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Panevezys,october 2019


gamifi... WHAT!!














We have all heard about gamification. But ... What is the concrete meaning of this term that has become so fashionable lately?



First, we must bear in mind that the origin of gamification is not in the educational context but in business and marketing


The classic Windows Solitaire

A great idea from the Microsoft team for users to learn how to use the mouse without even realizing it





A good bibliographic research on the topic can make us find hundreds of definitions of gamification.Here you can see some of the ones I like the most.



"the use of game elements in non-ludic contexts"


"the application of game metaphors to real-life tasks that influence behaviour and improve people's motivation and involvement"


"the use of game mechanics, its aesthetics and game thinking to involve people, motivate action, promote learning and solve problems"

After reading a lot about gamification, here you have my own definition of the term (as good as any other...)

Gamification is the art of adding to situations THAT ARE NOT GAMES some of the elements that make us all love playing so much.




In this section we will look at terms that are often confused with gamification and some false claims about the topic.







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Here you have two resources to understand the differences between Gamification and Game Based Learning:

In this web there is an extensive and clear explanation of both terms and a simple infographics.

And if you prefer, here is a video that explains it in a simple way.

To sum up: the main difference is that in a gamified structure game elements are used but IT IS NOT A GAME and in Game Based Learning everything focuses on one or several games through which we learn.

More related to the commercial world, the term Game Thinking is broader than Gamification. It refers to the use of the way game designers think and act to apply it in other contexts. Here we don't even talk about elements of the game (dynamics, mechanics, aesthetics...), simply (not so much...) refers to a way of thinking and organizing.

In this topic there is a blog, a book and an author above all: Amy Jo Kim.

This is a fantastic article from her blog.

In this video, she explains what Game Thinking is (very focused on the commercial world):

And here's her book: "Game Thinking" (a treasure)

Serious Games could actually be part of Game Based Learning, as games are used to learn.

The main difference is that, while in Game Based Learning all kinds of games are used to learn (board games, video games...), Serious Games are games specifically designed to learn something.

This video makes it a little clearer for you:

Maybe because of a translation error, there are people who include in the "related to games learning universe" (GBL, Gamification, Serious Games, Game Thinking ...) this term that, OF COURSE, has nothing to do with the rest.

In this interesting article by Pepe Pedraz he writes about it, although I think it's quite clear what we mean by "Gambling".

four legs
for a perfect chair

For a gamified structure to be successful, it should have the following four "legs" compensated.









Game dynamics are what the player feels in the development of the game.

In the following slides we will see some of the most common game dynamics:


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Players want to express their identity, their autonomy, their personality and their originality to other players.

Game is often a context that facilitates this function for the shyest players.

Rewards are incentives for performing a task; the player will be more attracted to the game.

Rewards should be well measured, as they can make participants participate only depending on them and extrapolate this habit to real life.

Being a member of a community and positioning yourself in it motivates you to keep playing.

On the other hand, this is a "double-edged" dynamic, as low status can discourage many players.





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Competition is the practice of a game that results in a ranking of participants.

Comparison with others is a source of motivation for many players.

This aspect has its disadvantages in educational contexts (although this is always arguable).

When people strive to help others or support solidarity causes without expecting a reward in return.

It is given more frequently than we can expect in games.

It happens when two or more players do not compete; they strive to achieve the same goal, the same purpose.

In the same game both dynamics can be present, i.e. several players cooperate to compete with other groups of players.

One person is distinguished from the others, for example, by playing with a good strategy.

People feel engaged in activities that give them recognition.

Some types of players are only motivated by this goal.


mechanics are what the player has to do in the game.

There are many different game mechanics, in the following two slides we will highlight some as an example.


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It tries to motivate the user by means of a points system with which to obtain something, such as prestige or prizes.

Reaching a certain number of points can be the main objective of the game or not.

In other cases they may play a secondary role.

A game based exclusively on a system of points can generate that the necessary tasks are completed to obtain them without any interest in them.

An example of a points system are the loyalty cards of some petrol stations or supermarkets with which gifts can be obtained by adding points that are obtained with each purchase.

It is used the hobby of collecting from users and the possibility of showing off to other players or friends of these collections.

The medals, stamps, badges... that are obtained in games and mobile applications can be a good example.




