“Gamification” Makes English Classes Connect

For Dr. Daniel Harrold, teaching is a game. In a good way, that is. The Baldwin High School English teacher has brought “gamification” to the classroom, using aspects of gaming — achieving levels, completing tasks, gaining mastery of materials before moving on, acquiring points – to give his students more autonomy in their learning and to make English more relevant. Beginning last year, Dr. Harrold introduced gamification and the results have been great. Not only do his students cover the required English curriculum but they also learn on their own and the material is “sticking.”


What is gamification?

Gamification is applying game elements to something that isn’t a game otherwise. I had seen a number of teachers talk about gamification in theory and realized no one was doing it here. In six months, I designed this course, using gamification in my English classes.


How does it work?

Each English unit is a four-step process. I put together a video on something – say poetry – and students watch, take notes, read, turn in assignments. That’s the understanding phase. They explore the text through a number of options like peer discussions and audio recordings. The third step is synthesis, when they have a project to complete. Finally, there’s a test. The course design mirrors that of a role-playing video game, without being a game.


What is the result?

Because they have to achieve levels to move ahead, they work at their own pace. Some are faster than others, but they all learn to be autonomous. This is a skill they’ll need for college and the work place, and I’ve found that students feel they’re finally starting to do work that will stick with them.


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Watch: The Terrible Towel and 45 Years of Steelers Nation

Perspectives from Franco Harris to Joe Manganiello.

Yinzers Eating Chicken Wings Are Going to Be on TV

Mt. Washington’s Bigham Tavern is the latest ‘Burgh eatery to host a film crew.

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

32 Years Celebrating Pittsburghers of the Year

As we honor the 2017 Pittsburghers of the year, take a look back at the previous honorees and their significant, unforgettable contributions to our city.

Wish a Steeler a Speedy Recovery in a Big Way

An oversized get-well-soon card for Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is waiting for your signature Downtown.

Watch: Who is Faster on a Zamboni? Crosby or Malkin?

Sid and Geno love to compete, especially against each other. This time, the future Hall-of-Famers climbed aboard Zamboni machines for a race across a parking lot.

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.