How to retain children in school through games


I teach a journalism course at NYU to high school students via Zoom.

When I first set up my course, I planned to offer short lectures and discussions on various editorial elements (the structure of an article, the use of credible resources, interview techniques), way I teach my courses in person and remotely for adults at NYU School of Professional Studies. But having a young daughter, I know how difficult it is to keep the attention of children. I had to step up my game to keep Gen Z engaged and challenged. My research has shown that interactivity, competition and gambling rewards was the best way to help teens solve their problems. I added gamification to my arsenal of educational tools, defined as “applying typical game elements (eg, scoring, competing with others, rules of the game) to other areas of activity, usually as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.

Sameer Hinduja, co-director of Cyberbullying Research Center, explains why gamification works. “PowerPoints, conferences, and even traditional Zoom workshops are dry methods of sharing information and stimulating participation. Adolescents are neurologically wired to be receptive to learning if we can deliver it to them through interactive channels they are most familiar with, such as games. When behavior that uses critical thinking is rewarded, it increases student learning.

“Research shows that gamification increase their motivation, and he makes them part of a team, ”says Monica B. Glina, director of faculty development at NYU. “It’s important for high school students who want to explore their relationships with their peers.”

Southern California therapist Catherine Pearlman says the mental-physical connection of play helps students learn. “Teenagers are used to using multiple devices at the same time. Gamification addresses their need to have active minds and hands. So when you make a mistake in a game you might lose a point, but you keep playing so you learn from your mistakes and you can make them.

Carley Doktorski, a future NYU student at the College of Arts and Science who plans to major in journalism, recently took my class.

“I was so nervous that I didn’t sleep the night before class started. But it was a great experience. Right away, it was more interactive than five days of face-to-face lectures, and going through this process helps us discover the real publishing industry. “

Here are some of the educational tools and tactics I use and why they work.

Pre-class survey

For my classes, I start by challenging the teenagers: I assign them a reading to do before class, which I then test using the poll feature on Zoom or Polleverywhere.com to assess what they know and what to work on. After that, we discuss the materials and I answer their questions.

Glina says, “The survey is a great way to check in with students where they are at in their understanding, to diagnose what they know before teaching them, to introduce a new topic or to generate discussion.”

Quizzes involve leadership

As I progressed with gamification in my classes, I began to create quizzes on the materials I teach using sites such as Kahoot, eQuizShow, and Muzzylane. Students like it because they can compete with their classmates for higher rankings.

Glina says, “You can use these sites to create a game in which students use the answers to lesson problems to move them forward through scenarios (eg on how to build each part of an editorial). The key is to configure it so that if you get the right answer, you have the key to the next scenario. ”

Treasure hunts for springs

I create scavenger hunts for my classes, where I put teens into teams via Zoom panel rooms and give them a period of time (10-15 minutes) to search online for sources like research or experts. to use for their article writing assignments and -eds ops.

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