The Prize Box. The Pizza Party. The Special Breakfast. Teachers have all sorts of ways to provide student rewards. For me, a big problem is that these rewards can get pretty expensive. There are other issues too – older students might not care about a prize box, your school might frown on unhealthy eating choices, or the novelty of the choices has long worn off. Game design gives the classroom teacher a few different options to create student rewards.

Game rewards are often broken into 4 categories called ‘SAPS’ or Status, Access, Power, and Stuff.  When Super Mario collects 100 coins the player is rewarded with an extra life mushroom – a physical object that can be collected. Prize Boxes fall into the Stuff category. In the classroom, stuff gets expensive and in gamification theory it is the least effective of the rewards. The effects wear off quickly and the overjustification effect is more likely.

  • Overjustification effect: This effect     occurs when a person’s intrinsic interest in a previously unrewarded activity is decreased as a result of engaging in that activity as a means to an extrinsic goal (e.g., financial reward) (Deci et al., 1999). – From behvioraleconomics.com

The most effective rewards tend rank

  1. Status
  2. Access
  3. Power
  4. Stuff

I am currently building a unit with ‘access’ as the primary external motivator in finishing the flipped lecture materials. (I say external because their are internal motives as well). Access is when the player (student) has a private or special opportunity that is available only to them as a result of their actions.  This is quite common in business gamification. My local grocery store’s bakery gives kids 12 and under a free cookie and cookie card. When a kid gets a cookie they get the card punched. When they have 10 punches their name is put into a drawing for a large cookie cake. Nearly every child that has a card will lose the drawing – they are not motivated by the large cookie but the access to the drawing. Yes, the ‘stuff’ free cookie is a draw but (my boys at least) ask to go to the store to get their card punched, not just for a free cookie. 

The point of the reward is to increase interaction with the bakery and by bringing the kids thier parents are more likely to buy something. The point of bringing access rewards into the classroom increase student engagement with material. I’m using access to j crease student completion of my flipped lectures. This is the reward system for the planned unit. There are 3 recorded lectures (each about 25 mins long). When a student successfully completes the Cornell Note activity associated with they will receive a badge or token that indicates they completed the activity. If they earn all 3 badges they will earn access to a special BreakoutEDU bonus challange based on the content in the recordings. The opportunity is limited to only those students that have met the desired behavior – completing the flipped lessons – thereby increasing the engagement with the materials.

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