Unit Two: Explore: What does Gamification look like?


Return to: ETAP 623 Fall 2019 (Zhang) | Gammification and Language Learning | Leslie's Profile

Learning Objectives

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At the end of unit two, participants will be able to classify gamification, by exploring and defining examples of game based learning. Participants will have the opportunity to identify examples of gaming that can be implemented in their content areas. Through watching a TED talk and reading an article where both highlight how gamification is implemented, participants will discuss how gamification has it’s benefits based on both resources.

Participants will be able to investigate and search for applications they are familiar with and begin thinking of ways to use these application or learning tools in a gamified lesson or activity. Collaboratively, students will add to the discussion board their ideas and findings.


As we enter unit two, you are now familiar and have discussed what gamification is and how it can be present in the classroom but also its presence now in day to day activities. We now have seen how gamification is a process and not a gaming system. Gamification is a strategy to help promote student motivation and drive to achieve success in their learning process.

In our understanding of gamification, in this unit, we are looking into how gamification works and how it is effective and successful in the classroom. In an article, “9 Things that Educators should know about Gamification”, Matthew Lynch covers the ways gamifying your lessons can benefit your students but it can be applied to not only the classroom but also even professional development for teachers. Some points he highlights are...

  1. Gamification in education may optimize the brain’s processing of new information.
  2. Gamification in education can improve motivation and engagement.
  3. Gamification modifies the brain’s reward and pleasure center and ameliorates learning.
  4. Gamification benefits struggling students.

Before your continue on to the learning activity of this unit, watch the following TED talk of Paul Andersen and how he designs his classroom into a game. Focus on what he highlights in his talk and what are the key things to keep in mind as your implement gamification in your classrooms. As your finish the video, post your reaction to his ideas on the discussion board.

Here are two guiding questions to think about as your watch.

  • What are some learning elements Paul focuses on in his presentation?
  • What are your thoughts on the idea of failure in our students and even as educators?

About Paul Andersen Paul Andersen has been teaching science in Montana for the last eighteen years. He explains how he is using elements of game design to improve learning in his AP Biology classroom. Paul's science videos have been viewed millions of times by students around the world. He was the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year and he is currently a science teacher at Bozeman High School. For more information on Paul's work visit http://www.bozemanscience.com.

Paul Andersen has been teaching high school science in Montana for the last seventeen years. He has been teaching science on YouTube for the last three years. Paul began his career teaching all the science classes at a small rural school in northern Montana. Paul is currently an AP Biology teacher and technology mentor at Bozeman High School. Paul uses technology and game mechanics to increase engagement in his classroom. Paul is the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year and was one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year.

Learning Activities

In the TedTalk video with Paul Andersen, he highlights areas in the classroom that could benefit from implementation of gaming strategies. He highlights that students want to be engaged and have fun, but there also needs to be a sense of growth for the student as well as the teacher. Being able to fail and learn from our mistakes is where real growth occurs. The question is how do we give those failures and learning opportunities so that students reflect on their learning progress? Gamification allows for no just educators to access these learning opportunities, but also anyone really in any growth environment, be it personal or professional.

In this units readings, focus and discuss not only the benefits in your class, gamification would have, but also ideas on how you would implement gamified lessons in your content area. Read the following articles and respond on the discussion board your thoughts and ideas. Follow the guiding discussion questions below.

Unit Readings

Increasing Student Intrinsic Motivation And Self-Efficacy Through Gamification Pedagogy by James Banfield and Brad Wilkerson


5 ways to gamify your classroom by Michele Haiken

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are your thoughts on the impact gamification could make on your class based on the diverse population of learners in class?
  2. What is a value would gamified lessons bring to your profession as well as quality of learning in your classroom?
  3. In your opinion, do you see gamified lessons successful in your content area? How and why?


As we conclude unit two, we have seen what gamification looks like when applied to education. We have discussed in our opinion how success is achieved and what that looks like for our students. As we are now more familiar with the strategy, in the upcoming unit, we will be looking at a sample gamified activity and break down what works and what does not.

Begin thinking about how you plan to gamify a lesson and what activities you could do that instill the strategies of gamification.

Click here for Unit Three: Connect and Discuss Gamification Strategies