Many games developers pour scorn over the word 'gamification', as it suggests imposing some artificial structure, rendering a game superficial and without true integrity. To some extent I agree, top games have compulsive game play at their core and everything else springs from that. Its something developers feel strongly about and is often hotly debated at Developer Meetups.
However, as an educator I'm not so adverse to gamification, it is actually what teachers do day in and day out. We play charades, supply matching tasks, crosswords, group competitions and many, many strategies which are attempting to 'gamify', sometimes rather dry content.
I would rather students learn 'experientially', and a student centred approach is core to deep learning. Teachers 'light the fire', that can foster the love of life long learning, but the long slog of revision can be vastly improve with some targeted guidance from tech. I'm not sure we can make it 'fun', but we can take the edge off the pain of revision by providing variety and efficiency through gamification.
Another reason for my pro-gamification stance it that even in its 'pointification', form it is in synch with the transformation of data use in schools. The world of education is getting 'smarter', data is driving interventions in school allowing resources to be targeted more effectively. Government initiatives are all pointing at personalised learning plans and games have a place here. 'Pointification', not only motivates, it also allows the student to identify their strengths and areas for development.
Students often over revise the material they feel most comfortable with and duck the less appealing stuff. A student being able to identify and fill the gaps in knowledge is essential to exam success, and to be able to do so in private and at their own pace is a real breakthrough.
The reality of exam study is that there is a point at which it is down to the kids at home hitting their books, consolidating what they have learnt in class. Some kids have no idea how to do this independently! Ed Tech can help them organise that independent study in a smart way. E.g 'smart', flashcards which remove themselves from the pile once mastered, allowing student to focus on weaker points or the harder material.
There is a time and a place for using traditional teaching methods in Ed Tech and our Revision Games Edition is an experiment in just that. It is educational gamification, at it's most traditional, but with a helping 'smart', hand from technology.