Category Archives: Gamification

Creating a Leaderboard


To motivate students and develop a desire to see their points rise, I need a visual. This is called a leaderboard in the world of video games.  Back when I was doing my graduate work, I witnessed how the leaderboard motivated me. As I said before, gaming wasn’t my thing. And the quests and the things we did to “pass” were out of my comfort zone. However, I finished the class with the second to highest XP. Why? Because I was motivated. I liked seeing my avatar in the lead.


One of the principles I learned about games which carries directly to teaching, is that everything has to be in the ZONE, Lev Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD). Well, I am not sure game designers think of Vygotsky’s research when they create games. But think about it, each level gets more challenging, gives enough lives to make it interesting but not too hard or too easy. In this graduate class, Dr. Chris Haskell created a variety of quests. Some were required, but most were optional. You just had to choose enough quests to reach your “grade” goal. There were enough quests that were carefully scaffolded and in my Zone that I was able to learn a significant amount about gamification, while accumulating points (XP). Just as the gamification research shows, students (even unskilled students like me) can be motivated by competition and seeing their XP stack.


In working on this project, I am revisiting some of the articles and post I wrote during my graduate work. As I review the materials on gamification,  what I am attempting to do this semester is not true gamification, but it is a start.  So to build a leaderboard, I did what everyone does, look for free resources on the web. Alice Keeler has some fantastic resources, and I found other people’s posts. But of course, nothing is exactly what I need, so I will have to do some good old fashioned spreadsheet work. If I were building these materials in Adobe Captivate, I would have used the resources created by eLearning Brothers. That will be for my next PD course I write.

Continue reading Creating a Leaderboard

Gamification to improve Blended Learning Outcomes


I spent a semester of grad school in a class about gaming in education. The class was challenging, because of the foreign nature of the content. I have never been one to play games unless I was a part of a social activity. So taking a class that was a game was kind of exciting, an excuse to play under the guise of learning. I would say, “I have to spend time in second life learning to fly a spaceship,” some someone else has to do the dishes. But then the class was over and I went back to real life and cleaning the kitchen.

After I completed my Master’s degree, I stepped away from teaching students and began a new role with many facets, but none of them lent themselves to putting into practice anything I had learning in my gaming class. Most adults, want the hurry up and give me the digest version of what I need to know.

So two years later, I am again teaching a math class. I am in a blended, online platform, and true to high school students, they struggle getting their work done. Most are just procrastinators, but some were rebellious and others had “life stuff” happen.  So we are getting ready for second semester and I think it is time to try something new. Because this is not the only thing I do, I am going to try to add just a few gaming elements to my class and see what I can pass on to fellow faculty members next year. Continue reading Gamification to improve Blended Learning Outcomes