The gamification of life

Last week for our podcast, we talked about the insurgence of e-sports and whether they should be considered ‘real’ sports.

Listen to the Podcast we made here.

It got me thinking how we, as a society, regard gaming now and how it has become ingrained as part of our everyday lives. In my decade old teachers’ college ‘philosophy of education’ I wrote,

‘Teachers don’t just have to worry about competing with the TV, music or sports anymore. They must now compete with the Internet, social networking, cell phones, X-boxes, Play Stations, MMORPGs and a whole list of other things that are flashier, noisier and for the most part, far cooler than school.  

The question is, ‘How do you compete with these distractions?’ Many teachers hold the belief that school is for learning and that specific learning is separate from time wasters such as video games. I believe the opposite. Why can’t we repurpose the tools students use for entertainment purposes to help them achieve their educational goals? Students are happiest when they feel they are a part of their own learning, so why not incorporate the things they like into that learning?’

Since then, teachers have embraced gaming in the classroom, like using Minecraft or World of Warcraft. (Disclaimer – I learned how to touch type from hundreds (thousands?) of hours played on this game.) But it even goes far beyond this. There are now apps you can get that give you ‘level ups’ for doing your normal daily chores and even for the EDT 601 course, we have a ‘geek level’ which rises as we complete our tasks. The search for that serotonin bump is high!

Level up your life with EPIC WIN!!!

With a moment’s reflection, you realize how different things are from 30 years ago, when I was at school, or even 10 years ago, when iPhone’s came on the market.

With the prominence of e-sports, our addiction to the internet and the ever expanding understanding of how our brains works, it makes you wonder…what will things look like in another 5… or even 10 years?

1 thought on “The gamification of life

  1. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for sharing that very interesting podcast. Being an athlete in the past, I truly enjoyed listening to it.

    I think e-sport is a sport by definition. According to Cambridge Dictionary it is a “game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job.” So yes, I agree when you guys mentioned that e-sports require fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination, and I’ve also seen competitive gamers sweat buckets!

    A factor that I think highly contributes to this argument is the fact that there were no computers yet in the past. The competitions and the games were mostly offered to men who displayed the greatest whole-body strength. Thus, it was then non-existent. Nonetheless, it still obviously fits the description of what a sport is. What makes it so confusing is that we’ve gotten so used to the thought that sports should require whole-body movement, the use of gross-motor skills, and that it must promote fitness and an active lifestyle.

    SO I THINK WHAT THE WORLD SHOULD DO IS TO MAKE NEW CATEGORIES UNDER SPORT TO AVOID CONFUSION! We should invent words the describe: a) sports that require whole muscle movement and hones gross motor skills b) sports that require half-body movement from torso to brain such as chess and gaming.

    – Hana


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