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College STEM Meets Gamification

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Research shows that students are more motivated when competing against themselves instead of their peers.

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Yan Shi's computer science course at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville isn't exactly typical.

Not simply a professor, Shi is a "king of the kingdom," and her Intro to Computer Science class is informally dubbed the "dragon slayer game." Students are "warriors" with weekly quests to acquire spells and weapons — and knowledge.

Shi and other professors across the country are beginning to integrate gaming into their courses, even overhauling them to include elements from video games such as leaderboards and earned badges.

"A lot of feedback is 'Games are not serious,'" says Michael Brown, an associate professor of education at Iowa State University. "Part of the reason people like to play games is that they're fun; if you make learning experiences transformative but also fun, they're more engaging."

From Inside Higher Ed
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