Gamification changing engagement

Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting my favourite sessions at #peakphysed conference at the MCG.

Gamification to me is huge. I was a child gamer and loved every minute of it. As an adult I reflect back and the trial and errors that occurred when trying to pass a level of win a game lead to some massive melt downs but it helped me push the boundary as bit by bit I was able to breakdown the game. One vivid memory was playing a 1980s Commodore 64 version of Ghostbusters and I had successfully navigated my way through the entire game and was left facing the Marshmallow Man at the end. He was moving side to side and all I had to do was step under his legs in order to scale the building and blow up the Marshmallow man as well as the Terror Dogs. The game was programmed to ensure that I had to at least do this 20 times before succeeding.

What it taught be though as that persistence and failure was best friends. Learning how to fail made me more successful.

I started 2018 teaching at Leopold PS and my opening address to my senior students was that during PE this year YOU WILL FAIL…. But together we will pick up the pieces and navigate you to a higher platform and launching pad.

Gamification is my methodology in PE. Pushing students to find the best way to beat the current level they are on and recognising that they can move themselves to a different platform when achieving the previous level. I have started creating scenarios within games which are road blocks from the normal pathway. For example in a striking and fielding game as a batter: Going out without hitting a ball. A student might find this negative in experience but the idea makes them think about what they need to do in order to pass that level. They have to ensure that the bowler or pitcher has the skill in order to be able to get them out. They have to predict where to stand in order to give the bowler a better view of the wicket or even try to predict where the ball will go after leaving the bowlers hand to ensure they do not touch it. This experiences then reflects that the child is starting to “Read the Play”. The outcome gets achieved and the child ticks off this component on their personal game card. “One step closer to levelling up”

Inspiration for content came from reading seperate books written by Shane Pill and Ray Breed- Both Game Sense Gurus from the land down under

Creating an addictive culture where differentiated practise is all around as is essential. Gamification is ‘NOT SOMETHING ELSE’ it is a method or a tool to use within your FMS structure or GAME SENSE structure or your SPORT ED structure or even your HEALTH ED structure.

We as adults are successful if we apply what we know but place ourselves inside the mindset of the child we are teaching. Seeing PhysEd through their lenses is essential in really connecting with the heart and soul of what we love and do.

Check out some of these awesome resources I have created on Gamification. They are slowly building and take lots of time to create but are so rewarding…..

Check out my webpage:…

Here you will find so many Gamification Downloads that you can use in your class. 


Today I woke up so excited. In fact jumping out of my pants excited. I don’t think I have been this excited since lining up with my good mates Azza Gardiner and Nathan Weaver to get into Disneyland this past March. You see for the past couple of months I have been working really hard to find the ‘inner-lining’ of my Physical Education Classes. I love teaching FMS and I love connect students with Games Sense modules but I felt that I was also letting them down even with high-quality learning experiences. I needed more from myself. Differentiated practise is a passion of mine and I truely work my the understanding that if a child has to make an effort to while attending my class then I have make a greater effort to make sure their individual experiences meet the needs of their expectations. I hear some of you out there laugh and dismiss what I am saying but personalised education ‘STICKS’ in the memories of children more than playing a game.

Lets step back for a minute so you can understand my thinking around this. I am a gamer from an early age. Many hours have been spent trying to achieve the next level on a game so that I can feel that self empowerment that I have gone better than the time before. I have also had some serious dummy spits. Some even resulting in the need for new computer screens….. ooopppssss.  I just get caught up……. Anyway this self empowerment for a brief moment allowed good endorphins to run through my body and made me feel unreal. Fast forward today and I still love games but not as much as my Mario Kart addicted son. I have watched him for many years burn up the track and today is ranked inside the top 20 Mario Kart players in the world. He is unbeatable whenever I try and play him. His addiction to this game made me reflect on the way I teach and that we now live in a generation of device gamers everywhere and anytime. The need to beat the next level or collect just one my cherry or shoot one more bad guy is in nearly every shop, every line, every car,  every bus, every household and dinner times and unfortunately it is true but toilets and restrooms as well. The desire to be better is no different to how we need to teach in PE. We want children to get to that next level of their learning, to take their learning and apply it in a meaningful way to make their life better. As they pass ‘EACH LEVEL’ in Physical Education, they can run faster, jump higher, shoot further, hit more direct and strike with more power. This then allows for them to be more successful in multiple outcomes creating a rush of endorphins that empower students to feel good about their performances. Rather than play a whole grade game, we create small sided experiences and guide them through the game with tasks that create high success even if your team is destroyed on the field. It brings back a classroom teachers favourite, KICKBALL…. Around the world this game is the go to game of many classroom teachers. Now set it up with achievement cards from Striking and Fielding and the classroom teacher without knowing too much about PE can add so much depth to the learning experiences of each child. They in-fact can create multiple layers of success within the task for students while developing their understanding of the essential triggers that make the physical domain of learning tick for children.

