What Makes Students Proud: A Case for Gamification in Education
Nobody would say ‘no’ to positive attention and admiration among peers in high school. But how would they want to achieve this? Being the best at something? Helping someone? Being popular? Having thick friends?
We collected inputs from more than a 1000 students on what makes them proud and some very interesting insights surfaced.
Winning emerged right on top as the most important attribute that would make students proud. What was interesting was that the word winning wasn’t associated with any one thing in particular. Keenness to win in any one specific area like sport, art, extra-curricular activities etc. wasn’t mentioned. Winning ‘something’ was the main focus. This indicated students’ desire to be in the limelight and the reason didn’t matter. Winning something played a greater role than being the best at something particular.
A close second to winning was to do well in academics. This is fairly common and was expected. However what was heartwarming in the list of the first ten was the importance students placed on teachers’ approval. With growing concern in today’s society over lack of regard for teachers, this was a pleasant find! Another good find was that being ‘helpful’ made the students proud. If we had to ignore the word ‘winning’ and ‘academics’, and peer closely at the other responses, we find that being popular in sports (for instance, being the football captain) is highly sought after.
We at Reap Benefit approach school engagement in a four-step process, getting the students to Discover the problem, Investigate it, Solve it and Share the solution (DISS). Even though solving problems is the main focus of our engagement in schools, we use gamification to incentivize every step of the problem-solving process. Points are rewarded to students individually and in teams and these help to build a certain amount of peer pressure to solve problems. This not only keeps the students on their toes in a bid to score the highest points, but it also pushes them to be innovative and try new ways to solve problems they see around them.
With ‘winning’ emerging as the one attribute that makes students proudest, our methodologies stand validated at least for the time being. What remains to be seen is how much we can push ourselves to innovate in the gamification department.
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