Gamification not only brings a fun aspect to class, but has the added advantage of involving all of the students, continually inspiring them and boosting their efforts.
Can you imagine learning Biology or Geology while surviving a zombie apocalypse? That’s what Zombiología (Zombiology) is all about, a project brought to us by professor Santiago Vallejo from the IES “Luis García Berlanga” from Guadalix de la Sierra (Madrid). The scenario is a Zombie epidemic, in which the students of 3º ESO (3rd year of High School) will have to survive according to concepts, abilities, and skills learned in Biology. The only way to pass Zombiología is by surviving. This project, finalist in the Gamification World Congress 2015, is one of the clearest examples of Gamification applied in the classroom. As opposed to being limited to textbooks, reiterating concepts for an exam, and later forgetting it all soon after, here the aim is to apply concepts from the subject to real-life situations.
For quite some time, this focus on fun has been practiced in the classroom and fit into the curriculum. Undoubtedly Gamification asks for more. It consists of using a fun activity to learn or to bring to the classroom the organisation or the rules of a game, with an objective to implicate the students or to offer them an alternate learning-style. For this, the pay off comes in carrying out certain tasks related to points, levels or rankings, boosting student’s effort, and self-assertion and collaboration.
Gamification is characterized by the immediate feedback created from rankings. For the educator Rosalie Ledda –whom we interview in the subsequent page–, “one of Gamification’s characteristics is its stimulous-response dynamic, that enables the students to know in real time how they are performing, and if they are doing better than one student or another; for the students, it’s a competition with themselves”.
José Carlos Cortizo, organiser of the Gamification World Congress, speaks of the lack of motivation that sometimes happens when teacher isn’t informing the students of their progress at the appropriate time: “The students don’t usually know their marks until the end of the year, whereas with gamification, they know right away how they are doing in their respective subjects”
In Zombiología, for example, through a points-system, virtual lives and money, the participation of each student in class is valued, and gives them immediate feedback. In this way, the students can be more aware of their successes and failures, modifying their decisions in time and maintaining their curiosity, optimism, motivation, and determination, in view of the difficulties they face on the way.
Wrote by Adrián Arcos.