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Gamification In The Classroom

How the incorporation of gaming into classroom instruction has benefited the field of education.

Molly Potter, Michelle Puente, Sean Lynch, & KC Finfrock

Computer Class


What is it?

According to Michelle Halken, “Gamification is about transforming the classroom environment and regular activities into a game. It requires creativity, collaboration and play. There are numerous ways to bring games and game playing into the classroom to promote learning and deepen student understanding of subject matter” (Halken, 2021).

Gamification In The Classroom

This video discuss how gamification can be implemented in the classroom as well as explains the elements of gamification and the benefits of incorporating gamification into the classroom.


Commonly Asked Questions About Gamification In The Classroom

What is Gamification?

According to John McCarthy, "In education, gamification is intended to transform traditional lessons into an enhanced learning experience in which students can earn badges and status benefits by playing games that help them to explore and practice content. Though it may seem extrinsic, the true rewards come from the students' internal drive to study content, gain depth of understanding, and master material that leads to badges, achievements, and status" (McCarthy, 2021).

How Do We Implement Gamification Into The Classroom?

According to Maria Fernanda Hoyos from Cambridge University, teachers can implement gamification into the classroom by adding games that contain the following features into their lesson plans: 

  • "Goals: A mission or an objective the player must achieve or solve. 

  • Badges for achievements: Every time a player reaches a milestone they get a medal or badge, which makes the students motivated to get more.

  • Progress bars and leader boards: This shows a player’s position and how much is remaining for them to achieve a goal.

  • Rules: Guidelines and limits for the players during a game, challenging them to be creative and develop strategies to win. 

  • Levels: Each challenge or activity becomes more difficult as the players unlock goals or continue to the next level. 

  • Rewards, points, and second chances: When collecting medals, points or objects, some games provide a new tool, superpower, immunity or even an extra life they can use in the future

  • The story, plot, setting, characters, and role-play: Includes a storyline with characters and different settings where the events take place.

  • Choices: Make decisions and, depending on their choice, they face different challenges. 

  • Competition, cooperation, and challenges: Play against others or work as a team to overcome a shared goal.

  • Time: Add extra pressure to the game by including a time limit to complete the level or challenge" (Hoyos, 2020).

Is Gamification Useful?

Gamification is useful because it aids in cognitive development in adolescents, provides multiple paths to the goal, and allows students to feel safe about failing in the classroom. Lastly, it gives students the opportunity “level up” instead of receiving a good or bad grade, which gives students an incentive to succeed in school instead of working to just receive a grade.

Game Controller

Three Reasons Why All Teachers Should Gamify Their Classrooms:


Gamification provides multiple paths to the student's educational goals which keeps school exciting and new for the students


It allows students to feel safe about failing in the classroom. This will cause students to take more risks inside the classroom and create an environment that is conducive to an optimal learning environment for students.


Students can “level up” instead of receiving a good or bad grade. This will give students an incentive to succeed in school instead of working to just receive a grade. Gamification allows students to work and learn in school without worrying about receiving a bad grade. Instead, students can learn at their own pace while "competing" with their classmates.

Benefits of Gamification


Aids in the cognitive development of adolescents.


Aids in the physical development of young children.


Increases levels of engagement in the classroom.


Increases accessibility in the classroom. 


Gamification can aid in learning both inside and outside the classroom.

Source: Smithsonian Science Education Center

Gamification In Practice

A 2018 Finnish study on Gamification found that among the various features of gamification, points were the most common feature to be implemented in the classroom whereas penalties were the least common to be implemented in the classroom.

Green Board

Hear From Real Educators About How Gamification Has Changed Their Classrooms For The Better:

Educator 1: Scott Herbet 

In the video, "The Power of Gamification in Education," Scott Hebert, a middle school teacher in Fort Saskatchewan, Canada, explains the importance of implementing gamification into the classroom as the answer to the student engagement crisis that many schools are currently facing. 


Educator 2: Michael Matera

Michael Matera is an American educator that created the hit, seven season podcast, "Well PlayED," to teach educators how to implement game based learning into their classrooms.

Useful Websites To Help To Gamify Your Classroom: 

Khan Academy is a free educational resource for parents, students, and teachers that provides short online lessons and supplementary practices to help educate students in all academic subjects.

Quizlet is an educational resource for students and teachers that assists students with studying and learning. It provides students and teachers with digital flashcards, matching games, practice online assessments, and live review games. 

Kahoot is an educational resource that provides students and educators with fun user-generated multiple-choice quizzes that can be accessed at or on the Kahoot app. 

Waggle is an educational program that is designed to provide kindergarten through 8th grade students with personalized Language Arts and Mathematics practice and instruction. 

  Class Dojo is a classroom management and communication system that allows for educators to reward students, communicate with families, and teach social-emotional learning to kindergarten through 12th grade students. 

Doulingo is an educational app that is designed to help make learning a language fun and exciting! Students are tasked with completing short lessons to earn badges and unlock new levels.  

Additional Educational Websites / Activities

Useful websites to help implement gamification into the classroom:

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