Innovation in Motivation: Part One

Why do gamers play video games? Why do gamers beat video games? Why do gamers buy video games? Motivation. But what motivates gamers to do these things?

Pride – When you complete a game all you get is a virtual trophy, a high score, or possibly an alternate ending. Even though these rewards aren’t physical they still push players to obtain them. Achievements in video games are a source of pride. Sure, it took you hours and hours to get that one achievement, but you can show it off to all your online buddies. I caught all 150 original Pokemon in the late 90’s, and I told everyone I knew, even if they didn’t care.

Competition – Video games are usually more fun in a group. I am an avid Super Smash Bros enthusiasts, and let me tell you, it’s more fun with friends. Hundreds of games, from iPod to Playstation 3, feature online play or online leader-boards. Friendly competition is best of all, because you get to share in your friends victories.

Fun – Another reason gamers game is purely for entertainment. It’s fun! I love my life and everyone in it, but it’s still exciting to step in to Link’s boots and rescue Zelda. I can’t run around with a sword slaying enemies and collecting rupees in real life without the local police getting involved, so I pick up a wiimote and escape in to the world of Zelda. Many students don’t want to be at school. They may not hate it, but they’d rather be elsewhere. Why not make school a place where students want to be? Learning can be fun, but so can just about every other aspect of school. Even when the material is less than desirable in the students eyes you can still make them strive to learn.

ClassRealm is about motivating students. Rewarding them for good deeds and hard work. Making them want to learn. They will gain achievements and experience points that only exist in ClassRealm. You don’t have to bestow a crown on them or honor them in parade, they get a virtual medal that they can be proud of. Like gamers, most students like the feeling of achievement and strive to reach their personal goals, whether they be athletic, social, or educational. Take yourself back to 6th grade. You just got all A’s on your report card! You also earned the “Ultimate Badge of Awesome Excellence”! Which one of those are you going to brag to your friends about? ClassRealm puts a fun and magical face on normal classroom rewards. Whether students are pushed by pride, competition or fun is up to them, the important aspect is that students want to learn and they continue to learn. Making school attractive to students is one of our biggest goals.

Look for part two later this week where I will delve in to “Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic” motivation.

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