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Professional Inquiry Project Proposal

Does implementing Game Based Learning or Gamifying your

classroom actually increase engagement and learning?

During the Fall semester I took a class on Game Based Learning and
Gamification in education at the University of Lethbridge. I believe my instructor
mentioned it was the first time the course had been offered or at least the first time they
had instructed it. This course was an example of Gamifying the classroom as we quickly
learned that we were simply just calling assignments quests and receiving XP (or
experience points) instead of grades. However, at the end of the semester we were still
awarded with a letter grade and thus corresponding grad percentage. If you received
over 2000 XP during the semester you got an A+, if you were over 1900 you received
and A, 1800 an A-, and so on. Although the course did not fool us wise university
students there was still much to be taken from it.
During this curse I learned that it is believed that Gaming in Education and Game
Based Learning (GBL) actually increases engagement. This make sense to me as
students of all ages would rather play games than do homework, for the most part. Plus,
once they hit middle/ high-school they are next to impossible to separate from their
cellphones on which they are constantly getting distracted by whether it be through
games, apps, or social media. Therefore, I developed a theory of how it would be
extremely beneficial for educators to tap into gaming and technology in order to use
these tools to increase not only enjoyment but hopefully engagement too. If a student
enjoys something, then they should be more engaged in it than if they did not enjoy
doing it. Common sense.
Although this theory seems like common sense I have concerns over whether or
not it is worth the effort. Does Game Based Learning or Gamifying your classroom
actually increase engagement? When does adding these tools/games become more
detrimental and distracting to the actual learning than it does benefit their learning? Is it
possible to cover everything that the curriculum asks of you in a game styled classroom
or course? These as well as many other questions came to mind as my studies
continued but my overall outcome of the course was that if it is proven that the students
enjoy being in school more and are more engaged in their learning when we implement
gaming in schools than we should at least try it.
I will attempt to implement Gaming in the classroom by asking to students to
participate in two main activities throughout the course of my internship (Jan.30-May
19). These games are Jeopardy for quiz and test review at the end of each week which
many teachers of many ages have started to use already, and the other is Total War:
Medieval II where students are divided into 6 teams and are asked to work in groups of
5 and be contributing members of a society. They will have to decide who to be allies
with, who to attack, where to explore, how to spend their money, who to tax and how
much, and many other things relevant to a community. This game is also historically
accurate and relevant to the curriculum and the civilization we will be studying as
mandated by the British Columbia Social Studies 8 curriculum. I will share this with my
Socials colleagues during a collaboration session which we hold every Wednesday.