Whilst engaging in professional discussions about students’ lack of confidence in speaking in front of an audience (and with speeches creeping up in Term 4), another teacher and I decided to do a joint gamification unit. The idea was to create a world in which students had to imagine their surroundings which would engage and motivate them.
We decided on the name, Andromeda. It was a planet that was recently discovered and it was the year 2056. Students had landed there as Earth was no longer viable for life. Students worked collaboratively in groups chosen by the teachers and had to negotiate and solve problems presented to them each week. Every Friday, the groups would present their solution to their problem and the rest of the class would then be open to ask critical questions. The team would have to respond in a way to justify their solution.
I think this gamification unit was very successful as all students were 100% engaged and motivated. The students had to really think creatively about how they could use limited, imaginary resources to solve their problem and this has significantly improved both their discussions now, in Term 4, as well as their writing. I have noticed a huge improvement in their writing because students are more aware of having to justify and explain their thinking in words.
As this was my first gamification unit, I was following in the footsteps of the other teacher, who acted as a mentor to me. As a result, I was still getting my head around the unit as it was happening. If I were to do this gamification unit again, I’d ensure that I documented more of the writing students were doing in this unit. I’d think about how I could integrate more of my curriculum areas into the unit: reading, writing, and art. This would give the unit more meaning and would possibly motivate and engage students more.