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Gamify Your Classroom

A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning – Revised edition


Matthew Farber

This completely revised and expanded field guide is packed with new innovative ideas on how to implement game-based learning and gamification techniques in everyday teaching. With nearly two dozen more experts than the first edition, this book contains interviews with more than 70 authorities in the field, including academics such as James Paul Gee, Kurt Squire, Mizuko (Mimi) Ito, Lee Sheldon, Jordan Shapiro, and Mary Flanagan. The author also shares conversations with experts from numerous organizations such as Common Sense Media, iCivics, DragonBox, Connected Camps, GlassLab Games, Schell Games, Institute of Play, Games for Change, BrainPOP, Tiggly, Toca Boca, ThinkFun, BrainQuake, Filament Games, BreakoutEDU, Kahoot, Classcraft, and more. Featuring a new introduction, as well as a foreword from USA Today’s national K-12 education writer Greg Toppo, this book provides new practical lesson plan ideas, ready-to-use games, and links for further research in each updated chapter. Included are best practice recommendations from star game-based learning teachers, including Steve Isaacs, Peggy Sheehy, Michael Matera, Rafranz Davis, Zack Gilbert, and Paul Darvasi. Regardless of your teaching discipline or grade level, whether you are new to game-based learning or if you have experience and want to take a deeper dive, this book will engage and reinvigorate the way you teach and how your students learn!

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Chapter 11. Gamification


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I could drink coffee almost anywhere, yet I often frequent Starbucks. When I enter a store, I am greeted with the smell of freshly ground coffee and hipster music. The machines behind the counter are positioned to enable the baristas to face the customers. I can pay for my drink using the Starbucks app on my iPhone: All I have to do is shake the phone at the register. In exchange for purchasing coffee, I am awarded stars. The hope is that I level up from green stars to gold stars. The app includes other free rewards every week, such as a song from iTunes or a free app. There is even the fun mechanic of shaking my phone to pay. The store is filled with positive aesthetics, and I am moved along with a reward system (stars). Clearly there is more at work here than just a cup of coffee.

Visitors to websites and mobile apps may find progress bars encouraging completion of online profiles and badges to reward behaviors. This is known as gamification. Gamification is “interactive online design that plays on people’s competitive instincts and often incorporates the use of rewards to drive action—these include virtual rewards such as points, payments, badges, discounts, and free gifts; and status indicators such as friend counts, re-tweets, leader boards, achievement data, progress bars, and the ability to level up” (Anderson & Rainie, 2012). Designer of apps often mix...

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