Gamifying Education

The concept of gamifying education is one that really interests me. To think that in this day and age we have reached a point where education could simulate the interaction between a player and a game excites me.

After watching a short clip on the gamification of education, I reached several opinions regarding the matter. Overall, I think it is a good idea, although I believe in many cases it could create complications. For starters, let me review why I think it is a positive gesture.

In many cases, children today find it difficult to remain focused, let alone interested in scholastic matters. There are several ideas as to why that is. Perhaps, the main issue resides in the rapid and progressive interaction between man an machine. We have become so attached, dependent, and committed to our technology that as a society, we could be viewed as a person with wire veins. Boarder line cyborgs. With this increasing attachment, our upcoming generations are challenged with different endeavors. Distractions. It is incredibly easy for us to simply stop doing what ever it is that we don’t want to do and aimlessly scroll through our phones, latch ourselves to a computer, or jump down the throats of our televisions. Technology is so readily at hand that it’s nearly impossible to escape the longing we have to get lost in it. So under these conditions, gamifying education brings the learning closer to home. In this sense, a student, being more familiar and comfortable with technology than sitting bored in a classroom, could essentially find pleasure in completing their work, and in turn actually gain the knowledge they need to be successful. In this respect, it also allows students to work at their own pace. Providing them the opportunity to repeat levels until they gain enough experience to defeat the boss and move on to the next world. Another positive is that students feel a sense of satisfaction in knowing that they have earned points right off the bat for completing an assignment. That feeling of progression is astronomically crucial to the student because if they feel like their is no benefit they will lose interest and motivation. Unfortunately, there are several issues I believe may occur with the gamification of education.

There are many students, believe it or not, that are not video game savy, do not find satisfaction in playing video games, and have no interest what so ever in them. If gamification where to happen accross the board, or even in just one district, I dare to assume that many students may actually perform worse than before. That lack of familiarity with games may just cause them to procrastinate, not complete work, and fall behind. Another issue resides in subject matter. Under what scholastic subjects will gamification be most effective? English, biology, mathematics, history, geography, etc? It seems as if every student has their strong points, preferences, and weaknesses regarding subjects. Another issue involves the ages of students. At what age is it appropriate to introduce the gamification. Many parents try to regulate the usage of technology to their children. Perhaps if gamification was introduced to public schools, many parents may not agree with this method as appropriate for a certain age range, or even at all. Also, if the work is designed to be used online, or with electronic devices, and would be required if administered to public schools, what happens if a student doesn’t have access to such technology at home, or have a reasonable means to find access to them? Is that something the school will fund and provide, or does this fall under the category of school supplies that parents need to finance? On top of that, there is also a concern regarding social structure and stability between students. If parents are trying to teach their children to be diverse with their interactions between other people and their usage of technology, how would applying gamification hinder that? Are there any major consequences to promoting students to be more technologically active? Perhaps if it is just for education students wont spend as much time, or get into their work as much as they would an actual video game. It is debatable. Furthermore, and most importantly, how do we decide to approach all of these concerns and issues. Yes, gamification can be useful and helpful to many students. It already has been. How do we create a balance between learning through gamification and learning in the classroom so that all students have access to what they feel most comfortable with while managing to increase the effectiveness of our educational system? Perhaps we provide the means for which students have to opportunity to gamify their education, and we leave it up to them to decide what courses they want to gamify, if at all.

Food for though. I enjoyed this exercise.

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