Gamification,how it can work in the classroom

Dr. Z challenged us to come up with a way to gamify an assignment for our classrooms.  First, I had to figure out what it meant to gamify something.  I came to the conclusion that it is a way to change people’s behavior.   It is not simply making flashcards.  There is a leveling up or unlocking items etc.  There is some type of reward or chance of reward.

Here is a short video Dr. Z pointed out to us on Gamification:

Game Name:


Link to Game:

Go to

Username: sallysmith

Password: sally1


Children living at home who can do chores.  Could also be adapted for an elementary classroom setting.

Learning Goal(s) of the Game:

Responsibility.  Good hygiene.  Time management.

Game Description:  

  • Why you selected this theme/game:  
  • Tell about progressing through the game:
  • What will be the outcome of playing this game:
  • Include an explanation about how you incorporated
    • Experience Points,
    • Leveling Up,
    • Rewarding Mastery and
    • The Leaderboard

I do not have a classroom so I decided to gamify something for my own children that could also be used in a lower elementary classroom.  We struggle with chores in my house.  No one ever seems to make the time to get them done and it becomes a huge struggle when we make our four children do their chores.  So, this became my challenge.  I started working with Lisa Bindert using Chore Wars.  She has a great blog on how she is using this product in her highered classroom here.  It soon became obvious to me that my children were too young for this type of system.  I chose to use Chore Monsters for my little monsters.  The interface is appropriate for the age of my children which range from 6 – 10.  Chore Monsters made it into the news!


I was able to add a profile for each of my children so they have their own login.  I can assign a number of different chores to each child.  I get to add a personal note, a due date and assign a point value to the chore.  Below you can see I have a nice dashboard that shows how each child is doing.  I also have to approve the chores which is great because sometimes we disagree on when a chore is actually completed!


In the rewards section, I can assign different awards like a special treat, allowance or maybe you would want it to be a star on the class poster for a certain number of points earned.


In addition to the rewards I assign, they earn the opportunity to spin the big wheel.  So far, I have not seen a winning spin.  They also unlock little videos and different monsters in the program.


There was one aspect of gamification that was not included in this program.  I wanted to be able to let my children experience leveling up they would be more likely to do the ‘extra’ chores.  I made a poster with each of their names on it.  I keep track of their points on the poster.  It is hung up where they can all see it.  There are three levels that can be reached besides Rookie where they start.  Rookie, good little monster, super monster and Master Monster.  I expect each of them to get a minimum of 75 experience points per week:

Clean bedroom 3 times per week = 15, Homework = 50, Read extra 20 minutes = 10

They can get a payout (we are introducing an allowance type system with this) each week.  Rookie monsters do not get paid.  Good little monsters must reach the minimum of 75 points to receive 1.00 per week.  Super monsters must reach 85 receive 1.50 per week.  They can easily reach 85 by doing the smaller chores or doing one bigger chore like cleaning the basement. They can only reach a master level at the end of the month by accumulating at least 340 points for the 4 week period and they get a 5.00 bonus for the 4 week period.  To reach 340 points in a 4 week time period they must be at an intermediate level each week or if they are not at intermediate level one week, they must do extra in another week to make up the points. At the end of the 4 weeks, they start over.  This is a little different then most gamification I have seen because they start over at Rookie each week, but I think this will be the most motivating way to implement this for my children.  I think this is going to be enough incentive for them to want to do the chores, but if not, I might implement a challenge rewarding the person with the most points at the end of the month as the King with something special.

In the chart below, I have week one ready to be filled out.  I want to put a daily total on each week so they are forced to add up the days to figure out how many points they have and how many they still need to reach their goal for the week.  This will help them with their math skills.  I think they will add up each other’s scores to compete but if they do not, I may change this so I’m coloring in the line making it look more like a race in the future.


Directions for Playing the Game:

The child logins in daily to see what points are awarded for what chores for that day.  I have the ability to add chores as they are needed on a daily basis.  They will see the point value available with the chore.  To select one, they click on the image with the dust pan and brush for that chore.


Once they click on the chore, they can see any note I left for them and then they can click the thumbs up to claim that they completed the chore.  When I setup the chore, I have the option to automatically accept that they did it when they click the thumbs up or I can set it up so they can click the thumbs up but I have to approve it on my end before they are awarded the points.


The dashboard is always available at the top of the page and as discussed above, it allows the player to see:

Rewards: (currently staying up late, extra game playing time and hot chocolate with mom).  I probably could have used this to have them level up if I had worked it out correctly, but I wanted them to see who had the most points because they are competitive so I decided to use the poster board for leveling up.  In the future, I may change to a whiteboard so we do not waste paper.

Carnival – spin the wheel for a prize.

