Gamified School: some musings

Several of my friends are teachers, and one of them has started using game terminology to help the kids become more interested in learning.

Her passion is kinda infectious, so I thought I´d muse a bit on how a school system based on gamification principles might function.

So let´s say your kid gets enrolled in school, he´s a basic level one student with no skill set as to the purposes of our system. Even so, there are a lot of kids that learn to read a.s.o. before ever attending school (thank your parents please), so we need a way to differentiate between those who already know some stuff from the ones who don´t. A simple computerized test should help establish these initial levels.

Now, one of the things that games do really well is establishing a reward structure. School has this to some extent, through the grade structure, but I think we can spice it up a little. Let´s make it more like a game by using terminology the students are familiar with:

Levels - no more talk about what grade you´re in, it´s what level are you.
Skill points - No more grades, we´re talking actual XP here being used to level your skills. Say you need to complete relevant tasks equal to 100 XP to go up a skill point in the skill you want. Heck, the kind of skills you level might even give you an elective title.
Titles - Now, kids are already grouping into cliques like geeks, jocks, freaks and so on. These are mostly derogative though, so why not put them into the system as stuff like scientist, athlete and artist. I wouldn´t have minded being a level one scientist.

We need more though, we need quests!
Quest rewards could be XP and/or titles, it could be a communal quest for the entire class. To go on a field trip of some sort. The teachers would function as game masters, checking the progress of their students and guiding them through the jungle of knowledge.

The more I think about it, the more I like it. By allowing the students to chase their passions, they´d keep their curiosity as opposed to resisting being crammed full of stuff they considered useless. No more "are we going to have this on the exam?" Every year you could have a retention quiz, and seeing as their progress is tracked in the game every quiz could be individual to their progress.

So what do you do with the students that show no interest in some subjects that are still crucial that they get a grasp on. The system could be set up to cross reference these to the stuff they ARE interested in. maybe creating special quests that require knowledge of more than one field.

Any ideas on how it could work? Kick them into the comments below :)

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