Back to School: How to Gamify Your Classroom

Gamification has been a big word in education for almost a decade. It’s not surprising—most kids play video games regularly, whether on computers, mobile devices, or gaming consoles.

Games have reward-systems built in. This is why kid, and many adults, keep coming back to them. Gamification is the implementation of games into a curriculum. This means more than just playing games as a part of lessons. It means incorporating games into the way students learn, receive praise and merit, and interact.

Here’s an intro to gamifying your classroom.

Develop a System of Points and Rewards

One of the easiest ways to gamify the classroom is through a simple system of points. Assign point values to things like completing homework, getting a good score on a quiz, or completing bonus assignments.

But you’ll need more than just a point system. These points have to have value and are not a substitute for grades. You can create a “level” system that allows students to “level up” when they reach different point totals. Or, you can create a “marketplace” that allows students to use points to purchase things like bonus questions on a test, as Amanda Ronan suggests at

Choose a Theme that Appeals to Everyone

If you want a more narrative-driven experience, you can allow your students to create characters in an exciting setting. They could be dinosaurs adapting to their environments. They could be heroes in a fantasy land protecting citizens and going on adventures. They could be astronauts building spaceships and traveling to distant planets. A theme isn’t necessary, but it can be a lot of fun and can give students an identity to connect with.

Create Specific and Attainable Achievements

Once you have a points system, you can further engage students through specific achievements that award points when completed. These could encourage students to complete a certain number of homework assignments in a row, or improve their grade by a certain amount—and the reward for these achievements could be points, badges, or a more specific reward. It’s all up to you.

Encourage Students to Work Together Through Class Goals

While gamification lends itself to competition and individual goals, there’s no reason you can’t have class goals as well. These could come in the form of “boss fights”—battles against imaginary foes that test the whole class’s knowledge of a large amount of material. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a fight. It could be a long journey or the building of a monument just as easily.

Class-oriented goals give students a collective sense of progress and achievement, and they can be helpful in creating a greater narrative for your gamified classroom.

You can also make games themselves a part of your gamification system. And after students have a good handle on the points and rewards system, you can invite them to come up with their own rewards, quests, and boss fights.

At Genius Adventures, we create games with a wide variety of themes that are compatible with all subjects. Download our first game, Temple of Knowledge, for free at


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