S. Okumus

Metu Elementary School (TURKEY)
Traditional methods are out of favor for the 21st century’s classroom. Students are spending more time in games than ever, and with the information readily available at their fingertips, their interest and involvement in classes are decreasing. As the students change, education needs to evolve as well. Enriching the way of teaching have now become essential. The fact of increased student time spent in games have caused the idea of gaming in education to emerge. Games have already invaded the world; why can they not invade the classes as well? As stated by Lee, J. J. & Hammer, J. (2011), gamification can help schools do better.

The aim of this study is to inquire the research problem ‘ Does Gamification motivate students better?’ and the purpose of the study is to investigate how gamification affects mathematics classes.

The study was conducted on 46 seventh grade students during a year grading period at Metu private school in Ankara,Turkey. The groups used in the study were two seventh grade classes, each having an enrollment of 23 students. Both classes were taught mathematics by gamifying at the same rate and by using the same rules and methods.
Educational gamification proposes the use of game-like rule systems, player experiences and cultural roles to shape learners’ behavior and understandings. To understand the potential of gamification however, we must consider how these techniques can best be deployed in practice.

In these gamified classes, students are progressing towards levels of mastery, as one does in games. Some of the points covered in the study are:
• Utilizing the idea that students are motivated by points and tangible rewards like badges, students get points for their class participation and overall behavior in class. These points are then translated to titles as ‘director’ and badges.
• There simply are not enough hours in the day for teachers so learning has to continue after the bell rings. In support of this view, gamifying homework is helpful for encouraging informal learning. In the study, students get points for completing homeworks on time and correctly, which add up to levels. In game terms, by how much they have accomplished their quests. The accumulated levels will finally have a direct effect on Oral grades at the end of each semester.
• The use of games generally removes the fear in failure and allows students to persevere and eventually overcome the problem. Instantaneous feedback and small rewards (or big ones, like winning) are external motivators that work. In this study, lots of current-topic-relevant games are integrated into the curriculum. With these games, classes could also be flipped.
• Team work is very important for learning. In this study, a quest and rewards system is in place where students complete tasks and achieve rewards as a team. That way, students are working to master the material together instead of competing.

As explained briefly above, gamification creates an alternate well-defined fun path for the student to follow in the mathematics classes, with things to achieve along the way. Games and gamification cannot be used to replace pedagogy, but can be used to enhance the overall learning experience.