by Dian Schaffhauser
"If the use of technology in education is about meeting students where they are, it seems like gaming would be a good place to start. After all, as far back as 2008, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that 97 percent of kids ages 12 to 17 were playing some kind of digital game every week; about half played daily.
"And why not? When Neil Postman wrote his classic, Amusing Ourselves to Death, about the shift from a typographically focused society to one that was ruled by television, his title could just as easily have been foretelling the increasing use of gamelike activities in all aspects of life. Consumers spent about $21 billion on the game industry last year. Half of all American households have dedicated game consoles; many have two. We don't fly without getting our miles. We can't shop without handing over our rewards card. We seem to be a species well-suited for seeking "pleasure and reward," notes Janna Quitney Anderson, director of Pew and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center. Gaming and its trappings play right into our appetites.
"Proponents say gaming provides a compelling way to engage students and make educational efforts more effective. Others believe it simply provides a merry diversion from what should truly be happening in the classroom. Where do the golden tokens reside? Let's click for a roll of the die and find out."