Sunday, 22 March 2015

Gamify Your Life

There are lots of great apps out there that can make the mundane seem more fun. By giving yourself small rewards, for completing small goals, you are able to turn these tasks into a fun game!

I use some of these to help me balance my free periods during the day at school, (usually 30/30), but also for completing bigger tasks,  (like going swimming 3+ times a week). I have also recommended these to students who struggle with time management and organisational skills, and have highlighted some of these to my Grade 10s during their Personal Project sessions! (For non-IB teachers 'Personal Project' is an independent project students complete in their final years of the IB-MYP. One of the main focusses of this project is growing as a learner, through developing your approaches to learning).

Here are my favourite apps to gamify your life!

I've already mentioned this app before, so thought I should start off with it here. With this app you can see yourself a variety of tasks, both ones that are time specific and non time specific. You select a character to act as your avatar, who is able to power-up and transform as you collect more points. The graphics here are beautiful and very cool, so this is a pleasure to play.

Doesn't this look amazing? Not only are you able to set yourself different challenges, but you have to prove that you have completed them and you have the option of sharing with friends or other people competing in the challenges. I like the 8-Bit graphics and the theming of this app is beautiful. At the moment it is only available on the US iTunes store, but will hopefully be available in the UK soon too. Ive sent them a tweet, so will update this when I know how likely that is to happen. I am moving to the US soon, so am very excited to try this app then!

The creators say what makes them stand out is the incentives behind helping people complete tasks. Instant Gratification, connected to receiving points and levelling up, while not completing tasks also allows you to lose health points and the activate community elements adds another level of accountability. To me these are things which appear in a lot of the apps which help you gamify your life, though many don't give you consequences when you don't complete tasks. I have set up my account on here and added a few small tasks like 'swimming' and 'blogging'.  Although the branding of this app is very cool and they have some nice characters, the user experience isn't wonderful-however I might get to grips with it more, then love it - I am undecided! This seems like quite a complicated app, so might better suit someone who is more of a traditional gamer.

I have a feeling that this game was made by nerdy students at university who were fed up of living with stinky housemates - it basically pitches itself as a place where you add all your household chores, characters for each person, then you can track if everyone if pulling their weight, but also give rewards to those doing the most housework, (including real-rewards, like taking them out for a drink). Some of the reviews on there are now also by families, where they use the site to track if the family's children were doing all their chores. Although not really made for school, I think this could work well in a primary school, for tidying up tasks, assigning different tasks like 'clear away the exercise books' or 'collect all the scissors'. For a secondary school classroom I think this would work well n Design or Art class. I also think because you can track progress over time, you could do little end of term treats for the most helpful students. I also like this as it can encourage team work and makes everyone understand their responsibilities.


SuperBetter seems a little more grown up than some of the others I'm reviewing. Although you do  'power up' this site doesn't seem to have many characters or other graphics that would remind you of more traditional games. The tasks themselves seem to be aimed at adults, and the example tasks seem to deal a lot with improving self-esteem, confidence and reducing anxiety. I like the look of this app and see the good in it, as it can prompt you to complete small self-care activities which you may otherwise neglect. However many of the tasks seem like things you can't measure, so I am unsure how you can tick them off as complete, (things like 'celebrate awesome'). I think this may be popular with my more yoga-loving friends.

Although this game looks very simple, it still adds a lot of fun and competition to you completing all the tasks on your to-do also have the extra incentive of not angering the carrot! When you complete tasks you are able to play mini-games. Throughout this app there is a lot of humour, which makes it a joy to use!

I believe this is also an app I have mentioned before - recommended to me by my colleague Michelle, this app allows you to set yourself short goals and assign time to them. For example, 20 minutes to answer emails, 45 minutes to work on marking, 25 minutes to work on lesson planning. I know that this helps me a lot, as boring tasks seem to take forever, and fun tasks fly by, so this makes sure I am properly tracking the time I spend on them. I also know that this app stops me from getting locked into a task and also stops me procrastinating. Although it doesn't exactly work like I game, I feel like I have achieved something every time I complete this task, so feels very similar!

I wish that I had access to these when I was at school, as I am sure it would have helped me lead a more balanced life, manage my homework and probably revise a lot more! As a teacher I use these to manage my work-load, and also for some elements of my personal life. These are great tools to support students, either through them using them as individuals, or through setting class challenges!