By Suman Kabeer
Homework. Most students hear the word and sigh. Nearly everyone hates doing homework, and it’s easy to see why. They sit in front of boring textbooks and do work that they don’t see the point of. It is easy to lose perspective of what homework is for and what it is helping one do, which, at least one reason is to prepare for your exams. It’s an overall unpleasant experience that any student would rather not do. But what if this was not the only way? What if there was a way to make homework awesome and something to look forward to? I’m talking about homework gamification!
What Is Gamification?
Gamification is turning any activity into a game, with points and rewards. Whether you are doing linear algebra or social studies, turning your homework into a game will make sure that you look forward to doing it.
How To Go About It
First, you divide your syllabus into levels. As you progress through the year, you’ll essentially be leveling up just like you do in video games. So chapter one can be level one and so on. You can also divide your chapters into parts. This way, you can have mini-quests like finishing half your chapter in a set amount of time.
Next, figure out a system of points. Every assignment you complete can be worth ten points. If chapter one has four assignments, that’s 40 points. If you want to focus on reading your course material, you can assign one point to every page you get to read. Thus, ten pages gets you ten points. This is a great way to motivate you to read your texts if you are having difficulty doing that. Taking our linear algebra model from before, you can assign a certain number of points for every math problem you solve. You can look at these as skilling up. If you were playing Skyrim on your console, you would sneak around and level up your sneak skill. Just the same way, you could do sums and level up your math skill!
Time bonuses are part and parcel of any video game. Here, you will get a time bonus if you finish your homework faster. Bonuses like this are a great way to keep adding points to your score and will help keep you motivated throughout this process. This technique is especially great when you have a tight deadline for the homework that you cannot miss. You can even use this as a way to study for tests!
Rewards are what keep people hooked on video games so much. The feeling that you have earned something gives people a sudden rush of serotonin, or the “happy hormones”, and makes people feel good. People keep coming back for the sense of accomplishment and achievement that they felt earlier.
To figure out what to reward yourself with, look at what you are putting away when you do your homework. The most obvious thing would be time on social media. If you’re cutting that out, then that is an obvious reward. An easy way to go about this would be to post a picture on social media, sitting down to finish your homework, and then checking your notifications as a reward. The likes, comments, and reactions that you see will give you a natural boost. If you repeat this process enough times, you will associate the boost with finishing your homework, whether you’re doing online homework or any other form. Other things you can reward yourself with are fancy coffees, chocolates, fast food, or time with your friends and family.
You should work out a system of lives and lifelines that will help you finish your homework. People need homework help all the time. Having a system that takes that into account is very important. You can choose the number of lifelines you can keep for homework help, and have different numbers for different things. If you need help on homework frequently and want to cut down on it, then you can take points away after, say, 5 times of looking for outside help. If you’re looking for homework help and answers, you’ll find solutions both online and offline. If you want to encourage going to the library, you can keep a limited number of library helplines that don’t affect your points, kind of like a power-up.
This is not something everyone can do alone. You can rope in your friends as homework helpers for your online homework, and make this into a multiplayer game. When you need help, you can trade points with your homework helpers in exchange for homework help services. You can have different points for online homework help and offline homework help. You can also assign different points to different subjects. Computer science homework help can get you 10 points and cost your friend two points. Offline homework help can cost 10 points and reward 20 points.