June 11, 2012

Gamification in Education Pt 3

How I wish...

In our on-going series of gamification in education, we have seen quite a bit of the positives that come along with an increased emphasis on making learning fun for students.  While I am not going to go all negative on you like some of my colleagues have done, I do believe that this new article puts a little bit of a damper on the effort.  While gamification still has high hopes, it is simply not a panacea for poor teachers.  As a quote from the article states:

“To be honest, I am probably the limiting factor in my students’ enjoyment and full appreciation of it.”
Therefore, what you put in is what you get out.  It becomes evident that while you read the article, this teacher was being a bit tough on herself; however the main principle holds.  I can tell you from personal experience that teaching games, by themselves, will not improve your class.  The games have to not only be designed well, but also have to be managed well in the class.  And while the payoff may be nice, there tends to be a lot of work involved in it compared to simply teaching.

I believe though that what we ought to really focus on here is the replicability of said games.  Given that software (especially freeware) is incredibly cheap to replicate and to receive, a unified platform for teachers to pass and share new games would be tremendously helpful and time-saving.  While it is true that many of the major education businesses do offer such services as a price, teachers themselves can not typically afford it.  Therefore, some sort of combination between open-source and gamification would do a lot of good for teachers and students.

Hmmm... perhaps there is an idea for a new website / business (Ive obviously spent too much time at IE)...

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