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In this way the competitive spirit of the players is exploited.

In educational contexts we may not be interested in this aspect at all.

The comparisons can be individual or between groups.

They can be public or private for each player depending on what interests us.

The participation of each player is rewarded by assigning him a "title" that distinguishes him from those who have participated even less and encouraging them to become more involved.

A good example is the levels given in the Internet forums "Newbie" or "Apprentice" to "Master" or "Expert ".

In education it is especially important that the student has a feedback on the work done.

This can act as a positive reinforcement and can come from the game itself, the teacher, or from other participants.

If this feedback is delayed it may cause the player to lose interest.


While mechanics and dynamics would focus on the "what" of our gamified structure, the aesthetics of the game would focus on the "how" of it. And this "how" is as important as the rest of the elements or more.



The aesthetic component of the games is related to emotions and experiences, so we will have to make a design based on the experience of the final user and always taking into account the characteristics and interests of them.

That is to say, in many cases we will have to forget about our personal likes and dislikes.

Although on the other hand, think that ... if the aesthetics of the game does not motivate you ... Hardly motivate your students.

Aesthetics is really important, and even more so when we compete with the video games that our students play... We don't need to design a Fortnite, but poor design can greatly reduce player interest.

If you're an artist drawing or designing great websites, great! Anyway, fortunately, nowadays you don't need to be a "brush genius" to design websites, cards, maps, characters... with a professional look.

There are a lot of pages and apps that will do the job for you. In this talk you will know a good selection.


In my opinion, there is no doubt that the aspect that will most influence the succesS of a gamified structure is its narrative.

It is the most artistic and creative part of all, for me the funniest to design, and at the same time the most difficult.



Read adventure books, visit websites of teachers who gamify their classes, play board games, video games, watch series and movies... Be aware of the "fashions" that most attract the attention of your students... With a good base, ideas flow by themselves. Without it, it's much more complicated.

In the next slides you have a good bunch of examples that can get you started.

Another thing that can help you is reading about Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey (also called the Monomyth) or about Propp's Narrative Functions. Both theories have inspired countless books, movies, series and games. Look a this video:

Finally, by clicking on the image below you have a highly recommended article (which came into my hands through Clara Cordero) with narratives that can help you a lot in your first gamifications.


No digital tool is needed to create a successful gamified structure.

Anyway, there are a lot of them that can make our job easier.

in the next slides we will see some of my favorites


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Click on the name to visit the web/app







As you might have guessed, Bitmoji is my favorite avatar creation tool.

You only have to download its iOS or Android app and create a character. After that, you will have at your disposal hundreds of drawings with your character in funny situations.

Avatarmaker.com is the easiest option for you and your students.

You don't need to register. Simply create your avatar and download it. It's that easy.

Obviously, it doesn't have as many options as other webs/apps, but it can be more than enough.

This is the easiest website you can find to create your badges. No registration. Simply edit your badge and download it.

Create nice Warcraft cards with the features you prefer.

Possibly the simplest of all the tools to create cards. At first you don't know where everything goes, but you will figure it out after a couple of cards. It’s great!

Inkarnate is my favorite map generator. After registering, you can generate a fantastic map simply by dragging elements and choosing colors, sizes, letters...

The result is always cool.

In addition, the maps you generate are saved for editing, duplicating, etc.

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Time Taco is a simple and cool tool. Enter the date of the event, the background image you prefer, and you're done: you have your countdown and the link in which it is.

No registration is required, but if you do, you will be able to save your "timetacos" and edit them later.

Another very simple tool. Without registration of any kind, you choose if you want a stopwatch or a countdown, style, time and ready.

As a snag, I'd say it's over-advertised. If you want to get rid of it, choose the "super fullscreen" mode.

Below you can select a cooler type of stopwatches. Select "Classroom Timers", you'll love them. And if, as I do, you're overwhelmed by numbers, try the "Sensory Timers" below as well.

This is the easiest option. No registration too.

Enter the roulette elements and click "go". It's that easy.

There is a little trick to save the custom roulette with the elements chosen you have already chosen. You can read it here.

