Video games and school were always two separate things in my life. You went to class, made your way home, did your homework, and were then free to game. I never thought gaming could be incorporated into the classroom. However, two kindergarten teachers in Canada did exactly that and won an award for their efforts. Their project? A Mario-like level-up program.
If you’re gonna aspire to be someone, there is no one better than Mario
The professors, Ellen Higgins and Rhonda Magee, devised a cool way to encourage their students. They set individual goals with the young ones. Every time one made progress, they’d climb up a Mario-themed chart. The idea was purely visual: no incentives like prizes were used.
As it turns out, this project ended up motivating the kids immensely. As Ellen stated:
We have five-year-olds running into the class, begging to work on their goal and move up a level, which we’ve never seen before. They truly have developed a growth mindset and are in charge of their own learning. It’s really exciting. With this system, everybody feels success and pride in themselves, which is paramount to viewing yourself as a lifelong learner. They’re not relying on getting a toy, or extra recess time. They do it because they want to do it. It really creates great habits for them.
Self-actualization. An important thing to develop at a young age. It’s way better than a competition, which ends up leaving kids with the idea others are either better or worse than themselves.
Both Ellen and Rhonda were among the 13 recipients of the National Inclusive Education Award presented by the New Brunswick Association for Community Living. Great job, you two!
Enthusiasts, did you ever have a video-game-like initiative like this in school? Was Mario involved? Let us know below!