Leveling Up Learning: Executive Function and Gamification

Leveling Up Learning: Executive Function and Gamification

Looking for innovative ways to engage and empower your students? Gamification holds tremendous potential for enhancing learning experiences and promoting executive function.

Executive Function and Gamification

Gamification harnesses the motivational power of games to promote student engagement, persistence, and mastery. By incorporating elements of game playing into lessons, teachers can create dynamic learning environments that not only captivate students’ interest but also help students practice building their working memory, cognitive flexibility, and self-control.

Game-Based Activities

Here are some of our favorite game-based activities that you can incorporate into lessons to promote executive function:

  1. Memory Challenges: Memory-based games, such as concentration, matching, or memory card games, can help strengthen students’ working memory. These activities require students to remember and recall information quickly, enhancing their ability to retain and manipulate information in their minds.
  2. Problem-Solving Quests: Problem-solving quests or challenges require students to use cognitive flexibility to adapt to changing situations and find creative solutions. Whether it’s solving puzzles, completing riddles, or navigating virtual escape rooms, these activities encourage students to think critically and flexibly while honing their problem-solving skills.
  3. Time Management Simulations: Time management simulations or time-based challenges require students to prioritize tasks, allocate resources, and manage their time effectively. Digital tools like online timers, task management apps, or classroom management platforms can simulate real-world scenarios and help students develop self-regulation and planning skills.
  4. Classroom Game Apps: Educational game apps and platforms offer customizable quizzes, challenges, and interactive activities that you can align with curriculum objectives. Try platforms like Kahoot!(link opens in new tab/window) , Quizizz(link opens in new tab/window) , and Classcraft(link opens in new tab/window)  to gamify assessments, review sessions, and classroom management tasks while providing immediate feedback to students.

Make Gamification a Part of Your Classroom

Bring elements of game playing into your classroom for a versatile approach to developing executive function in students. By leveraging game-based activities and digital tools, you can create immersive learning experiences that engage students, foster collaboration, and cultivate essential cognitive abilities.

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About the Author

Caitlin Vanderberg, Ed.M., is a SMARTS Associate and an Educational Specialist. She leads the MetaCOG Surveys & Toolkit and provides academic support to students with learning, attention, and executive function challenges. Before joining ResearchILD in 2020, Caitlin worked as an assistant elementary school teacher and with many arts education programs. Caitlin holds an Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

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