Greetings Friends – Please Help Me Find Good Gamification and Project Based Learning Examples

Andrea wears a Fitbit.  She began taking it seriously when our son Sam became her online coach and cheerleader and started tracking her progress through the Fitbit app.  Once she discovered that she could set goals and earn badges for “step milestones” she got really into it. She’s walking more now, she keeps track of how much exercise she’s getting, and she feels great about it—because she’s connected to Sam and because staying fit has become somewhat of a game for her.

Andrea wears a Fitbit.

This isn’t just happening to Andrea, it’s everywhere!  It’s called “gamification.”  Gamification is the process of using game mechanics to shape human behavior in prescribed ways. Jane McGonigal gave a TED Talk where she described her game called Super Better, her talk has pretty much become the unofficial gamification movement anthem.  Here is a link to the talk, it is definitely worth watching.

Jane McGonigal talks at TED about gamification

And then there’s the example of Foldit–the “solve puzzles for science” crowdsourcing experiment that encourages gamers to play a game of folding proteins with the larger goal of making scientific advances. Just like other online games, Foldit includes various game mechanics—such as leaderboards–to reward and motivate players.


With this new gamification movement afoot, I’ve been thinking a lot about what this means for the toy and game industry. One would think that this would be a revolution of sorts in the industry. People are finally viewing games as having some higher purpose. They can help you to reach a goal, make you smarter, a better friend or citizen or keep you on track with your exercise routine or diet.

I am not seeing as much as I would expect to from our industry.  What is your perspective?   I welcome your thoughts and I would love to learn more about what’s actually out there.

Please share any examples of creative and successful Gamification style programs that are being used for kids. Just “reply” to this post, give a short description of the program and include a link so that everyone can find it for themselves.  With a little luck we’ll end up with a long string of creative ideas that leads to a bigger conversation.

Take a peek at some of the examples we’ve already collected here.

4 thoughts on “Greetings Friends – Please Help Me Find Good Gamification and Project Based Learning Examples

  1. Charlotte

    As a former elementary school teacher, I am particularly intrigued by ways gamification is being used in the classroom to encourage deeper thinking and incent students to push the limits and stretch themselves further. My favorite example of gamification is a project launched in Charlottesville, Virginia by a veteran teacher named John Hunter. This remarkable educator engaged his 4th graders in a political science simulation called the World Peace Game.

    A brief description, from the World Peace Foundation site:

    “The World Peace Game is a hands-on political simulation that gives players the opportunity to explore the connectedness of the global community through the lens of the economic, social, and environmental crises and the imminent threat of war. The goal of the game is to extricate each country from dangerous circumstances and achieve global prosperity with the least amount of military intervention. As “nation teams,” students will gain greater understanding of the critical impact of information and how it is used.”

    Using game mechanics, this program triggers an eight-week transformation of the children from students of a neighborhood public school to citizens of the world – powerful stuff!

    This trailer from the film World Peace..and other 4th-grade achievements shows the project in action and reveals how a wise, loving teacher can unleash students’ full potential, I dare you not to be inspired!

  2. Chris Morgan

    I’m on the committee for the Celebration of Mind ( Each year, we encourage people around the world to hold Celebration of Mind Parties on or about October 21, Martin Gardner’s birthday. Martin devoted his life to fostering recreational mathematics, and we continue his legacy by offering parties featuring creative activities such as magic tricks, puzzles, illusions, intriguing math problems, and other playful problems to spark your creativity.

    One good example of “gamification” is our Celebration of Mind Hexaflexagon Party Online Organizer’s Kit, at This site gives complete instructions to anyone who wants to host their own Celebration of Mind party. For the flexagon party, participants would cut out, decorate, fold up, activate, and play with their own hexaflexagon puzzles. We explain how to do it and provide the PDF files. Each organizer would then print out the paper materials and supply scissors, tape and inspiration for the kids coming to the party.

    The “gamification” idea comes in because the flexagon party is just one part of a larger network of Celebration Parties, which can have many different activities. For each party, we supply a structure and purpose for the event, as well as the required materials. We can replace one activity with another — for example, an Illusion Building workshop, a Strategy Game Tournament, or the like.

    When we launched the flexagon program in October 2012, we offered some background research on flexagons to Vi Hart for use in her YouTube Hexaflexagon videos. The first of these videos went viral, with well over 5 million views! Vi linked to us in her liner notes, and we continue to get a steady stream of partiers to the Hexaflexagon program to this day. (Vi’s videos can be found at: and )

    We think gamification can do a lot to expand the whole notion of game-playing!

  3. Kevin Clark

    Bill, these are good questions that you ask! Here are four examples of gamification for you.
    Code Club World teaches kids how to code through gamification:

    Zamzee uses gamification to encourage healthy physical activity:

    Gamestar Mechanic has learners create their own video games:

    Everfi teaches financial literacy using gamification elements like social networking, video games, and avatars

  4. Laura Ferry

    Hi Bill,
    This is Laura Ferry from CWIST – Kids’ Challenges With a Twist. I’d like to share our digital platform as an example of gamification in action.

    CWIST (‘kwist) is a motivational system where kids embark on scripted adventures called “cwists” with the goal of earning a wish once they have completed a fun, educational project. It’s a great way to get kids doing things that are both educational and fun by applying a game-like structure that includes goals and rewards. I would argue that this is gamification. My partner Chris Sleat says “We try to turn the whole world into a game!”

    Also… because CWIST is built on a system, we can go out to our audience and ask them to submit their own best CWIST challenges… crowd-sourcing creativity!

    CWIST makes parents’ lives easier by connecting them to a community of parents and educators and a library of challenges that motivate kids to get what they want. Parents love it because it teaches their kids life literacy and work ethic. Kids love it because the CWIST adventures are exciting and rewarding.

    Here is the link to our website and our blog so you can find out more:


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