Gamification has grown in popularity as teachers and educators realize the wealth of potential that games offer their students, no matter the age. Fast fading is the idea that video games are a waste of time. Children these days are among the most tech-savvy people precisely because they have been playing games on a range of devices for nearly their entire lives. Gamification is not a new concept (Oregon Trail was a unique blend of fun and learning back in the 1980s), but it is only recently where educators began to embrace it for its potential.
As gamification grows in popularity, some edtech companies have not only embraced it but have found ways to take gamification to a whole new level. In Part I of this piece, we will profile three companies that are taking gamification to the next level. Without further ado, here we go.
This is a company that is backed by some of the biggest names in tech, such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, National Science Foundation, and Marvel. GameDesk is a nonprofit, unlike anything you have encountered. Their focus is on taking the modern classroom and transforming it into a futuristic marvel, and it does this entirely through a game-based learning initiative.
The nonprofit has four major initiatives, each with a different approach to learning and teaching using games at the core.
- GameDesk Studios is focused on using games to engage and teach students a range of content.
- Educade is attempting to revolutionize the way teachers present lessons through a slew of interactive apps and hands-on instruction
- PlayMaker School focuses on student empowerment through learning that is based on discovery and creating. This is a more real-world approach as it seeks to teach students to think for themselves and to be more innovative in solving problems.
- GameDesk Institute gives students the necessary tools to conduct research and work on professional development. It includes an outreach program for at-risk students.
While there is a bit of overlap between the different initiatives, they all have their focus that strives to make today’s classroom more accessible and engaging.
If you are interested in following and tracking their initiatives and any related news, you can find them on Twitter (@GameDesk), or you subscribe to their newsletter (at the bottom of the home page).
The need for people who can code is still growing because too few students are going into the field. Trinket is tackling this problem head on, and they know their target audience. Students do not want to be trapped at a computer all day, nor do they want to spend an hour or two sitting at a computer coding. Trinket gives them a platform where they can work from anywhere on a mobile device.
It should come as no surprise that many of the things developed on Trinket are games - even the learning aspects of the app are akin to games. If you are interested in introducing coding into your classroom, Trinket gives you everything you need, including a way of giving students a real-time coding challenge. It is fun, engaging, and everything that people think learning to code is not. They even have a musical component to help students learn about music in gaming and app development.
No two people learn the same, yet classrooms usually offer only a single approach to problems and solutions. CK-12 offers solutions that go above and beyond to ensure that you can give your students a more personalized (and customized) look at what they are learning.
The best way to do that is with games and lessons that are online. Students can go back and learn about things at their pace, review lessons you covered, and get an assessment of how well they understood the lessons. There are also some amazing simulations that illustrate some of the most challenging fields that really can’t be followed on paper (such as Physics and Chemistry).
The best way to understand what they have to offer is to go to their website and peruse the many areas and games that are available. There is definitively a math and heavy science approach, but there are other available lessons and games for a few of the arts.
Well, that’s it for Part I. In Part II, we will profile two additional companies that are taking gamification to the next level.
The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.