The Gamification of Everything – Including Phys Ed

Back in 2008 I wrote a blog post about how I intended to apply game design theory within my PE classroom. This led me down the path of modifying structures within my units to introduce concepts such as the ability to level up, and being able to repeat  assessment items as many times as the student desired to achieve the desired outcome.

Flash forward to 2013 and it’s becoming very clear that the world is becoming more and more Gamified.  Gamification is the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. When you mention the word Gamification, its easy to think exclusively about video games, however the reality is that more traditional objects and social situations abide by these dynamics. Take for example a frequent flyer program or happy hour. Both of these reward the user and encourage participation & change.

With this in mind, I have been thinking recently about how Gamification fits into the Health and Fitness genre and more specifically within Physical Education. So here are a couple of tools and devices which employ some of the powerful game dynamics, providing opportunities for behaviour change.

Zombies, Run – This action packed game app, places you in a post apocalyptic world where you are required to run to escape an ever approaching zombie hoard. All of this action is presented to you via your headphones, making for a really powerful running experience. Read the comments and reviews left on the iTunes/Android stores for a clear insight into this games power to improve health. Check out the video of the app in action below


Mobile Adventure Walks – Treasure Hunting Meets everyday walking with this app. To put it simply, users can create or participate in adventure walks. To create your own, open the app and take to the streets stopping at interesting locations where you can design an appropriate question. Continue this process over and over to generate a fun walking adventure that others than participate within. Earn points and track your total distance.  Walking has never been so fun.Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 8.25.10 PM

SCVNGR – Available for Both iOS and Android. This game is all about going places, doing challenges and earning points. Essentially it turns your actions into real world rewards

Nintendo Wii/Xbox Kinect – These devices have created a cultural revolution, enticing an entire different cross section of users to engage in video game play. The combination of physical movement intersecting with game play has led to a number of truly innovative classroom uses.

Fuegos Adventure – Fuegos River Adventure requires the user to control the game via physical manipulation of their body. Finishing the game requires significant effort, with users advancing levels as they complete them.

Freaky Alarm – This alarm clock gamifies your morning alarm clock. Simply set your desired wake up time, and the alarm will take you through a serious of rigorous quizzes and puzzles which you need to solve in order to turn the alarm off. Alternatively you can enlist a “Get Up” mode, where you are actually required to get out of you bed and photograph a previously organised item, like your letterbox to switch the app off. See the app in action below


Carrot or Habit RPG – These task manager applications allow users to keep track of their daily to do lists with an interesting twist. With Carrot, you receive points for the tasks you complete. Don’t complete tasks and you will anger Carrot to point of it becoming increasingly rude and obnoxious. Earn points to bring him back to the good side. Habit RPG extends this even further allowing you to compete against your friends in the title of most productive. Earn points, buy virtual items and fight against your colleagues for supremacy.

So as we continue to see applications introduce the game layer into our everyday life’s, how exactly will this impact on education and the classroom?  You can be assured that this is only just the beginning.

What does a Gamified Physical Education class look like?

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