Tech blogger and serial entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, famous for opening up the space frontier with the original Ansari X-Prize for commercialized spaceflight, recently wrote
“In the traditional education system, you start at an ‘A,’ and every time you get something wrong, your score gets lower and lower. At best it’s demotivating, and at worst it has nothing to do with the world you occupy as an adult. In the gaming world (e.g. Angry Birds), it’s just the opposite. You start with zero and every time you come up with something right, your score gets higher and higher.”
This quote gets to the heart of why I think gamification is the coming wave of education. Gamified learning is not only more relevant and efficient than traditional learning, it is inherently exciting and motivating. Long recognized as a powerful productivity tool in the business and sales realms, gamification is just now starting to make headway in education. One of the most popular language-learning apps, Duolingo, gamifies the process of learning a new language. Even more exciting, to my mind, is that what started as a commercial app like any other is now making its way into classrooms, helping to transform the school experience into something more fun and empowering.
The implications of this to me seem staggering. Imagine a world where “education” and “school” aren’t things that we have to make kids do, but that all kids want to do. Where there are no deadlines or barriers to learning anything, and any person of any age can begin to learn any subject at any time, as easily as getting addicted to the latest mobile game. How will this affect social mobility and intellectual freedom? How will it affect governments and corporations? How will it affect communities, families, and individuals? One thing I’m sure of is that I’m excited to see!