The tip of the iceberg

Tilly Brooke thinks that schools have only scratched the surface of games-based learning

In your experience, how can gamification enhance teaching and learning in the classroom? What are the proven benefits? 

Gamification is happening all around us and more and more schools are adopting new and exciting ways to engage their class. Through now>press>play children are encouraged to become a character in a story and are faced with real life situations and problems. It allows the children to take ownership over their learning experience and they are inspired to explore and ask questions. Even the most reluctant of learners are drawn into the Experience and engage in the topic. It creates a springboard for class work and enquiry questions and because the children have ‘lived’ through the now>press>play Experience they all have something to say in the discussion afterwards. The proven benefit that we have seen through gamification is a real increase in the level of engagement, in particular for those children who may struggle in a class based setting.

Would you say the UK is keeping up with other countries when it comes to using gaming for learning?

I would say that the UK was a bit slow on the gaming front initially, but we are now catching up. In the schools we visit across the country we are noticing an increased use of gaming in primary schools. There are also some fantastic edtech hubs that are full of young entrepreneurs and ex-teachers who are creating remarkable tools for use in the classroom.  It’s a real shift, and an exciting movement to be part of.

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If a school has never tried gamification before, how would you recommend they try it out/introduce it to a class? 

The best thing to do is ‘just do it!’ Find something that excites you, most companies offer a free demo or a trial, test it out and then speak to your class – they will be the best people to ask how it has impacted their learning – plus they’re digital natives!

Are teachers still hesitant to blur the lines between ‘learn time’ and ‘play time?’ 

I wouldn’t say so, out of all the teachers I have met in schools and in conferences, I don’t think there is a single one that cannot see the importance of learning through play.  

Will we see more of this teaching technique in the months ahead? How do you think it will develop?

I think this is the tip of the iceberg and we will see more and more creative ways of raising attainment. The key is that schools and staffing teams are given the technical support in order to use the new edtech tools that are being created, so that they become embedded into the DNA of the school and how it teaches.

Tilly Brooke is Head of School Engagement at now>press>play

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