Games are fun. Everyone remembers their favourite childhood games - Monopoly, Knock-a-door-run, DOOM, Chess, Football Manager, 1-Touch-1-Bounce, Manhunt, Kiss-Chase...the list could go on for me.
If we could somehow bring that element of fun, competition and enjoyment into the classroom, we would probably increase engagement & ultimately improve outcomes - two of the big things we are all fighting to do. One of the best examples I have seen of this notion of gamification was a social experiment done in Sweden, seen in the video below. Essentially, in a train station, there was an escalator and a set of stairs to walk up. Hardly anyone walked up the stairs. That was until they changed the normal steps for piano keys - now when you climb the stairs, you play a tune. The result? 60% more people used the stairs. Lesson? If we make it fun, more people engage with it.
All we need is a way to do this in education...
This Finnish technology company are trying to reorganise learning environments to show that learning doesn’t have to be static or mundane. In fact, it should be active, dynamic and fun. The ecosystem allows users to create learning games as a means of increasing engagement and developing physical activity - no small feats in themselves.
Directly from Seppo's website, they state:
"New way of learning combines experiential, project-based learning and utilising technology in a real-life environment. The 21st century skills, such as problem solving, creativity, teamwork, and sharing your know-how are an integral part of the learning process of Seppo games. Seppo's game pedagogy is to teach in a way that inspires and motivates students. It gets players on the move, which also makes the brain work better."
Practically, there are two main types of game 'board': live GPS map or a static image (that you make dynamic with the learning activities!). I will deal with both in turn.
The Live GPS Map Board
Players visit different places on the map and are faced with challenges or activities when they reach the correct point (a task is indicated with a pin - these are pink on the image above).
Hovering over the pin reveals the name of the place and task. Clicking the pin opens up the questions/ability to edit (when in instructor mode) and then there are types of questions and ways to answer it (upload photo/video/audio/document).
The Static Image Board
The key difference with this type of board is that it can be played indoors and it tends to be more of a base from which all tasks and activities can be 'sent'. In the example above, the 'pins' are about different body systems and there are embedded videos, quizzes and question sets about each system.
What makes this app so useful though is the ability to make it a competitive game - adding points and a subsequent team leaderboard adds the incentive that many students need (there is a plethora of evidence that suggests that boys particularly need competition). Points could be awarded in any way but I like the idea that the quality of the work/selfie/answers can lead to rewards (even intrinsic ones like winning!)
In no way am I an expert at this - making the game boards isn't always time-efficient but the engagement factor seems it will be worth it in the long run. I would love to hear how other schools are using it. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @theedutechpro to share your ideas.
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