[Gamification] Game Element #2: Avatars


I’m really glad I’ve started this process of examining the usefulness of various game elements for my class.  Because I think the first one (health meter) has already been scratched from the list.  The health meter was going to be used as a way to track when a student failed to complete an assignment, etc.  But after thinking more about my new rubric/grading scheme, I don’t think it will be necessary at all.  When a student completes a task of some sort, they get 1 bar filled in for that learning target.  If they do not complete the task, they don’t get the bar.  So taking away “health” seems like it might be a redundancy.  Next up, Avatars:


I feel like I HAVE TO HAVE avatars, right? I mean c’mon, everyone loves ’em!  But do they really serve a purpose for my particular class game?  Right now I’m thinking yes, they do.  First, I want the students to have as much choice as possible.  So letting them pick an avatar, having that choice right up front (maybe even mission #1 like some other class-gamers I’ve seen) seems like a no brainer.  Then, I also think the avatar is a great way to let them personalize the space.  This should feel like their game, not mine.  If I want them to take control of the learning, they’ve got to feel in control of the game.

As always, please push back if you disagree!  Have you tried this before?  How’d it go?

5 thoughts on “[Gamification] Game Element #2: Avatars

  1. Stephen Collins

    I like “health” points. “Do your exercise” (try the practice task) to stay healthy; earn your level 1 when you “pass” the practice task (when you do it up to a certain standard).

  2. I agree that avatars are vital. I was thinking about what it would mean to “gain a level” in a classroom setting. In traditional games, it means you can get better gear, but I don’t know how that would translate in the classroom. Perhaps it would be things you could add to the avatar.

    Level 1: Underwear and an abacus.
    Level 2: Pants
    Level 3: T-shirt
    Level 4: Designer outfit and calculator.
    Level 5: Hat
    Level 6: Shades

    Etc. etc…

    • I’ve also thought a lot about what leveling up might mean and right now I’m kinda lost. I do like the idea of being able to add things to your avatar as an incentive, but with that system, they’d be limited on the choices of avatar. I think I want to keep it open since I’m going for buy-in with the avatars.

  3. Hello Mr Owen!

    As a proponent of math education in the United States, we need your help to promote our nationwide math competition by blogging or posting about it on your blog!

    As you probably already know, despite the fact that the US spends the most money on education per capita, our students are ranked 25th globally for math proficiency. The MATHCOUNTS Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to improving that statistic. MATHCOUNTS’ third annual “ Math Video Challenge” is a math competition for 6th to 8th graders that encourages student innovation as they create and star in their own math videos, thus exciting them to pursue higher education in math.

    As the webmaster of this awesome blog, we are asking you to help support this effort by mentioning us in your next blog or forum post or promoting our logo with a link to the site. So far this contest has gathered over 500 submissions and millions of views on the videos. Our goal this year is this year is to do even better. With your help, we are confident we will reach this goal.

    For more information on MATHCOUNTS or the Math Video Challenge, visit our webpages at mathcounts.org and videochallenge.mathcounts.org/math-camera-action.


    Jake Byrnes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s