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Notes on Gamification in Early Years

Why do we play?

* Impressive number of studies on serotonin and oxytocin release during game and gamification engagement

* Psychological studies have shown that gamers often experience altruistic encounters in video games, as more experienced players help “newbies”.

* Being there without being there (simulation)

  • * Have fun!

 

What is Gamification?

Overlaying Game Mechanics onto real-world scenarios or activities. Gamification practices strive to influence people’s sense of competition, challenge, status, achievement and accomplishment. Providing approaches for collaboration, meaningful choices, assistive tutorials, increased challenges and narrative as well as system benefits such as marketing, customer retention and metrics for analysis.

Gamification is already used in education. Teachers often give out stickers or certificated for achievement. There could be class leaderboards and house points, and some schools still have inter-class competitions. How have you used Gamification? How do you think the ideas mentioned above could be delivered digitally?

There are two concepts to consider in Gamification;

  • Game Dynamics
  • Game Mechanics

Game Mechanics are the objects within the game and their relationships with each other. Game Dynamics are the behaviours that occur when the mechanics are used.

How does it work?

* Achievement – You can show this through design elements like a high score table, progress bar or a digital badge

* Competition – There should be an element of competition for the user either against themselves to beat a personal best, a computer opponent or a real opponent

* Fun – Your gamification design should have an element of fun, after all, that is the essence of any game. There is a difficult balance in making a game accessible for anyone to use, but with enough challenge to keep the user motivated, while maintaining the fun (see Candy Crush app for a good example)

Who is playing?

* Average age of gamers in the UK – 57% players in the UK are male and 43% female. The largest single age/gender demographic is 15-24 year-old males (www.ukie.org.uk )

* Mobile games have a lot to answer for – 47% of UK smartphone owners use apps on their phones to play games – more than use apps for online banking (40%) or reading the news (33%) (www.ukie.org.uk )

* University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine what to avoid ‘default mode error’ and increase problem-solving by offering 3 plausible solutions to consider

* Financial service creating games to teach risk-assessment

Gamification in Early Years?

Under the title of ‘Understanding the World’, the UK Early Years Foundation stages curriculum does include expectations that children will be able to engage with technology. But we need to go further than that to ready them for 21st Century Pedagogy.

As much as I hate the need to label generational trends, Tootell et al (2014) discuss Generation Alpha as the new crop of young people coming through our early year’s programmes across the world. A generation that is not only naturalised to technology but also is comfortable with the concept of ‘connection’, expecting technology to support their social infrastructure.

Tootell et al (2014) go on to state that technology has a role in play and can act as a medium for aspects of scaffolding. Nolan and McBride (2014) noted that when children play at home it is unstructured with no external set of rules. We need to be careful when implementing Gamification that we do not trample over this autonomous play, as once observed or playing to set rules children’s behaviour alters. We need to create play-based environments that allow freedom and a level of privacy if the children are to develop independently and return to the game.

In addition, integrating development of digital literacy opportunities in early years allows us to support those pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and ensure that we narrow the gap with those with more resources (Zevenbergen, 2007).

Nolan and McBride (2014) warn that we need to continue to critically study play and gamification in early years to ensure that we are not subjected to behaviourist frameworks and joyless play.

Elements of  Gamification

* Scenarios
* Challenges
* Rewards / Level up
* Feedback
* Chance to Fail
* Social

Potential Tools

References:

My Presentation: https://prezi.com/view/xXZdYywk2eGrIILOxX0R/ 

Nolan, J. & McBride, M. (2014). Beyond Gamification: reconceptualizing game-based learning in early childhood environments. Information, Communication and Society, 17(5) 594-608

Tootell, H., Freeman, M. & Freeman, A. (2014). Generation Alpha at the intersection of technology, play and motivation. 47th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science.