Theater – movie trailers.

Monster – unlock new monsters.


In addition to this, the children in my house will check the leaderboard to see who is in the lead and how many points they need to become a master cleaner.

So far, I have just been keeping track of Keely and seeing how this works and what the values of the chores should be.  I look forward to implementing it into our household and to watch chores become fun and rewarding.  My children will have fun while learning to manage their time so they can get this all done.  It stresses the importance of hygiene.  The kids fight brushing their teeth every night!  This could easily be used in your classroom for the chores you want students to do like picking up.  Or, it could be used to give points when you see good behavior.  There are many ways you could use this to make learning fun!  Please share how you have gamified your classroom!!


How to Engage Students and Receive Instant Feedback

On December 4th I had the honor of sitting in the classroom of a fantastic Psychology instructor’s classroom at Kirkwood Community College.  I wanted to observe how she was using Learning Catalytics in her course.   Learning Catalytics is a bring your own device system that allows instructors to ask over 18 different question types which takes this system beyond what the clicker system had to offer.  Judith Wightman adopted this technology after she experienced as a student in another class.  If you are looking for ways to engage your students and to focus your precious minutes with your students on the specific content they need, keep reading to see how Judith is using Learning Catalytics in her course.

The questions she delivered to the class were a review for the final exam.  She used the system throughout the semester, I just happened to visit class during the final review.  As the questions were delivered, she always told students which chapter the question came from so they could write down where they need to go in the book if they were not getting the answers correct.

She delivers the questions to their device without showing it on the main screen.  She waits until all students have submitted answers before showing results on big screen.   If you want the question to show on the main screen (projection) and on the student’s device, then you need to run the instructor portion from a second device such as an iPad.

Question 1 – 100% got it right so she did not review that topic further.

Question 2 – there were differences in answers.  She did not show the results but told them to discuss the answers with the people the system assigned.  There was an immediate buzz in the classroom.  I could hear students telling other students why some answers just didn’t make sense.  She opened it for round 2 and they answered again and when they did round 2 after discussion, everyone got it right.  She did a real quick review but the students had really taught each other.

Question 3 – almost everyone got it right so she did a quick review with an example without having the students talk to each other.

Question 4 – All students got it right.  It discussed one part of the brain.  She did a quick review of the other parts of the brain in the picture that were not covered in the question.

After question 4 she said it’s obvious students know chapter 1 and 2 so she would recommend not spending a lot of their time on that chapter when studying for the final exam.  She suggested to focus on: Chapters 12, 13, 14

Question 5 – Some got it wrong so they had to talk to the people the system assigned.  The students were not all with the same people they talked to about question 2.  Judith told them B and C were attractive so talk about what each of them are.  I saw one group that could not come up with the definition of each so they asked the group next to them.  The second group was happy to help the struggling group.

First round 56% got it right.  Second round 88% got it right.  She did a review on this question to make sure everyone understood it.

Question 6 – The most popular answer was an incorrect answer so they were to discuss it with the person the system assigned.  She did a more extensive explanation on the board of the concept.  The student I heard had a hard time coming to a conclusion when discussing in their group.
Round 1 24% correct.  Round 2 90% correct

Question 7 – 72% got it right.  28% got it wrong and all chose the same wrong answer so she clarified why that answer was the incorrect answer.

She didn’t get to 8, 9 and 10 because of time constraints so put them up quickly so they would have the question to review for the final.

Conclusion: Students were able to get an idea of where they needed to spend time studying for the final exam.  Sometimes they read things and think they understand but with this, they have to put an answer in and get feedback which confirms their knowledge or points out a need for more study.  The instructor is able to spend time reviewing the information the students need most.  During the school year the teacher can use this to drive all of the lecture content with the goal being a quick review on the reading students did before class and then moving onto applied or interactive activities.  It saves time by not covering what they already know and allows them to spend more time on the topics that caused confusion.  Students were engaged and had great conversations with each other about the different topics.  They were teaching each other through debate or instruction.

I asked two students sitting in front of me what they thought of Learning Catalytics:  “I like it a lot.  It’s an easy way to learn and quiz.  It’s more interactive.  So much better than just getting a sheet of paper.” Kirkwood Students

Have the students write down the session ID so if they accidentally close the program on their computer they can quickly log back in without disrupting the class.
She taped stickers on the back of the chairs with their chair numbers on them to be able to quickly do the seating chart.  If students click on a seating chart when they login, the system can pair them quickly for small group discussion when the instructor feels it would be beneficial.  The instructors setup the parameters such as how many in a group and if the members of the group should have the same or different answers.
If you use a system like this, let us know.  Please share any assignments that have resulted in time savings or engagement in your classroom!