Gamification involves using game design elements in non-game contexts. The UAE applied this with the KidX portal.
What is gamification?
According to a document by OECD (PDF), gamification refers to using game design elements in non-game contexts and examining ways in which the pedagogical structure of games can be used in the design of educational activities while maintaining a sense of playfulness.
How is it useful for student learning?
Playing can improve memory and stimulate growth in the cerebral cortex, provide venues through which
learners can engage with academic tasks, contribute to language development, and promote creative problem solving and reasoning, among other benefits.
Through gaming, children can achieve a state of ‘flow’, that is, a state of total focus without feeling too bored, relaxed, anxious or thrilled. The idea of gamification also highlights the importance of the learner’s voice and agency and therefore implies rethinking and adding nuance to the Vygotskian notion of ‘zone of proximal development’.
Through the lens of play and gaming, the learner’s ability informs the design of learning activities, and the activity itself also activates the motivation and enjoyment that encourage students to go beyond the requirements to meet extended goals.
Application of gamification in the UAE
In February 2019, Ministry of Community Development and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) launched jointly KidX, a digital platform for children. The platform targets children and adolescents through an interactive digital environment using games and virtual reality technologies to raise children’s awareness of the UAE government and encourage them to express their views on the services, as well as deal with smart government and smart cities.
The platform engages the children in adventures with the aim to inform them of the government entities and services of interest to the community, while urging them to be positive and supportive members of the community’s happiness. The platform’s concept also takes into consideration the rights of the child, especially the right to access all information that brings knowledge to them as set forth in the Wadeema Law. In addition to the website, KidX is also available through iTunes.