Gamification is just adding the element of a game to something that was not designed to be fun. Something like mowing the lawn or school.
- Games are built on ridiculous rules and artificial boundaries that we accept as reasonable.
So if I imagine mowing the lawn as part of an epic battle against invading hordes, where control over the growth, spread, color, and uniformity of organisms over a 15,000 square foot plot of land is up for grabs every weekend, then that is gamification.
In the classroom, the same idea can be applied. We just need to imagine many of the rules and boundaries as ridiculous and then reframe them in an entertaining way.
I do struggle with the idea of play as a productive use of teaching time. That has to do with what they always told me play was. I was taught that play is a chance to do what I want. I equate play with freedom, an opportunity to shun the external rules and obligations of life. It turns out that is all wrong. Play is not the abandonment of restrictions. Every game, every toy, every instrument comes complete with limitations that define it. In fact, it is the restrictions that create the challenge and encourage the play.
It seems to me we all have all the elements and pieces in place to make learning a thing of play, an engagement of fun, a challenge designed to entertain and amuse. We simply need to reframe our thinking.