Could an education built upon video games revolutionize our schools?
Daniel Burrus’ unique and glaringly obvious post “An Education Revolution: Automate and Humanize!” is something I have been pondering for a long while. Not so much the idea that we should allow for integration of technology and video games into education, more over, how we are to integrate such a medium?
This notion has been the subject of many of my runs as of late. I have been driven crazy with visuals of college classrooms where material is pushed to students in real-time via a passcode protected app which disables access out until the lecture is complete. Or the idea of a grade-school MMORPG which allows for level progression though subtle challenges of which can be tackled in a number of ways (math, english, chemistry, history, art, etc.), with the game rating the child’s skills in each category unbeknownst to the them.
This is a concept I wish had been applied to me while I was in school. I have struggled throughout the vast majority of my post-college life with “what” or “whom” I want to become. Maybe there is beauty in finding your own path but I cannot help but feel that 16+ years of schooling should provide one with a small sense of direction. Where some know exactly what they are passionate about and desire in life, others are left to juggle what is important to themselves and what is important to the one’s funding their education.
The comfort that a complex application/game could provide a little direction to those of us with conflicting guidance is just that… comfortable. It may seem highly unrealistic and lazy, but it just may allow some to find their way.
Compare an iPad to a traditional notebook. A new user sees a single button on the face versus a plethora of plastic keys. Intimidation only begins to describe the feeling that courses through a new user of the traditional notebook. In the case of the iPad, simplicity dictates its value and success more than its price point. Essentially, the hardware has been removed. Nearly uninhibited access to content and creative toolsets to produce whenever, wherever, and however has been given to the user. For instance, just as had thought this post was complete, I was inspired by a Facebook comment left by my aunt, an educator, and I decided to add a little more. As I lie in bed, I am editing and adding content with one hand on my iPhone from the WordPress app, customized for just this sort of input.
As Daniel suggests, allowing a video game or application to teach core concepts and rules can allow teachers to focus on higher thought and ideas. Freeing users from learning how to use a tool allows them to focus on creativity and complex concepts. If students can spend less time fussing with core concepts, they may be quicker to discovering and honing in on their strengths, goals, and passions.
Maybe I am obsessed with quantization, but after taking several MBTI and other personality tests to figure out my personal career direction, I couldn’t help but long for something simpler. The idea that some automated/crowd-sourced computerized system could have tracked just how fast I was able to solve those calculus problems, versus how cleverly structured my short story was, versus how accurately I scored on my multiple choice history exams seems comforting. Maybe at the end of 16+ years, this system could spit out the answer “you were built for writing/engineering/computer science/customer service/management/teaching/cooking” rather than “here’s your Political Science degree… figure the rest out…” Then again, maybe that is the beauty of life…
What are your thoughts?
Image source [LinkedIn]