Date of Award

Fall 11-21-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Belle Booker, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Floralba Morerro, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Leavery Y. Davidson, Ed.D.


This study explored whether teachers utilize games in the classroom, known as gamification and, if so, whether they used games according to game theory that exists in the field of gaming and game design. In higher education and secondary environments, educators report that problems exist as far as student behavior and engagement. Many students do not want to learn. The literature review conducted as part of this study indicated that when teachers gamified their classrooms few empirical investigations were conducted in the K-12 setting; another shortcoming was a lack of a uniform classification system for game elements among the literature, causing confusion in the research as to the approaches applied during each study and how conclusions were reached. The lack of practical application was important in this study because in order for game elements to engage and motivate students to trigger desired behavior, gamification should draw from the motivational qualities of good games as outlined by game designer McGonigal. Therefore, when a teacher opts to use gamification, a standard classification of game elements should be developed as part of educational game theory so that the what, how, and why is evident. In other words, teachers can benefit from this study by gaining an understanding of what constitutes a game element, how each element should be utilized, and for what purpose.