I was 11 the year my summer camp director transformed the regular schedule, procedures, and lingo that we were used to—into the most memorable, enriching experience I had ever encountered at that point in my life.
I had no idea that he had ‘gamified’ the week; I just knew that it was the best summer ever. Instead of grouping us by numbers, we were named after the Greek alphabet. We competed daily against the other groups in volleyball, softball, kickball, and on the final night —a chariot and Olympic flame opened an epic Olympic Game contest at midnight.
The director, or ‘game master’ as we were inclined to call him, even made everyone reset the clocks and watches—so we never knew what the real time was, the entire schedule was set on some sort of crazy alternate schedule. Now I realize that it probably allowed him to sleep in and us to stay up later, but we were none the wiser.
Daily we played games, wrote skits, went swimming, and competed for cleanest cabins. We did all the regular stuff, but it was more fun because there were rules and boundaries and points and collaboration and competition and a clear, mutual understanding of goals and performance and criteria for success.
As a student, I got to learn more about the power of ‘gamifying’ something, and what effect it had on learners.
Via John Evans, Suvi Salo, Bonnie Bracey Sutton, steve batchelder, Roger Francis