My theory exists under this model. (Now I want you to keep in mind that in 2017 I have been employed as an Instructional Coach to increase the education of all teachers through Physical Education). The study that I was conducting this year on behalf of the University of Canberra saw my ability to influence good teaching to become excellent teaching. After laying the foundation of solid teaching practises and understandings of Physical Education I then personalised the experiences of every teacher with some reaching the Gamification mode in which I present here and have spoken about with the EPEW PhysEd Summit. I proved the theory and our results would be published in journals shortly…. (There is so much more that goes into the research but this was just a small part of what we achieved)………. Ok onto my theory– Here lies the issue, and I am no exception to this observation. Often teachers and me included engage students in awesome Game Sense lessons. We teach them a deep understanding and appreciation of concepts and attach them to meaningful learning experiences. Last year I created a unit called DUDE PERFECT in which I challenged the boundaries of student thinking centred around Target Games. It was exciting but focused on collaborative practices centred around two or three grade objectives or focuses. I wanted to go deeper into personalised learning….. Along comes the middle layer!!!!!!

The middle layer I refer to as the custard in a vanilla slice…. the sweet spot as you would……. I challenged my class to try and play a game within the overall game.  For instance- A game of cricket can be quite boring waiting in a fielding position for the ball to come to you so you can stop it and return it. Lets face it you might stand there for 30 minutes before touching the ball once. This, when self-assessed, may result in the child not having a rewarding experience in Physical Education and may, in fact, result in a child withdrawing from the sport. The Gamification model I introduced to teachers and students then allows each child or team to focus on a set of outcomes that they have some control over and no control over. The challenge is to try and achieve those aspects of the game within the game before the game finishes. For example: Your students are playing a game of Volleyball as part of your net and wall games. One of the middle layer focuses requires a team to pass the ball three times, twice in a row within the same point. This then can be ticked off on the game card and the team can then focus on achieving another pre set skill. Upon achievement of all six tasks within the game students can celebrate success regardless of whether they win or lose. In fact from the work that I have done with students testing this I have found that in particular that child or children that often do not touch the ball or engage as much as your classes more skilled students are more engaged in achieving the challenges within the game than actually playing the game. The focus then becomes largely around simple goal setting and collaborative work (in teams) or trial and error practices.

It is truly exciting and adds an element of success orientated Guided Discovery and Inquiry based teaching.

My favourite part came just the other day when I had a group of students that were already past the levels that I had created. I created them a blank template in which they needed to write their own goals. This was such a proud moment to watch.

Anyway legends-  Feel free to download your free resource right here. I encourage you to and keep an eye on this page. With my summer here I am going to have some more free time to add so much more depth to these cards to be able to cater for levelled learning and progress students accordingly. After all we are not teaching Grades in Physical Education, we are teaching individuals.

2018- Here I am!!

Dear 2018,

My name is Andy Hair. I hope you are ready as I am coming to get you and help you become one of the greatest years we know. You see its not that your brothers and sisters of 2015, 2016 and 2017 weren’t bad but it is just that I have a new set of equipment to work with and new neighbours to play with all the fresh ideas. I know that you will agree.

This year I will be returning to the outstanding Physical Education facilities of Leopold PS where I spent 15 beautiful years creating the foundation of outstanding PE fundamentals that saw the program receive international applause from many educators across the globe. I can also let you in on a secret before the children hear this secret. In 2018 I have a theme that will encompass everything I do in Physical Education:


I value this concept greater than the activities that will involve the children. You see its simple without risk change will not occur. Every one of the 810 children at Leopold will define in every experience what their personal risk level is and I will encourage them to all step over this line. Growth is the key factor in success and personalisation of experiences is the key to making a difference in children aspiring to greatness and dreaming they can be anything they want. I expect children to be uncomfortable, anxious, and worried about their performance while in PE. This means they are on the edge looking over and not sure what the outcome will be. This is the GROWTH POINT ledge we are wanting to achieve.

Throughout the year keep an eye on this blog and what transpires in Leopold Physical Education. It is sure to change your mindset as an educator. I am currently torn between a few drivers of knowledge in order to get children taking risks. This include:

  • Choose your own adventure
  • Dressing up PE- Head, Arms, Torso & Legs
  • Gamification

One thing is for sure the children at Leopold PS are in for an amazing year of learning. I recently was involved in a podcast from Ryan Ellis- The PE Umbrella– and I spoke about how I viewed myself as a PE teacher. I mentioned to Ryan that I have children buying a ticket to PE like they are going to a theme park or magic show. They expect to be involved in the unexpected and also navigate their way through the park at a level they enjoy. (keeping in mind all the time that I am going to ask them to take a risk).

Looking forward to sharing the journey 2018. You are going to be amazing!!!!!!

Skip to toolbar