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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Explore Like a Pirate - Dispelling the Myths of Gamification

This post is about Chapter 2 in the Explore Like a Pirate book study and linky. A big shout out to Rachael at Sweet Sweet Primary for this great idea! 

Chapter 2 is about Dispelling the Myths of Gamification. Going into this chapter, I definitely believed some of the myths so I'm happy that this chapter is working on clearing that up. Here are some of the myths that the chapter discussed:

Myth 1: Games are just for play. There is no challenge or academic rigor. 

Truth: Games are filled with a motivational complexity that can be used to shed light on topics and increase content acquisition. 

To me, this means that we're doing more than playing a game. When used correctly, we're using the structure of a game to teach and practice content. It's not all about board games, although you could use a board game!

The book cited an interesting statistic - "By the completion of high school, students will have completed 10,000 hours of gaming." So, if we incorporate that sense of adventure into our lessons there will be much more buy in!

He talks about starting with "playful planning". Meaning... take your content and play with ideas outside the box. This is done without kiddos as you try to wrap your head around teaching outside the box. Just remember the 3 C's - Content; choice, such as open ended game models; and challenges, such as unknown twists.

I can tell you right now that my head is already filled with all sorts of ideas! I can't wait to share them with you each week.

Myth 2: If I give them a badge or points my class will be gamified.

Truth: Combining the many elements of game mechanics helps create memorable experiences that push students well beyond the bounds of the traditional classroom.

To me, this means that badges and points aren't always motivators. If you don't have the buy in, then no one cares about earning badges or points. Gotta have that buy in first!

Myth 3: It's easy for you. It won't work for me because I teach ___________.

Truth: Gamification works for all grade levels, subject areas, and educational budgets.

To me, this means stop making excuses! If there's a will, there's a way. The question shouldn't be if you can do it, but how you can do it.

Myth 4: You need to be a gamer to gamify your classroom.

Truth: No.

Get creative!

Myth 5: Students should want to learn; I shouldn't have to dress it up.

Truth: Finding meaning in content unlocks our students motivation.

My opinion, yes and no. Students should want to learn, but I should also try to find ways that are interesting for me to teach, and in turn interesting for the students to learn. Everything can't be a game all day every day, but adding these fun elements bring the magic back into learning.

Myth 6: Gamification is just playing games.

Truth: It's more about the exploration of the course, content, and your crew than it is about playing games.

It really is more than just "playing around". It's a challenge to teachers to be creative, and it's engaging for the students. This results in a reduction in behavior problems because of increased engagement. To me, that sounds like a win-win!

Myth 7: Girls don't game.

Truth: Girls not only game - they dominate the world.

Gamification doesn't favor one gender over the other. I mean, who wouldn't want to go on an adventure and learn at the same time?

Myth 8: My classroom doesn't have enough technology to make this work.

Truth: Gamification can be high, low, or no tech.

Use technology if you want. Or don't. Use whatever you want!

It reminds me of kids playing in empty boxes. They don't always want the fancy new toy, they just want to use their imagination and go on an adventure. Why should this be any different?

Myth 9: Games in the classroom are too much about competition.

Truth: Positive competition can inspire collaboration and inspire students to do their best.

Every year when we play learning review games, we have the discussion that it's not about winning, but really about having fun. If you win, great. If you lose, don't worry about it. Did you have fun playing? That's all that really matters. You can't win every time, nor should you.

Are you ready to be a "pirate" and try something new and unknown? I definitely am! Check back next week as we discuss Chapter 3: New World, Old World. 


  1. Didn't the number of hours students spend gaming blow your mind?! I was shocked, although I probably shouldn't be. I like his idea of meeting them where they are at.

  2. I can't wait to see what creative things you come up with! Thanks for linking up!