About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2027-2034
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain


M. Wagner

Drexel University (UNITED STATES)
Gamification is considered the use of game mechanics in non-game applications. While there currently is a debate within the game studies community whether or not gamification trivializes games and is therefore detrimental to their study, it has allowed many disciplines to embrace the use of game concepts in settings generally not open to being associated with games or play. This includes applications in education where gamification has allowed educators to take game based learning one step further towards the use of game mechanics in managing classrooms and even schools.

What is generally overlooked is the fact that this approach to education has a tradition that dates back to the reform pedagogy of the early twentieth century, in particular the pedagogy of Maria Montessori who utilized ideas now associated with gamification long before games and play became a subject of academic interest through the work of Johan Huizinga. In addition, the gamification of education – the use of game mechanics in managing education - is often confused with game based learning – the use of games for learning [2,3].

In this paper I will give a historic perspective on the use of game mechanics in education throughout the twentieth and the early twenty-first century leading up to current gamification strategies as seen from a game development perspective. I will furthermore contrast the core concepts and benefits of the gamification of education with recent advances in game based learning, in particular with results we observed during the evaluation [1] of “Ludwig” (www.playludwig.com), an award winning physics learning game we developed for middle school classroom use.

[1] Wernbacher, T., Pfeiffer, A., Wagner M.G. and Hofstätter, J. (2012) Learning by Playing: Can Serious Games be fun?, in: Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL 2012), Cork, Ireland, October 4-5, 2012, pp. 533-541.
[2] Mitgutsch, K, and Wagner, M.G. (2009) Gaming the Schools: Didaktische Szenarien des Digital Game Based Learning, Medienimpulse 2/2009.
[3] Wagner, M.G. (2008) Serious Games: Spielerische Lernumgebungen und deren Design, in: Issing, L.J. and Klimsa, P. (eds.), Online-Lernen – Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Praxis, Oldenburg Wissenschaftsverlag, pp. 297-306.
author = {Wagner, M.},
series = {7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-2661-8},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {4-5 March, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {2027-2034}}
AU - M. Wagner
SN - 978-84-616-2661-8/2340-1079
PY - 2013
Y1 - 4-5 March, 2013
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2013 Proceedings
SP - 2027
EP - 2034
ER -
M. Wagner (2013) ON THE GAMIFICATION OF EDUCATION, INTED2013 Proceedings, pp. 2027-2034.