Gaming Education


Is education a game where only some understand and play by the rules? Are others even playing the game? Do they know it even exists? Are educators just proliferating a lie of the system to control the masses?
Let’s face it. If we truly wanted all of our students to be successful we would go back to the foundations of what defines success in education and rewrite it all. Around 30% of students in high school pursue higher education in America. While I’m not a believer that this is the only path to success this is often a good indicator. Are the two thirds just getting and buying into the game of school?
I had the opportunity to discuss the topic an more at Philadelphia’s Hack Education at ISTE this week. The bullet point take aways:
  • Shepherds are effective in supporting students.
  • Education needs to take in the whole child
  • Mindset matters
  • The system is broken
One of the points which has crossed my mind and come up in conversations is a bit of a taboo subject in education; education is structured to support governmental management of populations. Even writing about this I find myself hitting a dead-end of thoughts. I have more questions than answers but can clearly see the affect on my students and education as a whole. But really how else do we create a stable society? These are big philosophical questions deserving of long term conversation.
Students need a shepherd to help them through education. For many this is in the form of a parent. But what happens when the parent wasn’t good at the game of school? A Student needs more than a role model. They need some one that can support and help them through the system. Truthfully it’s the system that is broken.
The education game needs to change. I am at ISTE in lectures discussing AI in education and it’s striking how much our students will need to know that they aren’t taught and how much they are being taught that they don’t need to know.
Let’s reimagine what school is. Even the word school. We no longer need to go to a place of learning. Resources are online to help and support us. Perhaps we start to consider education as a personal path to personally defined and coached success. Let’s not define students by a datapoint but recognize that education is more than the core elements we have been teaching.
It’s time for an overhaul of the game. Knowledge is at our fingertips. Our students need the skills to interact and work with the information they can access 24/7. Memorization of facts is no longer a necessity in school.
The idea of a game for school exists because there is a winner; a score. There are rules to the game, though the rules aren’t clearly written down. There are penalties if you break the rules but no one really tells you what they are because they don’t know themselves.
What can education be? How can we measure learning without using a number or scoring? How do we teach with the whole child? How do we heal the wounds education has caused?
Microsoft is supporting schools in transforming education. Gutting what is education  as we know it and redeveloping something else. We need to all pursue an exploration to transform what we know if as education.

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