As an educational technology advocate and a “tech-savvy teacher,” I am always a little cynical of adopting any system, strategy or philosophy that promises to create universal or mass appeal for students.
I am reminded by works like Why don’t kids like school? by Daniel Willingham that the teaching of students is a complex business and often shortcuts don’t bring desired results.
I feel the same way about the energy around gamification: I do think there is something here but it is something we can draw from in the way we can plan and deliver instruction. I am not sure if it is the answer to the motivation and engagement questions in a K-12 classroom, but, it couldn’t hurt to explore.
There are two great pieces that you should review on the topic.
In a post on Lifehacker this week, Thorin Klosowski doesn’t an excellent job looking at the topic, including the psychological power behind the model and the interesting admission that it doesn’t work for him. There is excellent advice here on caveats about the model and the notion that context matters.
You should also view Paul Anderson’s talk on game design in the classroom at 2012’s TedX in Bozeman, Montana. What I love about this specific talk is that while it acknowledges the power in the framework, it can’t along overcome some weaknesses our diverse student body, like the lack of deep reading skills of some students:
What do you think? Hit is up in the comments about where you think gamification could be a winner in our educational system?