Zevenbergan, R. (2007). Digital Natives come to play school: implications for early childhood practice. Contemporary Issues in Early Years Childhood 8(1), 19-29

Keep an eye on the EasyPeasy: Learning Through Play project funded by the EEF

 

Method: Critical Discourse Analysis

I have been working with undergraduates, exploring Critical Discourse Analysis as a method to critique government policy. They have found it a mindset change from the more traditional structure of research, but they enjoyed the detective work of finding out who wrote the policy, who was the audience and who were the hidden voices. We used Huckin’s Framework for Critical Discourse Analysis (Grbich, 2013), which splits the evaluation into two parts, Identifying and Interpretation. It maybe something you want to explore in your research. You can see CDA in action in article on my website at: http://www.richardnelsononline.co.uk/blog/archives/767

HE Assessment Conference – 28/29 June 2017 – Manchester

I recently attended the Assessment in Higher Education Conference in Manchester, hosted by the University of Cumbria. There was a large selection of presentations and workshops from across the University Sector in the UK, Europe, USA and Austrialia.
The first session I attended discussed the use of ‘Concepts inventories’ as assessment of learning gain – University of British Columbia

They explained how they had moved from lectures to more inquiry based learning – Justified through the development of skills

The University of British Columbia used the following framework:

1. Formulate the question
2. Lead them to resources and compile evidence – come up with proposal
3. Evaluate information and synthesise

Students worked in groups of 4 and the content is not fixed, therefore assessment an issue. Muli-faceted assessment had to be implemented, as they cannot rely on exam.

First year students – like doing a full scale research – with a group

1. Use online information and quizzes to support development and formative feedback.
2. Oral proposal and discussion (assessed similar to presentation)
3. Assessed via individual articles
4. Exam specific to their topic areas

The exam is made up of a concept inventory – with built in distractors (wrong answers) built around the common misconceptions – based on confidence in content handling.

There is a need for repeating the performance (soft skills) – cannot just do it in the module. Enhancing digital literacy and employability through portfolios assessment

 
Dawn Nicholson Manchester Met University (Geography)

Manchester Met made used of wordpress to develop a portfolio. However, they did suffere from lack of engagement in the weekly tasks as the driver in the use of eportfolios.

They had a dedicated learning technologist in a weekly workshop to support students.
Used Trello as a step-by-step guide
Belbin team roles as a spreadsheet (!)

Same issues and benefits as we found.
– They made the students make the tutor adminstrator so the tutor could see any changes made and the development of the portfolio.

* -Sloane university used wordpress and said that they used a screencast of the learner talking through the wordpress site and submitted that.
* Perhaps we could get our Masters/BA dissertation students to screencast their proposals?

Question:
– Consitency menu/content created/uploaded by the students e.g. Structure/template?
– Any issues of rigour in academic writing? Plagiarism?
– How did you get through uni regulations?

 

 

Using posters for formative and summative assessment

Little empirical research on the use of posters for assessment (Sadler, 1989) – lots of how-to-guides and reports on innovation. Issues raised include student puzzlement and rigour.

Sadler states that students need to see a concept of the work looks like and the criteria to allow them to reach that standard. The lecturer offered three models of posters; one graded at 50%, one at 60% and one at 70%

They used them on a Introduction long thin module- component 1: poster submitted after first term. The topic was to based on a particular article or book. Supported by component 2: an essay.

Last year’s issues – LOs not clear, Students found it an issue to choose a topic and they had not been given a chance to practice.

This year:
* Explained the role of posters
* Be clear poster format
* Session on how to actually read a journal article
* 4 articles on 3 themes
* Students worked in a group to produce a formative poster on 2 articles
* Poster workshop 1 min pitch
* Seminar discussion
* Whole group feedback comments on posters strength and weaknesses
* Must have clear grading criteria in advance
* Students continued to ask how much text and detail is needed – need to emphasise the KEY ISSUES
The department covered the printing costs

Gamification overview for NQTs


Summary Note:

Why do we play?

Impressive number of studies on serotonin and oxytocin release during game and gamification engagement – there is research linked to Mine’s work.

Psychological studies have shown that gamers often experience altruistic encounters in video games, as more experienced players help “newbies”.

