Teacher Feature: Catherine Boisvert (CQSB) and Shanna Loach (ETSB) – What is Gamification?

May 19, 2014

Teacher(s): Catherine Boisvert, individualized FSL at the Eastern Quebec Learning Centre (CQSB) and Shanna Loach, individualized English at the New Horizons Adult Education Centre (ETSB)

What is Gamification: Gamification can be defined as taking a closer look at the engaging and motivating aspects of video games and then applying these elements to a learning environment. Gamification is NOT about playing games in the classroom.

What is Catherine’s project? Catherine and I began collaborating on a project to “gamify” elements of her FSL classroom. Catherine was looking for a new way to engage her individualized learners, as seen in the following video (in French):catherineWant to know more about Catherine’s project? You can read more about our experience by reading “All Fun and Games: Gamifying a Language Classroom” on the LEARN blog. The article provides an overview of gamification and what worked well (and didn’t!) so far in our project.

How does it work? In a nutshell, a Gamified classroom should present students with a clear outline of the course goals in addition to providing students with a system to recognize their efforts as they go along. A gamified classroom should encourage learning from mistakes, choice when to tackle different topics, more feedback, differentiation, and allowing students to progress at their own pace.

What does a gamified course outline look like? Shanna Loach is an English teacher at the New Horizons Adult Education Centre (ETSB) who is also gamifing elements of her multilevel CCBE classroom. Shanna has generously agreed to share a snapshot of her Gamified course outline that we are in the process of developing for the 2014-2015 school year. Our ultimate goal is to create a simple and straightforward way for her students to track their progress as they tackle the prescribed elements of their CCBE course:


Additional Gamification resources: I maintain a collaborative gamification board on Pinterest with my colleague Marc-André Lalande. There’s lots of great videos, web links, and also a link to our recent presentation at AQIFGA 2014.

Comments: What have you heard about gamification? Do you think it would work well in your classroom? Questions? Concerns? Please feel free to leave a question or comment below! Special thanks to Sylwia Bielec for interviewing us and featuring us on the LEARN blog.

Duolingo is a revolutionary new way to help learn a second language!

September 10, 2013

Quick overview: Duolingo is a free tool that helps students learn a second language at their own pace. Duolingo is available on the web or as an iPad/Android app for mobile devices. In reviews, Duolingo is often compared positively to Rosetta Stone. This tool is definitely worth checking out, highly recommended!

How can this be used in the classroom? First and foremost, I see this tool as an excellent fit for a student in an individualized FSL class. Using concepts borrowed from a gamified classroom model students progress at learning a language at their own pace and progress through skill trees which requires them to master concepts before moving onto learning more complicated material. Students will be asked to speak, listen, and read in French. For my international readers, it works in other languages too! (Source: Adam Bellow’s “Make Your Classroom Rock” ISTE 2013, San Antonio)

Duolingo web: www.duolingo.com
Duolingo iPad: link
Duolingo Android: link

Benefits and Limitations: If you plan on using this tool in your school’s computer lab but don’t have enough microphones to go around, you may want to consider using the Duolingo App on an iPad or Android device instead. These devices already have a microphone built-in. If you’d like to read more about the effectiveness of Duolingo, please take a look at this detailed report.

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