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April 16, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Forget Gamification: It’s Time For Mastery–Criticism of Gamification in Our Education System

“Consider the traditional education system. It’s a kind of game. It’s got points. But instead of compelling us to care deeply about the subject, the game for students is simply to earn the points. That is why most students cram for tests and then forget the material almost immediately — because the system is designed to focus on the extrinsic reward, rather than allowing us to exercise our hard-wired need for mastery.”

From Forget Gamification: It’s Time For Mastery

I think this quote is certainly thought provoking. I think it is correct. I think it posits two things in contradiction with each other (as mutually exclusive) when they may not be.

Life is developmental. We grow over time. Plus a focus on gamification might help alter the current challenges around grading. It might be in better:
1. Aligning those incentives to real world needs.
2. Providing visibility to accomplishment.
3. Not forcing students to wait 6 weeks for “quality” feedback.

Also life is full of diversity. Some people will respond to intrinsic and extrinsic reward with different degrees of effectiveness. However, it is important to note that we have to look at these issues over the longer time frame….how they are effecting the kids habits of mine.

Personally one of the things that got me into learning & computers was gamification:
1. Gamification in the form of flash cards.
2. Gamification in the form of a math program resembling space invaders (kind of like flash cards)
3. Gamification of the classroom (Jeopardy type games & spelling bees & various reward incentives)
4. Gamification in the form of debate

The overall nature of the quote probably doesn’t do justice to the critique of gamification in the classroom. As such you can read the full criticism here.

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