After college, I taught English online to Chinese students as part time work. From pre-k to high school, I was in front of my computer before dawn talking about prepositions to kids with a wide range of attitudes: some happy to be there, others beaten from a hard day at school only to be forced in front of me, who was eager to teach, ask, and quiz about a variety of vocabulary and grammatical points. It didn’t take me long to realize that keeping a student engaged results in a class I could be proud of, and more bookings (and money). I found myself thinking of and searching for ways to keep engagement high.
With the younger students, I never had to guess whether I was boring or hitting a homerun. The kids who loved me were on cloud nine, and those who thought I should add more games throughout the lesson let me know. What caught their attention and made a potentially boring lesson was also so simple and easy. Although the click-and-drag features of the PowerPoint-slide-esque platform were animated years ago and never really updated after the platform scaled way up, the kids loved it. They could choose their character (out of two) and drag them along a pathway as they learned. They could look at a static picture and proudly name all the colors and enumerate every animal present. The younger kids didn’t need a sophisticated, gamified lesson. The bells and whistles are fun when present, but didn’t honestly make much of a difference in engagement. Kids just needed something simple that showed progression and felt kind of like a game. They needed to feel like they were mastering something that was simple and direct. (And a couple of tic-tac-toe games didn’t hurt either.)
We at Learnatric are gamifying the learning experience for kids, and showing them the progress they make as a result of learning with us. We also focus on showing kids their results so they can recognize what all they’ve learned. When kids have fun learning and review (or show off) what they’ve learned, their confidence is undeniable.