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Gamification-means of encouraging positive environmental habits?


Twenty first century learning is quite different from when I was growing up as a child. The only medium we had was a television and print media to get all of the information happening around the globe. Television was the most widely used source of entertainment in every home and so it is often the case that we spend much of our leisure time watching tv together with family and friends. Although it was fun, television only provided a “one-way-affair” without much interactivity. With rapid advancements in technology and the internet, learning can be done on the go using smart devices like mobile phones”,ipads etc. The learning that used to be static when I was growing up has evolved as well. Through the power of games, learning complex subjetc such as maths and scinece has been made more fun and exciting. Considering the ubiquity of smart devices, it is important we consider how these exciting and fun activities can be leveraged to promote good environmental behaviours.

Most research have have shown the importance of gamifying our classrooms to improve both students extrinsic and intrisnic motivation, encourage their liking for courses and improve their learning as a whole. But the real question is, can this gamification component be used to encourage environmental change? How can educators use gamification components to influence students’ everyday behaviours in fun ways? What strategies can be put in place to ensure students are excited about issues affecting the environment we all live in”,? Considering the prolific use of technological devices in today’s generation, games can be very important means of encouraging a positive behavioural change. Different games are designed for different purposes. For example through playing some video games, players develop the skill of collaboration to reach a common goal with their teammates, by gaining rewards after winning a game players are encouraged to move on to the next level which increases their engagement for the game.

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While it is often beleived that playing games is perceived to be a waste of time and sometimes eats into valuable learning time of kids if not properly controlled, Jane Mcginigal in her ted talk proposes a counterintuitive idea of spending at least 21 billion hours a week playing video games in order to solve the worl’ds problems. To quote her exact words, “If we want to solve problems like hunger”,poverty, climate change”,global warming, conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week by the end of the next decade”-Jane Mcgonigal. It is important that we notice how much gamers are problem solvers. There are more and more subtle ways in which gamifiaction techniques are being employed encourage behaviours especially in the marketting fields. Did you win a some points after using that walmart card? Or win another cup of coffee after rolling-up-the rim? All of these are subtle forms of gamifaication that are taking over our societies nowadays and it is important to apply these components in solving pressing environmental issues facing the globe.

Gamification-what it is exactly?

But what exactly is gamification. It is often the case that we tend to confuse what gamification with what playing games for the sake of learning is. Whiles game based learning provides students with the avenue to learn by playing games, especially in the classrooms, gamification on the hand uses game components to influence their behaviour. This is mostly expected to be in a positive way. Much of these components are from video games strategies and features. In the past few years, the ubiquity of the gaming industry has risen drastically. About 61% of canadians consider themselves as gamers, with over 40% reportedly prefer playing video games during their leisure time.(). To this end, we can confidently say that playing videos games have become a part of our daily lives. All this is made possible by the advancements in technology. Gone were the days when one needed a computer or laptop to get the best visuals in order to enjoy playing a game. Today, games can be played on the go using a portable device such as mobile phones and ipads. Through palying games, it is likely that players will cultivate habits portrayed in these games. While some research have pointed out some issues that are likely to arise as a results of playing violent video games, such as, children cultivating violent behaviours”,others have pointed out the need to encourage kids to play games to enhance their critical thinking, problem solving and creativity as well as other prosocial behaviours. These are some issues that have risen as a result of playing games.

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Gamifcation on the hand uses game components to encourage and sustain everyday habits by way of rewarding a player for an achievemeny, sustaining their motivation by granting them bagdes etc

The problem

Playing video games on its own is seen as a problem.In this generation kids who have grown with the technlology are called millenials. They have have been born into the era of technology and internet. Almost everything is supposed t be done in a fun way and order to keep them engaged. The world is currently facing a lot of global issues in which waste management and sustainability are a part.This creates a huge concern on how to seek bring on board these people who are so engaged in the virtual gaming world to solve these problems. Students spend a lot of time of playing video games, there is the need to leverage these game components in solving most of these pressing global issues.

Children and their cognition of environmental change

The change that we are strive to achieve needs to be inculcated in us from childhood so it sticks with us through adulthood. As such teaching kids about these issues and how important it is for them to get involved is the way forward in curbing the problems. As Educators, we often see the need to assess students prior knowledge and know how they undersatnd and their understanding of some basic concepts before lessons begin. It is no different in the case of promoting sustainable environmental issues. We tend to agree that how children understand some basic issues that affects the environment influences how they come to understand possible ways they could contribute to making change(Ifigenia Iliopoulou”,2018) . In Ifigenia’s study young children were interviewed to understand their conception of deforestation and waste and their impact on the environment. They also examined how children “think” they can actively and proactively see themselves as agents of tackling these environmental issues. Results from this study is indicative of the fact that young children understand they can physically addresses issues like waste by putting the garbage in the right bin and reducing consumption but their understanding of how to proactively limit these issues was very minimal. It is important to see the need to involve children in ways of cultivating proper environmental protection habits.

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Gamification and Behavioural change:



What to take into consideration when considerin g gamifiaction

Implcations for Educators

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