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GAMIFICATION OF LEARNING

Using Minecraft Education and Digital Games to support and expand student learning.

In late 2016 I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Vicki Davis for her podcast the 10 minute teacher. I spoke to Vicki about my love of Digital Games and how I Digital Games can be used as effective tools to support and expand student learning across a number of different subject areas in the K-4 classroom. This short post explores Game Based Learning briefly.


Quote from the Episode:

The students teach me things!

Why Game Based Learning and Gamification?

Other than being fun and engaging, Game Based Learning is a research based rich pedagogical approach effectively incorporating the Zone of Proximal Development within a Digital Environment. Gamification involves designing a learning experience around the enjoyable engaging elements of games (Dale, 2015) Gamification criteria:


The dynamic, informal and fun nature of Game Based Learning make is easily accessible for younger players. Instant feedback gives students not only gratification in learning but direction in where to go next.


Ideas for Game Based Learning

Students learn not only from participating in Game Based Learning through already marketed commercial and internet games, but also by creating their own or playing user-generated ones.

The beauty about Game Based Learning is that it is application to any learning area and any purpose. Game Based Learning can range from simple, traditional to creative, complicated and sole digital: Some ideas:

  • Coding a skill and drill game in Scratch 3.0 (https://scratch.mit.edu/)

  • Creating 3D shapes in Tinker and Minecraft Ed (https://education.minecraft.net/) to measure volume & capacity

  • Exploring number patterns on a number chart or using BeeBot

  • Recreating worlds from books or real world places /Biomes in Minecraft Ed or Second Life (https://secondlife.com/)

  • Writing a choose-your-own-adventure story using Slides or Google Forms

  • Exploring ideas like sustainability and solving sustainability and budgeting problems in Electrocity (http://www.electrocity.co.nz/); Mysusthouse (http://www.mysusthouse.org/game.html); The Fish Game (https://cloudinstitute.org/fish-game)

  • Creating Free games on Classtools (https://www.classtools.net/)


Level Up!

The goal for educators to effectively integrate game based learning as a rich pedagogical practice requires:

  • careful planning

  • consideration of purpose task/s

  • application of learning goal

  • success criteria - what will be the determiner of student success?

  • the 'where to next' for the student.

The real trick also lies in choosing the right type of games that do not focus on developing skill through drill, but rather promoting games that “are open-ended and creative, rather than skill and drill or digital worksheets,” to promote higher order thinking, problem solving and creative thought through strategy (Jennings, 2014).


Listen to the podcast!

You can listen to the podcast here:


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