Gone are the days of chalkboards, overhead projectors, and drab-looking textbooks. In today’s modern classroom, AI and interactive tech is taking centre stage, and revolutionising both teaching practices and the learning experience itself.  

Now, with the growing use of AI and innovative tools within our schools and education systems, the proven value of play and gamification in an educational context can be explored and augmented in unprecedented ways. 

AI is set to have a huge impact on the educational landscape, with adaptive learning and tutoring through AI assistants opening up a world of personalised, highly responsive teaching. Alongside this, students will start to engage with a new generation of collaborative tools, virtual project spaces and immersive learning platforms like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), that can transport them to fascinating places; fictional worlds, scientific experiments, and historical events.

The UK’s commitment to research and development in EdTech is positioning the nation as a leader in cutting-edge solutions and one that’s embracing a variety of AI tools to cater to diverse educational needs. It’s reported that UK schools already spend an estimated £900 million a year on educational technology, with the UK’s EdTech sector currently the largest in Europe.

As the global EdTech market prepares for exponential growth by 2025, the UK’s pioneering role is set to expand further, with collaborative efforts between the government, educational institutions, and technology companies creating an ecosystem conducive to progress and innovation. And the area of gamification AI is one component of evolving tech that looks set to take off.

Learning through game-play

Gamification – the application of game-design elements in non-game contexts (think, challenges, badges, points, levels, and those adrenaline-fuelled feelings of excitement and accomplishment) – can have a huge impact on learning, as it captivates children’s attention through incorporating elements that they inherently enjoy and engage with. It provides a platform for them to explore their creativity, and empowers them to learn and grow in ways that traditional education methods can often struggle to achieve.

Educational experts and psychologists have long hailed the role of play as a core approach to learning and fostering imagination and creativity — and now, with the rise of EdTech tools, there will be more opportunities to enable it within the classroom, and richer experiences for both students and educators to embrace. 

Countless research studies have explored the impact of gamification and play-based learning in educational contexts, and revealed positive effects on learning outcomes, engagement, and motivation.

A study by the University of Colorado found that students who learnt through gamification showed an 11% increase in factual knowledge and a 9% increase in retention rate compared to those who didn’t.  While other surveys reveal that engagement is higher for those students who learn through game-playing, and motivation significantly boosted – leading to improved cognitive, affective and behavioural learning.

Gamification reduces stress 

Whether it’s through designing or customising their own games, solving puzzles, or interactive storytelling, students are able to express themselves freely within a gamified learning environment; and feel more engaged, motivated, creative and less inhibited than they might otherwise, in the classroom.  

Evidence suggests gamification reduces stress associated with traditional teaching methods, fostering a more relaxed environment that’s more conducive to effective learning.  

What does AI bring to gamified learning?

With the development of AI comes added layers of intelligence and adaptability to gamified learning. It can analyse a learner’s progress and preferences, tailoring the gamification elements to suit their specific needs. 

For example, if learners thrive on competition, the system can emphasise leaderboards. If learners respond well to collaborative learning, it can suggest group challenges, like virtual escape rooms. Plus, AI can adjust the difficulty of gamified challenges based on a learner’s ongoing performance.

Some of the most popular gamification learning platforms include:

  1. Classcraft — Classcraft gamifies the classroom experience by turning students into characters with customizable powers and abilities. It encourages collaboration, positive behavior, and active participation.
  2. Minecraft: Education Edition — Minecraft has an Education Edition specifically designed for classroom use. It allows students to explore and create in a virtual world, promoting creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration.
  3. Quizizz — Quizizz is a platform that enables teachers to create quizzes, polls, and surveys in a game-show format. Students can compete against each other or work collaboratively.
  4. GooseChase — GooseChase is a scavenger hunt app that educators can use to create interactive and gamified learning experiences. It encourages teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
  5. SMART Learning Suite Online — SMART Learning Suite offers interactive lessons, game-based activities, and collaborative workspaces. It integrates with SMART Boards and other interactive displays.
  6. Socrative — Socrative provides teachers with tools to create quizzes, assessments, and interactive activities. It allows real-time student responses and provides immediate feedback.
  7. Genially — Genially is a platform for creating interactive and animated content. Teachers can use it to gamify lessons, making them visually engaging and interactive.
  8. Pobble — Pobble is focused on literacy and writing skills. It provides a platform for sharing and celebrating students’ written work, fostering a sense of achievement and motivation.
  9. EducationCity — EducationCity offers interactive educational content for primary school students.
  10. Quizlet — Quizlet allows users to create and study flashcards, quizzes, and interactive games.
  11. Code Combat — Code Combat teaches coding through gaming. It provides a hands-on approach to programming, allowing users to write code to control characters in a game environment.
  12. EdApp — EdApp is a mobile-first learning management system that incorporates gamification elements. It allows organizations to create and deliver engaging microlearning courses, quizzes, and assessments, promoting interactive and effective learning experiences.
  13. Class Dojo — Class Dojo is a classroom communication and management platform where teachers can award points for desirable behavior, and students can customize their avatars, fostering a positive and interactive classroom environment through gaming.

EdTech is on a remarkable journey that promises a future where learning is not just informative but also engaging, personalised, inclusive and empowering for students all around the world.

Learn more in our newly launched programme, EdTech: Innovating Teaching and Learning

To highlight the impact of EdTech, ITN Business has produced a news-style programme, ‘EdTech: Innovating Teaching and Learning’, which premiered on 24-26 January, at BETT UK 2024. The programme delves into the dynamic world of EdTech, showcasing how digital tools and techniques are revolutionising learning in classrooms.