Hall will teach two literacy classes for graduate students in which she will use experience points, a nontraditional grading method that has become a nationwide trend.
“They get experience points for everything, so you can do the minimum that you need to get an A in the class, and you’ll get so many experience points for that, or you can go above and beyond because you can get experience points that don’t count toward your grade,” Hall said.
“Experience points lead to achievement points, and achievement points lead to being able to buy items in an item shop, like you would be able to in a video game.”
One of Hall’s factors in motivating students is a leaderboard that will show rankings of experience points, something she said would spark the competitive side of some students.
“I’m really interested to see if students will engage with material beyond what is required for a grade because normally as a student you show up and wonder what you need to do to get an A, and you do what you need to get an A, and if that requires you to replicate the way I think, that’s what you’ll probably do,” Hall said.
Scott Haselwood, an educational technology doctoral student at Oklahoma State University, previously taught at the high school level in which he incorporated a similar system in his classroom. Haselwood has also implemented the same principles in college courses.
“At some point when you’re teaching a gamified lesson the students have a lot of choice and when students have choices they tend to put more into it,” he said.
“For the teacher, it really walks the kids through what hopefully creates a very strong foundation because they’re practicing things and they can fail those things without being punished for it.”
Sophomore Parisa Shah said she would be interested in this classroom structure if it was for introductory level classes or humanities classes.
“I don’t think this system would be productive in a class that’s based on a very intense workload because everyone is so stressed about their grade as it is,” she said.
Junior Taryn Miner said while a leaderboard would motivate her because she wouldn’t want to have the least amount of points, a gamified classroom does not interest her.
“The idea sounds very high school to me,” Miner said. “In my experience, games use up time that could be better spent.”
While Haselwood knows this method does not suit the style of every student or teacher, he said it does provide a unique learning experience.
“I don’t think it’s a golden bullet; I don’t think it’s a surefire way to capture every kid,” he said.
“I think it’s another example of thinking outside of the box to help reach those kids and try to make the class a little more engaging, a little more fun and a little more personal.”