Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

Gamification in a Homo Zappiens Class: Levels and Rewards to Improve Students’ Behavior and Increase their Involvement

Ionuț Căpeneață, Transilvania University (Romania)


This paper looks into how an online-like game that is integrated during the English class can improve the students’ behavior and their involvement in learning. The target group of this research consists of 18 students, third graders (9-10 year olds), from Olga Gudynn International School from Voluntari, Romania. The children possess a very good level of English, but they have some behavioral problems and a lack of involvement in the class. The research was conducted during the school year 2018-2019. In order to address the class issues – behavior and lack of involvement – a game was developed by drawing inspiration from the online games design. The game makes use of two categories of buckets and drops that “measure” good behavior and involvement. During the English class, the teacher draws a bucket on the board and, if the students properly behave for 10 minutes, a drop is drawn in the bucket. The students also have a paper bucket and five paper drops. At the end of an English class, five drops in the bucket on the board bring a paper drop in the paper bucket. When the students manage five paper drops in the paper bucket, they pass a level and receive an award. During the school year, the students’ behavior and involvement was observed with grids. All the students managed to improve their behavior and 90% of the students were more involved during the English class. In order to explore the students’ perception about the bucket-and-drops-game, a group interview was applied. Results show children were unanimously enthusiastic about it. There is also the case of two students who confessed that, because of this game, they find the English class funnier and they love English. Communication competence has been measured with a progress test and observation grids, that highlight an A2 level overall.

Keywords: behavior, involvement, games, rewards.

[1] Gardner, H., Davis, K. (2014) The App Generation. How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World, New Haven and London: Yale University Press
[2] Ween, V., Vrakking, B. (2006) Homo Zappiens. Growing up in a digital age. London: Network Continuum Education
[3] Vandergriff, I. (2016) Second language discourse in the Digital World. Linguistic and social practices in and beyond the networked classroom, Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company 

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