Is the Gamification of Education a Good Thing?

Kids' Computer

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When my oldest son was in kindergarten, homework consisted of math worksheets and a reading log. Fast forward two years, and my youngest son is in kindergarten. While both boys were in the same school for kindergarten, things have changed. My youngest son is now assigned e-homework. His teacher assigns modules from each week. I’ve heard mixed reactions from parents. While I love the idea of completing math, language, and science assignments online, some parents are concerned that kids are playing “games” rather than learning.

Though I do agree the EducationCity site could be designed better, I don’t think learning and game play are mutually exclusive. In fact, there may be lots of good reasons to learn while playing. Take a look at this YouTube video of Jane McGonigal talking about the skills students can learn from playing games.

While I may be biased because I work in the interactive industry, I believe playing online games is a good thing for education. That is, as long as online educational games are a part of a well balanced approach to education that doesn’t inhibit the imagination.

What do you think?


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