Gamification: Engagement and Understanding through Computer Games

Presenter: Joseph Elson of Comet Bay College

Students of the Digital Generation are having increased trouble engaging in the curriculum, made worse byJoe outdated teaching pedagogies and a dependence on the latest technology.

A noticeable trend from students surveyed independently, using the LEASA surveys and/or using the ESI surveys, identified an inability for students to realise a relevance between class work and ‘real life’.

The Gamification program is designed to incorporate computer games into the curriculum in order to enhance the learning of students, inspire and engage as well as form a memorable learning experience which is counter to the preconceived negative associations by students within the classroom.

The Gamification program began as a program to engage year 8 students in Medieval History through Age of Empires 2, and has grown exponentially to include programs for all MESS subjects and incorporates teachers from Comet Bay College, other secondary schools and several primary teachers. Programs have been designed to run concurrently with the Australian Curriculum in Geography, History, English and Politics. Programs for Maths, Science and Economics are underway.

The presentation will allow viewers the opportunity to see the steps in designing and implementing a successful Gamification program in their classes. We will look at the types of games available, discussing which types would be appropriate for each course and how they can be related back to the general capabilities of the Australian Curriculum.

Joseph will then present a section on practical assessment strategies, perceived issues and how to get around them.

Finally we will look at the AoE2 Gamification program to show you a practical example of Gamification in action as well as some of the responses from students and staff.


About the Presenter:

Joseph Elson is a Society and Environment Teacher at Comet Bay College. He studied History and Secondary Teaching at Murdoch University and has worked in both country and urban schools in Western Australia.

Joe has lead several projects including the creation, installation and development of the CBC Learning Area websites, the extracurricular pastoral care CBC Strategic Gaming Club, the CBC Gamification program, developing Australian Curriculum units for the school and Chairing several groups in the CB Primary Learning Community.

His teaching experiences have largely focussed on teaching disengaged students from defence and FIFO families who populate the local area; devising new strategies to engage students who are easily distracted or use digital media for recreation and spend most of their time out of school hours engaging in video games and other digital media.

Joe is currently developing Gamification learning programs tied to the Australian Curriculum for English, Geography and History, by using computer games as a successful stimulus for enhancing the learning of students.