Quizizz is a WONDERFUL TOOL. With Quizizz you can create quizzes and students enter them with a code. Unlike Kahoot, each one is answered on its own device, it is not necessary to see the questions on a large screen. One of its virtues is that the response time can be prevented from affecting the score, which reduces the stress produced by other tools, such as Kahoot. Preparing tests with Quizizz is super simple, and you can also take advantage of questions from tests performed by other professionals. Finally, the information provided by Quizizz on the results of each student is very extensive and easy to see. One of my favourite pages, without a doubt.

Kahoot is perhaps the most famous quizzes page. In recent years has been adding features to compete with other sites. One of my favorites is the possibility of assigning tests as homework instead of in class.

Many of you may have thought... "Yeah, but I don't have mobile devices in class (not to mention how my center's wifi is going...)". Well, we also have a solution for those situations, and it's called Plickers. It is much simpler than the previous ones but it has a great advantage: the students do not respond from a mobile device but with printed QR codes that the teacher scans from his mobile/tablet. It seems like magic! I encourage you to try it.

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More and more famous and more and more complete. ClassDojo is a free classroom management platform with web access and applications for iOS and Android. It is based on the creation of classrooms in which students can receive badges with positive and negative value that add and subtract points. All this with a very amusing aesthetic (perhaps more focused on primary, although it can be adapted) and with great ease of use. The teacher (or the class) can choose according to which behaviours or skills the badges are earned. The evolution of each student or class can be seen in reports generated by the application itself in real time, which is very practical.

But that's not all, with ClassDojo you can also manage communication with students and families and you can publish news and class work.

It was created by Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don in 2011 and is currently used by millions of users worldwide.

On the other hand, using ClassDojo in the classroom without more, can not be considered gamification, because we would fall short (we only add badges and dots to the class ...). As the rest of the tools we are seeing in this talk, ClassDojo is just that, a "tool" that will serve us to implement the gamified structure we design.

This website has a very good graphic appearance and, especially for older students, an aesthetic very similar to the role-playing games they like so much.

During the game, students can improve, work as a team and gain powers that give them privileges in real life.

Each student must choose a character from one of the three classes in the game: Healers, Magicians or Warriors. Each of them has its own characteristics and powers. They are customized throughout the game and can even have their own pet. Characters are grouped into teams and can use their privileges and rewards with their teammates.

Depending on what the teacher has marked for the game, participants may earn or lose health, experience, power, and/or gold coins. With these points you can buy rewards in the real world also, of course, defined by the teacher.

Like other tools we have seen, it has applications for all operating systems and allows access to parents to control the process. There is a premium option, but with the basic option I think it is enough.

Duolingo is a great tool that represents what gamification is able to achieve in the area of learning other languages.

It is an application (from the web or from any platform: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Chrome...) that allows you to learn other languages while playing. It's that easy. No huge grammar books or long vocabulary lists. Duolingo is based on practice and, in order to ensure that students are constant in their learning, it uses typical game strategies: points, rewards, achievements, game levels, player levels, avatars, prizes, bonuses, missions... (that sounds familiar, doesn't it?)

Obviously, it's not a substitute for learning a language in an Official School, but it can be a great complement or a way to practice for those who don't have time to do it in a more orthodox way.

It has the advantage of ubiquity (can be played easily from the mobile or tablet) and the lessons are fast, so you can use any time to learn a little more and advance in the game.

Currently with Duolingo you can learn English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, Esperanto and Jopará for Spanish-speaking users in addition to Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Turkish, Esperanto, Russian, Hebrew, Irish, Ukrainian among others. And they keep adding new languages.

On the other hand, Duolingo is continually adding improvements to its applications and system, some of them particularly interesting in education. Here are some examples:

Duolingo Test Center, an official certification platform in English language that can be done on the web, iOS or Android, where exams are supervised through camera and microphone. The exam takes twenty minutes, costs 50 US dollars and scores the student between 0 and 10. According to a study by the University of Pittsburgh, there is a substantial correlation between Duolingo Test Center and TOEFL iBT.

Duolingo for Schools: Offers teachers a control panel through which they can track their students' progress in a given language. The board helps the teacher understand each student's individual weakness and strength in each skill. Very interesting.

Duolingo Bots, implementation integrated to the application by which you can converse with various characters created by duolingo. At the moment it is only available for iOS in English, Spanish, German and French.

