Gamification as a teaching strategy aims to enhance learning by using a game-style format to motivate students to participate in learning activities. Gamification is sometimes confused with game-based learning.
In game-based learning, students learn through games, while in gamification, game-like elements are applied to non-game activities to boost student motivation and engagement. Gamification is often characterized by rewards systems such as leaderboards, badges and point systems while game-based learning requires students to play games via toys, electronics and so on.
Gamification tactics are only meant to encourage students to participate in learning activities such that, if the game-like aspects were removed, learning would still be achieved; unlike game-based learning where the game itself is the learning activity.
ClassWide Peer Tutoring (CWPT) is an example of gamification in the classroom. This learning activity in itself is not a game; however, it does employ game elements such as the creation of teams and point systems in motivating students to engage in the learning tasks at hand. In fact, it is quite possible to have students perform the learning activities without the game-like elements but then it would no longer fall under the strict definition of CWPT.
In ClassWide Peer Tutoring, an entire class participates in specified activities for the purpose of getting repeated practice in certain academic tasks. CWPT is well suited for academic tasks such as automatic spelling, rapid solutions to math facts, reading sight words, fluent reading, learning vocabulary, definitions, and content facts, as well as completing study guides.
The entire class is divided into two teams, with each team consisting of student pairs. Within each pair, both students alternate between the roles of tutor and tutee, with the overall goal of earning points for their respective teams during the tutoring activities.
In the tutor role, a student provides content stimulus to the tutee - for example, a pronounced spelling word, a stated math problem, or a direction for reading a passage aloud. In turn, the student in the tutee role responds both orally and in writing to the stimulus, after which the tutor assesses the correctness of the response and gives immediate feedback.
ClassWide Peer Tutoring was developed in the early 1980s by the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project at the University of Kansas. Learn more about CWPT at the University of Kansas website.