Introducing change like a new idea, routine, or workflow to anyone can be difficult. Since I started gamifying my classroom, I’ve learned some best practices for introducing gamification (or anything new, really) to students.
If you implement a change like gamification, don’t go back on it. You can tweak it, modify it, improve upon it, and add/remove parts, but don’t abandon it; persist and pivot is the name of the game.
Mollify loss aversion: Loss aversion refers to people’s tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains—losing $100 hurts more if I get to hold it first. Loss aversion can be avoided by starting gamification or new ideas at the start of the year. Students can’t get upset about a change in routine if gamification is part of the routine from the beginning.
Onboard new ideas: Onboarding, like loss aversion, is another game mechanic we can use to smoothly implement change. Onboarding is the act of integrating people with new ideas.
Let them play: Any time you introduce a new idea or technology to anyone, let them play with it. Structured and unstructured play are valuable learning techniques.
Share success stories: Whenever possible, highlight success stories in your gamified class. If someone hit a new level or earned a new achievement, tell the class about it. If a student has created something awesome with the new edtech you introduced, let them share it. The more success stories you can show, the more students will be able to imagine themselves being successful.
Allow for diverse feedback: Give students a diverse, productive way to voice what they like, what they don’t like, and what they would like to change or add to your class. Differentiate your methods of feedback and you will find the hidden gems of wisdom that your students have for your class.
Chris Aviles is the 21st century skills, technology, and innovation coordinator for the Fair Haven (NJ) School District. Read more at www.techedupteacher.com.