Duolingo Clubs was launched with the intention of promoting competitiveness and relationships among users, adding more "fun" to the course. In Duolingo Clubs there is a weekly ranking of the experience acquired in the lessons, there are badges (achievements) to acquire, among other implements more.

Finally, a few years ago, Duolingo released a new application called TinyCards, which deserves special mention, as it allows us to create lessons with "flashcards" and questions to learn about any of the topics there are or create ours.

I recommend it for your students and for you. It is a good way to learn languages and a great way to experience "in your flesh" the emotions involved in a gamified learning process.

Genially is the multipurpose tool I would most recommend of all. The great advantage that this Spanish web application has is that, learning its simple handling, you can use it for a lot of different things: you can make interactive images, great presentations, games, breakouts, maps, digital teaching units, infographics, video presentations ...

The appearance of the products made is very professional, and the options to share it, insert it in a website, download it (in the payment option) ... are many.

This course is completely created with Genially.

DeckToys is one of the least known tools of this list and yet it is a great website that can be used in gamification. With DeckToys you can generate a kind of "videogame" with several stages that have to be passed on a path to travel. You enter question and answer tables and they become several different game types (memory, crossword puzzles, joining pairs...) It's those games that are introduced in the different stages of the path. The students play from their tablets and from the administrator's console you can see the results of the players. Come and try it!

Superteachertools is a simple website that in one place facilitates the creation of many of the components related to gamification in class: roulette, names or random groups, timers, jeopardys, dice, quizzes... we can even create a contest in the style of Who wants to be a millionaire?


It seems clear that a good way to start is to take a look at what others have done. In the next slides we will see some good examples.


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Click on the name to visit the web/app







This is an example of pure narrative. Actually, the rest of the gamification is very simple. Little technology, few components... The kids enjoyed it a lot and the objectives were met.

In a new school, and finally as a class tutor, I proposed this gamified structure for the whole course.

In this case, aesthetics were important and everything related to the course: the blog, the class, the superhero tips, the cooperative roles, the language topics... was related to the superheroes theme.

The second evaluation cards (proposed by the students themselves) were a great success.

One year after the Superheroes School, with the same group, which already had experience with gamification, we proposed this Magic School following the same line, but with a lot of novelties: A web instead of a blog, the House Cup, four different types and collectibles cards, the weekly challenges from Dumbledore that our owl brought us (which I recommend you all to visit)...

We've even been presenting our Magic School in Macedonia!

I designed this website for a whole day's workshop at the CFPI, in which there was a theory part (played, of course), a digital treasure hunt and an Escaperoom.

For shorter training sessions, at the end of last year I designed "El Informe G", including cards from Espionage Agencies, which allowed to experience a small team competition and an approach to gamification in a very short time.

The Mansion of Professor Ruffinni has accompanied me in teacher trainings lasting from three to five sessions and it is also possible to visit it autonomously for any teacher who wants to do so (without being enrolled in any course).

To move from one room to another in the Mansion, you have to solve puzzles. If you want to enter the library, look for the password in the frame of the professor's portrait...

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Great narrative and motivating aesthetics in this gamification by Ángel Perea to review the 6th grade Science contents.

Original and attractive narrative and wonderful aesthetics in this gamification by Norberto Cuartero to work on maths.

Zombiología is, as its authors say, an alternative development of the Biology and Geology curriculum for the 3rd secondary year. It is an amazing gamified project with Zombie theme.

In a resources section you can download its Didactic Guide in which all its development is justified.

The original idea and implementation is the work of Santiago Vallejo, although the further development of the project has had up to seven collaborators.

El Manuscrito del templario is a gamified learning experience by Jaime Serrada to develop the subject of Social Psychology I, in the 2nd course, Degree in Psychology. Good aesthetics, great narrative and very clear mechanics and dynamics, all clearly explained on the web.

The project is based on the integration of the subjects of natural sciences, social sciences, technology and plastic and visual education of 1st secondary year under the same gamified project: CLASS OF CLANS.

From the symbolic and aesthetic framework by the online game clash of clans the students become paleolithic beings who have to survive and advance as a civilization, going through different periods. With this objective, they are organized in clans and have to overcome tasks and weekly events, many of them based on the use of ICT.

Its creators are Javier Espinosa, Jaione Pozuelo and Carlos Mata.

If you would like to create your own gamification here is some tips and a template to organize everything...