The next step in the education revolution could look a lot like … Zynga.
Gamification, depending on what's being gamified, can either be elegantly fitting or weirdly redundant. Gamified social networking? Generally fantastic. Gamified shopping experiences? Generally not so much. One space that's obviously ripe for a little game-changing, though, is education. Kids like games; games can help kids; and BOOM! Win.
In February, the education services company Pearson introduced Alleyoop, a personalized digital-tutoring service that tries to gamify the classroom — and to do it, specifically, outside of the classroom. Think Zynga, but smart. (And also: Zynga, but trying to make you smart.) The platform focuses on middle- and, in particular, high-school curricula, and emphasizes the immediate feedback aspects of the gamification model. Instead of a once-a-semester report card, featuring the blunt assessment metrics of letter grades, students get real-time feedback on the details of their performance — from real-time tutors who are not their teachers. The system is personalized, iterative, and adaptive, so a student having trouble with, say, trigonometry can delve into trigonometry at his or her own pace, learning from mistakes and gaining immediate rewards from successes.
The service, which is being incubated by Pearson, is notable in particular in its attempt to provide a market answer to a public policy problem. The college dropout rate in the U.S. has become so dire that Education Secretary Arne Duncan just made a point of admitting that the Obama Administration hasn't done enough to improve it. Services like Alleyoop, under the corporate arm of Pearson, suggest the ways both grand and subtle that private enterprise is trying to step in where public policy has failed.
Today, Alleyoop is releasing the next phase of its product: a 2.0 version that takes into account the data provided by the 30,000 student beta testers who have been using the service since February. The new iteration of Alleyoop is an attempt to apply computer learning techniques to the experience of human learning — which makes it an intriguing reversal of the top-down, verticalized paradigm of academic instruction. "Our goal with Alleyoop is that students' experience on the site feels very personalized and very adaptive," says Patrick Supanc, Alleyoop's president. "So every time they're doing something, achieving something — either successfully or unsuccessfully — the system is adapting to them with recommendations for their performance."
Source: The Atlantic
Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/06/want-to-help-students-prepare-for-college-have-them-play-more-games/258172/
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