Gamification ...

Being a middle english aspiring pseud, one was listening to this programme on Radio 4 this morning. It was an exploration of gamification (in the world of computer based games), in a multitude of areas.

The term, a new word, describes how learning or functional task can be converted into a competitive or 'fun' game, to engage the individual and encourage deeper participation.

Ok, new word for old practice alert?

I don't think when I was teaching we had any term for it, but it was something that was employed in ones craft.

Over the years, you gamify multiple tasks, but the two that immediately come to mind are:

Naming routers ...
With a group of CCNP adult evening class students, I would set challenges every week based on the topic and link in previously learned subjects. Rather than go through a series of mindless labs. It was more fun to use the labs, the commands, the curriculum and build a complex network with the kit available. 
The game, was the name, having teams, I would always open up a short debate on what these routers were to be called. 
Invariably, we had characters from Scooby Doo, Star Trek, Rainbow, Teletubbies and Captain Pugwash, Flintstones amongst many others. 
The point was that the team would have fun with the devices, terms like Scooby is flapping, Po is down or Wilma does not seem to be talking to Fred, appealed to the humour and kept the activities sane.
Lollipop praise ...
Younger students respond to different stimuli, lets face it, most of the 16-19 year olds would happily compete to win the lollipop before anyone else. If you are unsure, try it, the results may please. I would set other networking challenges and make sure there are multiple teams. Where the first and second would get different lollipops (the better ones for the first of course).  
There was some intellectual babble about the negative effectives of competition years ago. I am convinced that this is utter tripe. There needs to be winners, losers and a desire to get ahead. I have seen students raise their game in a competitive environment. 
So long as it is managed with grace, but assures everyone learns from the experience. You are onto a winner (forgive the pun).



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