Skip to main content


One of the newest buzzwords of education is GAMIFICATION. Put shortly, gamification means using game principles to engage and motivate students. Gamification is NOT putting a student in front of a computer all day, every day, and oddly enough it is not the same as game-based learning. You can even gamify without using any technology at all, though admittedly, technology does make it easier. The point is this is not about technology or games, but about finding the elements that motivate people to persevere.

Unknowingly, I have been using elements of game design in my classroom since my first year of teaching: I level my assignments from easy to difficult, I use positive motivation often and regularly, I offer some form of reward for behavior and academic achievements. I de-emphasize failure as a negative concept, choosing to consider it as an opportunity to learn and try again.

Naturally, than, this new wave of gamifying everything has been very intriguing to me.

Yesterday, I implemented a full-force gamification-based unit for state test review. My students struggle with math in general, so spending weeks involved in the rigorous critical thinking processes required for test prep is a monumental challenge, to say the least. As their anxiety and frustration increase, their motivation and desire decrease. Many days, getting my students just to try feels like a triumphant victory.

My game is app-based, so the students could download it on their phones, and Star Wars themed. In Texas, our test is called the STAAR, and since all of my students have failed the last test, I named my app STAAR Wars. I created this really fun video to get them excited:

Click here to watch

I know that this seems really complex - creating apps and making videos......


In just two days, I have been BLOWN AWAY by the level of engagement!

I had planned to write a full post about gamification in education, but Paul Anderson does a much better job of explaining it.

If you will be in the North Texas area, come join my gamification discussion at EdCamp Roanoke on May 3, 2014!

Click here to see 8th Grade STAAR Math App      
Scan below                                                              



8 Film-Makers for Students: Free, Cheap, and Easy Film-making is such a great way for students to express their understanding and learn from other students. These days there are so many drag-and-drop programs, that even the least techy person can create a professional-looking and imaginative product.

Learning vs. Laundry: 12 Ways to Engage the Online Learner The power of online education extends far beyond providing access to non-traditional students -those who are limited by time, location, or expense. It has the power to transform and revitalize the educational experience for the learner.

Grades vs. Experience Points I've never really been a fan of grades, even as a child. No matter how systematic we try to make the grades, they will always be arbitrary: what quiz we decide to give, what questions we ask, how we weight homework vs. classwork vs. tests, etc. What is the point?

STAAR Wars App (In the Making) I'm building this app as I go. When adding new things, I tell my students they have "unlocked new levels." They have been so excited seeing the new things I add each day.

Using "The Hunger Games" to Manage Behavior Walk into a Kindergarten class, and you will believe in magic. How one lady manages to get 20 5-year-olds to snake quietly through the halls with only her smile and a charming, "Follow me, boys and girls", is an amazing thing to see.

So You Want to Gamify? Based on the popularity and interest of my last blog, Gamification, I decided to create a list of resources, for those brave enough to embark on this journey.

Gamification Mistake #1: Fair Play I titled this post Mistake #1, because I am certain that I will make many more mistakes while gamifying my class. One thing I've been learning about is the aspect of "Fair Play," which basically just means making sure the game is fair for the players.


  1. What sort of needs do classroom teachers have for gamification apps I would really be interested in your take.


Post a Comment