Being there without being there (simulation)

Creativity, creative thinking and problem solving – competition AND Socialising

 

What is Gamification?

Overlaying Game Mechanics onto real world scenarios or activities

 

Principles of Gamification

• Achievement
You can show this through design elements like a high score table, progress bar or a digital badge

• Competition
There should be an element of competition for the user either against themselves to beat a personal best, a computer opponent or a real opponent

• Fun
Your gamification design should have an element of fun, after all that is the essence of any game. There is a difficult balance in making a game accessible for anyone to use, but with enough challenge to keep the user motivated, while maintaining the fun (see Candy Crush app for a good example)

Does it exist? Is it just good learning design?

‘Crap LMS overlaid with crap gamification just won’t cut it any more!’ – @donaldclark

 

Who is playing games?

Average age of gamers in the UK – 57% players in the UK are male and 43% female. The largest single age/gender demographic is 15-24 year-old males (www.ukie.org.uk )

Mobile games have a lot to answer for – 47% of UK smartphone owners use apps on their phones to play games – more that use apps for online banking (40%) or reading the news (33%) (www.ukie.org.uk )

University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine what to avoid ‘default mode error’ and increase problem solving by offering 3 plausible solutions to consider

Financial service creating games to teach risk-assessment

There are a couple of examples of early years research from the Australia (Tootell and Freeman) and Canada (Nolan and McBride)
What are the elements of Gamification?

• Scenarios
• Challenges
• Rewards / Level up – Jacqui’s was better, you are a level 2 origami master
• Feedback – OfSTED handbook ‘planning next steps’
• Chance to Fail – developing resilience
• Social – connected to other children and adults

You can see how these link to the neural level, as mentioned by Mine

4 mistakes – too many rewards, doesn’t fulfil learning objectives, focuses only on competition, game mechanics are faulty.
How do we apply Gamification to learning?

Scenario-based pedagogy / Experiential pedagogy / Role-play

Recording the 3D elements of play in early years – avoiding intervention

Parental engagement

You must strike a balance between behaviourist/extrinsic gaming and cognitive/intrinsic gaming
Tools to use
– ClassDojo (www.classdojo.com )
– Kahoot (https://getkahoot.com )
– SMS-based games (Aberdeen University, Bradford College)
– Learning Management Systems or Virtual Learning Environments

Issues:
• Time consuming to set up
• Maintaining motivation
• Fun vs Learning
Further Reading:

Dichev, C. and Dicheva, D. (2017). Gamifying Education: what is known, what is believed and what remains uncertain: a critical review. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 14(9) 1-36

Dominguez, A. Saenz-de-Navarrette, J., De-Marcos, L., Fernandez-Sanz, L., Pages, C. and Martinez-Harraiz, J. (2013). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers & Education 63 380-392

Hamari, J., Koivisto, J. and Sarsa, H. (2014). Does Gamification work? A literature review of the empirical studies on Gamification, in Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS

Kapp, K. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education. San Fransisco: Pfeiffer

Turan, Z., Avinc, Z., Kara, K. and Goktas, Y. (2016). Gamification in Education: Achievements, Cognitive Loads and Views of Students. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning 11(7) 64-69

Richardnelsononline.co.uk on gamification in education – http://www.richardnelsononline.co.uk/blog/lessons/gamification-in-education

Gamification in maths – http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/a-case-study-in-gamification/

Gamification Neuroscience to reduce decision error -https://elearningindustry.com/gamification-research-results-gamification-neuroscience-reduce-decision-error-build-learning-community

Business simulation game – https://elearningindustry.com/press-releases/advantexe-launches-new-digital-board-game-business-simulation

Gamification mistakes – https://elearningindustry.com/game-over-4-gamification-mistakes

Make games using PHASER – http://phaser.io/download

ClassDojo – www.classdojo.com

Kahoot -https://getkahoot.com

Reading list – https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B_9PyHbXDGJhbWZHSk1OSFd2YnM