Let's consider a basic fact.. young animals play in order to learn survival skills as they transition to adulthood. Well, our youngsters are no different. Whether they are in the classroom, on the ball field, or at camp they are trying out skills and strategies that will bring them positive outcomes.. a great grade, a homerun, or maybe even the Survivor Badge. We want all of our students to take risks in the classroom to try something new, to stick with a program, and to increase their sense of "agency", the belief that whatever happens they have what it takes to move forward and learn from their experiences.
Teachers can incorporate game mechanics to tap into one of the most basic instincts we are born with, the ability to learn critical skills through play. This technique is sure to engage even the most hesitant learners. One simple method is to use grading and assessment to move kids from zero knowledge, or XP (experience points) through a series of learning activities where they earn XP and level up as they master facts, skills, and cognitive abilities on their learning journey. Kids can tell you that it takes lots of planning, preparation and practice to go on a boss raid and conquer all obstacles!
Check out this video that explores using game dynamics in the classroom to get your student to play hard and level up.