Gamification in Education
Games, including team sports, video games, kids' games like Hide-and-Seek, card games, and even Solitaire are compelling to players because of the psychological needs they help satisfy in engaging and entertaining ways. According to research, this can include the feelings of:
  • Competence - Mastery of situations, feeling successful, and progressing and growing in knowledge and accomplishments
  • Autonomy - Feeling independent and having certain amounts of control over actions
  • Relatedness - Feelings of belonging, mattering to others, and making contributions to society
In this newsletter we explore the characteristics of games that can be utilized in classrooms to increase the academic, social, and psychological engagement of all students.

computer screen shot shown in front of an iphone. On both images are avatars from DoJo_ graphs_ and names
About Gamification

Gamification is the process of using game-like elements in non-game contexts such as business, physical exercise, and education to increase engagement and learning. In the classroom, elements such as point scoring, competition with others, rules of play, status and achievement are features that can be utilized to motivate students to achieve learning and behavioral objectives.  ClassDojo , featured in the image, is an example where the elements of student created avatars, points, and a reward system help recruit the interest of students to create and monitor their own academic, social, and attendance goals. 

Learn more about gamification :
four students sitting at four desks pushed together. each student is holding up a whiteboard
Tips and Strategies

Classrooms don't need to be high-tech to increase achievement and engagement through gamification . There are several low-tech features that can be paired with existing classroom lessons and curriculum to recruit interest, challenge students, and provide opportunities for collaboration. 
  • Provide student choice - Engage students in helping to design game features that can be incorporated into lessons.
  • Create quests - Combine multiple assignments into quests in which students earn experience points. Allow multiple attempts at completing quests, without penalty for failure.
  • Provide opportunities for competition - Team competition can foster collaborative problem-solving and communication and individual competition can motivate a student to learn from mistakes.
  • Post leaderboards - Using avatars or other anonymous identifiers on a visible leaderboard can motivate students to move up the ranks to the next achievement level and provides a method of self-monitoring towards goals. 
Teachers should provide enough flexibility in the design of game features to ensure all students have a pathway to success.

   More information and resources:
screen shot from scribblenauts. shows a cartoon backdrop of mountains and trees and in the foreground are a chef_ a fireman_ a police man_ and a doctor
Technology Resources

Educational concepts, when paired with virtual simulations and interactive game play that includes features such as rules, role play, point scoring, and achievement, can provide a creative solution to engaging all students in content curriculum. 

  • Scribblenauts Remix - - Featured in image . Apple and Android app that supports critical thinking and vocabulary. Given simple and complex problems, the student must help the avatar think  of objects that will lead to the solution and receive rewards
  • Dragonbox  - - Collection of Apple and Android apps for math grades K-12. Includes number sense, basic operations, algebra, and geometry. Through strategic thinking and by solving math problems, students earn resources that can be traded to unlock new worlds
  • Kahoot ! - - Web-based, Apple and Android app that promotes learning and engagement in a game show atmosphere. Students or teams compete for points in teacher or student created quizzes and games
  • Ha bitica  - - Web-based program that promotes self-directed goal setting by allowing students to gamify  any area of their life. The open format lets students create goals for task completion, academic achievement, behavior, fitness, and more. Students create unique avatars and receive status and random rewards based on progres
  • Carmen Sandiego Returns - Apple app produced by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Players must decipher clues and capture villains while traveling around the globe. Each mission provides historical and geographical facts.  Learn more by visiting Houghton Mifflin Harcourt or iTunes
Although not all games are designed accessible , assistive technology such as switch systems can provide access for students with disabilities. 

More resources:

Tools, Tips & Resouces Teachers Must Know to Learn About Gamification of Education - 
Video: Gamification in Education

In this short video, the narrator explores the research behind the book "Gamification of Instruction and Learning" by Karl Kapp. Content includes a focus on classroom and game design that incorporates such elements as problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.

Connecting the Technology and Learning
three clipart persons holding up gears that are interlocking with one another
Gamification  features integrated into a universally designed classroom can promote increased engagement and achievement for all students. When designing lessons and activities with these elements consider:
  • Do gamification features support the learning goals?
  • Will the features help to recruit the interest and sustain effort for all students?
  • Are rules available in formats that all students can understand?
  • What resources are available for students to track their progress such as experience points, differing levels, or leaderboards ?
  • Are there pathways for students of varying strengths and weaknesses to achieve success?
  • Are there opportunities for students to work on essential skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving?

Family Café
The Family Café is taking place June 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. This annual conference provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities, families, service providers, and community members to come together and share a wealth of information through keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and an exhibit hall. For more information or to register visit 

More upcoming event and conference information is available on the Technology & Learning Connections  events page
This resource was funded through the Bureau of Exceptional Education  and Student Services with IDEA Part B dollars. The information and  resources are provided as a free awareness service to the educational  community and do not reflect any specific endorsement by any parties  involved .