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Gamification of Safeguarding teaching in Teacher Education


2002 (Wikipedia, online) and has come to mean the use of gaming mechanics in everyday tasks (Erenli, 2013). The concept is to use the ‘fun’ and ‘addictive’ quality of games, in particular computer games, to create a more immersive learning environment that users find of value and enjoy participating in. Gamification has been applied in a number of scenarios, including organisational staff development, marketing and user-interaction via the Internet. An example of Gamification is (who encourage users to gain points and rewards for leaving and sharing reviews).

Gamification in education aims to enhance the learning experience through embedding game mechanics into courses and modules, encouraging students to play the games without being obviously aware that learning is taking place. The ideal would be a game in which there is the required depth of learning and students enjoyed repeatedly returning to play.

Many examples of Gamification use solitary learning in the game to develop skills and knowledge. However, I am keen to explore the expansion of game mechanics to include a social learning element. Taking into consideration Dewey’s theory of social learning, the students will gain a much richer experience in shared learning. As the focus of the game development in this research is pastoral care, sharing ideas and supporting each other as professionals will be key elements.

There is little recorded use of Gamification in Initial Teacher Training courses, and I believe there is a lot of scope to include this concept in a number of modules. This research would focus on the teaching of pastoral care and the understanding of safeguarding of young and vulnerable learners. I hypothesis that it can be difficult for trainee teachers to fully engage with pastoral and safeguarding procedures until they exposed to specific scenarios; participating in gamification of this topic will allow trainees to engage through interactive simulation and then be able to recall the correct procedures more accurately, with confidence.

This concept could be expanded to include other modules such as Learning Theory, Curriculum Design and Subject Specialist Pedagogy. It could also be expanded to curriculum in other departments.

The research will be taking place in the Teacher Education Department and will be in conjunction with Learning Services and FE/HE Computing.

The participants in the research will be students on teacher education course from across the sector and will include a wide range of previous educational experiences and academic levels. The students on the Post-Graduate Diploma in Education and Certificate in Education and Training have a spikey profile of previous academic achievement. All these students will have work experience whilst on their course and this allows this research to have the scope of studying if the use of Gamification in education is viable in their particular sector.

Research Journal – 11th March 2015

I have been reading around the subject of e-safety and how this relates to safeguarding students. There are a number of websites and journal articles on how schools and colleges can deal with e-safety issues. These include:

Bennet, T. (2011) Cyberbullying – some practical advice for teachers [online] TES

Stop Cyberbullying (n.d.) Prevention of Cyberbullying [online]

I have also examined a number of different gamification and Serious Game platforms to host the e-safety game. There are a number of platforms that focus on motivating students and staff and rearding the completion of tasks. However, none seem to be as flexible as my initial thoughts on using an SMS system. This would mean I would need to build the game mechanics myself. Another system that I will look into is Articulate Storyline. This software supports the development of interative digital resources, and these can be run on a variety of different mobile devices.

Research Journal – 18th March 2015

I have been reading an excellent book on research design by Robson (2011). He clearly discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different methods. He does focus on smaller research projects, but the descriptions and examples are very accessible. He also raises a number of questions that need addressing during the research design process.

The chapter on Fixed Design was particularly pertinant to this research, as he discussed the pros and cons to different methods. Robson spends some time exploring Quasi-experiments and discussing their pros and cons. This was a method I was interested in using for this research. However, he does raise some issues with this method that may be difficult for me to overcome.

I think I need to discuss this with a colleague to get a different prespective on this. My plan is to carry out a pre-test post-test non-equivalent group method. This would mean testing two groups about their previous knwoledge and then test them afterwards to see if there was any improvement. The two different groups would just be used to discuss any anomolies or significance, and not directly compared as you would in a true experiment.

I will also carry out a post-test focus group to discuss the groups preception of the activity and if they found it helpful. This will enable me to switch to a case-study method if the quai-experiment does not work out.

Robson, C. (2011) Real World Research. (3rd Ed) West Sussex: WIley & Sons Ltd.

Research Journal – 17th March 2015

I am going to focus the game on the following themes:

Calling Names:

Nabeela has talked to you about someone on Twitter has been calling her names.

Sharing Personal Data:

Simon has disclosed that someone has been sharing his mobile number of Facebook


Jane’s ex-boyfriend has been following her around and bragging about it via text messages and Faceboook.


Farah has said that someone has threatened to rape her via snapchat

The initial game mechanics are looking a little like this:

Start with 0 Student Perseption of Course (SPOC) points and 20 students

Level 1
Calling names
1 SPOC point for a correct decision
Lose 4 students for every wrong move
level up on 10 SPOC points
Game over if all students are lost

Do not reset points or number of students

Level 2
Sharing Personal Data
2 SPOC point for a correct decision
Lose 6 students for every wrong move
level up on 20 SPOC points
Game over if all students are lost

Do not reset points or number of students

Level 3
3 SPOC point for a correct decision
Lose 8 students for every wrong move
level up on 30 SPOC points
Game over if all students are lost

Do not reset points or number of students

Level 4
4 SPOC point for a correct decision
Lose 10 students for every wrong move
level up on 40 SPOC points
Game over if all students are lost


Jan 2015

Disucuss this work with Safeguarding team at college we highlighted a number of topics to explore to support trainee teachers.

  • Bullying
  • Sexual Explotation
  • Prevent
  • e-Safety

We agreed that with it’s complexities and conotations that e-Safety would be a good topic to tackle.

Gamification of Research Methods

At an HE Academy event 9th July 2014 – a group of us discussed an outline for a game to teach research methods.

We considered aspects of a game that would include reward, level up and challenge.


  1. Develop a research question
  2. Identify research methods
  3. Link the research methods to the question
  4. Link data collection to the methods


  • Current VLE

Level 1:

  • Recap on developing a research question
  • Multi-choice question

Level 2:

  • Submit research question
  • Peer assessed (by 3 others)

Level 3:

  • Methods recap
  • Mix and Match activity on methods

Level 4:

  • Submit discussion linking question to methods
  • voted
  • moderation

Level 5:

  • Submit discussion on linking data collection to the chosen methods
  • voted
  • moderation

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