic about it yourself, your quests and activities can really get the students going - but your new role may take some getting used to.

In practice, it is also up to you to make the game, and especially the scoring, as fair as possible. The fact that only one person can answer a lesson and get points for the correct answer may annoy other students - just like the group formation and the dependency on the other group members.

Working together in small groups promotes many different skills. From strategic thinking to communication and teamwork skills to self-awareness, the students practice a wide variety of areas.

The excitement, entertaining and playful challenge also make the students highly motivated - attention and participation increase significantly and discipline also improves. The students see a concrete benefit in making an effort, and as a powerful magician or courageous warrior, even shy students find it easier to get involved and fight for points for their group. Do not only play analogue, but also promote media skills with the help of the media.

  • Modern teaching
  • "Creation of meaning" and motivation
  • Entertainment, variety, entertaining and high fun factor
  • Seizes the "play instinct" sensibly
  • More involvement, attention, and more discipline
  • Reward for positive behavior, not just for performance
  • Group work trains social skills
  • Makes participation easier for shy students
  • Promotes media literacy
  • Preparation / effort
  • It is necessary to precisely track the scores
  • Group formation can lead to feelings of exclusion
  • Dependence on other players in the group
  • Awarding points can be perceived as unfair

You see They see: There are many good arguments in favor of gamification in your classroom as well. Dare to do it - try it out!

Teaching skills-oriented
Competence-oriented teaching aims to equip learners with knowledge, abilities and skills as well as to raise awareness and reflect on attitudes and attitudes.