I’ve learned a lot after a year of working with fifth and sixth graders in our blended, gamified makerspace. Our makerspace, called The Innovation Lab, is built on four pillars: Comp Sci, Design & Engineering, Digital Arts, and Entrepreneurship. It also uses game-mechanics to help deliver content and engage students. I started the year with my gamification basics: Epic Meaning, Leaderboards, Achievements, and Item Shop system I’ve been developing for years. Then things changed.
Our Innovation Lab was a whirlwind of making all year. Students were motivated and engaged from start to finish. I learned a ton about designing and running a makerspace, but I also learned more than I thought I would about Gamification:
Lesson learned: Motivated students Don’t Need the “Basic” Gamification Techniques. For most of my career, I’ve taught reluctant learners. I came into the Innovation Lab with that mindset, but my kids were anything but reluctant. So, about halfway through the year, I got rid of the Leaderboards, Achievements, and Item Shop. Students didn’t need them. Our time could be better spent developing the more engaging and empowering aspects of Gamification.