If you went up to the average student and asked them if they wished school was more like a video game you would almost certainly get a passionate "YES!" I'm sure if you asked most adults they'd also put their vote in favor of making thei...
If you went up to the average student and asked them if they wished school was more like a video game you would almost certainly get a passionate "YES!" I'm sure if you asked most adults they'd also put their vote in favor of making their tedious work day more fun and exciting. Gamification is in no way a new idea, but it's one that is still evolving at a rapid pace.
For the last two years of my adult life (which coincidentally are the only two years of my adult life) I have had the pleasure of being a 6th grade teacher in central Indiana. Gaming has always been a huge part of my everyday routine and in the middle of my first year of teaching I decided to bring a gaming aspect to my classroom. With a designer friend and an extensive knowledge of video games I created the classroom management system called ClassRealm.
ClassRealm is a way to help students get more involved in their school work and in the classroom in general. Students can earn experience points, levels and achievements by doing simple school related items such as participating in class discussions, helping clean up the room and getting assignments done on time. It worked exceptionally well with my first year class and I decided to do a little write up on the results. Kotaku writer Owen Good was kind enough to published my story on a lazy Sunday in March and the response was outstanding.
After the original article was posted I received dozens and dozens of emails from people all over the world telling me they wanted to use ClassRealm in their classroom or saying they wished their child had it at their local school. I was overwhelmed with all the requests and the amount of people who wanted to help or be a part of ClassRealm in some way. I decided if we really wanted to fund ClassRealm (which wasn't fully developed at the time) we needed to Kickstart it.
I wasn't sure if I could even Kickstart a classroom management system, as it wasn't a game or video game in the traditional sense. I assembled a small team of computer savvy friends and a wonderfully talented illustrator from Australia and we set up our Kickstarter in a little over two months. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. Coverage from local news, WIRED magazine and gaming sites helps us gain exposure across the web, but we were asking for a lot - 65 thousand dollars.
Pitching gamification is a difficult task. Gamers know that educational based gaming has traditionally been pretty lame. Sure, when Mario teaches typing it's more entertaining, but it hardly makes a difference. Why give money to a system that you, personally, are not going to use? It's not a game for gamers, it's a game for students. Many educators on the other hand have a view towards gaming that is less than accepting. Video games are violent. They rot our students brains and make them into mindless zombies. Why would you want to promote video game concepts in the world of education?
Gamers and educators - these were my two biggest audiences and many were on the fence as to whether it was worth the time and money to collaborate. Even with these obsicles we managed to raise 25 thousand dollars. Which is phenomenal. It's outrageous. Who gives 25K to a group of young adults to make a video game based classroom system? The support we got was fantastic (Even one of my heros, Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade, mentioned it as "important"), but in the end 25K isn't 65K. We had failed and now all I had was a great idea and no money to make it happen. A team and no way to pay them. A product which people emailed me about daily, but I had no way of giving them.
I don't link a lot of Kickstarters but this one is special and I think...important. kickstarter.com/projects/13672…
— cwgabriel (@cwgabriel) May 11, 2012
I kept talking to friends, developers, and designers about possibly helping us create the online interface for ClassRealm that we so desperately wanted to build, but the conversations always fell short. Who wants to
about 2 hours ago