This concept does not sit well with me.  Education and Entertainment might seem to be doing well in Edutainment, but at the basis of each lies a distinct difference, which IMHO does not allow Education to become Entertainment, and please, let’s all hope, Entertainment will never become Education!

What lies at the slow but significant change that we see, the push for education to become more fun?  I clearly remember my time spent at school and also found most of the time a waste, I still consider my time then a waste, but there is a difference.  When I was a kid, time spent in class was boring and I would rather prefer watching TV.  Now, I believe I wasted my time doing things that did not add to my mental acuity.  I have done well for myself, but I was one big undisciplined kid who would simply do the least possible amount to get a passing grade.  Some people even said, you were undisciplined and see what you have achieved; to which I reply “Imagine what I could have done with just a little self-discipline!”

I feel strongly about this.  ”FUN!” does not equate education, it could entice children to learn, aka gamefication. But learning is not education.  We learn from the moment we are aware of our surroundings (maybe even before) till the day we die, but that does not mean Education.  This is not how we distinguish ourselves from animals, Animals can learn too.   To me Learning is a direct interaction with our surroundings and a reaction to those surroundings to increase our survival.  Education on the other hand is EXPANDING our surroundings and perceptions.  In this case language is a very good example of the difference between learning and education.  We can all speak our maternal language, since we learned it from our environment, but languages uncommon in your surroundings require education, and it will allow for a greater reach of possibilities.  So learning can be fun, since it is very much an effect of our environment, and children do learn 90% of survival skills just by watching and trying it out.

Education!  Is something completely else.  It does not teach us any real survival skills. But it does allow us to perceive, control, influence, change a far greater environment than ever before.  It allows me to understand different languages, different cultures, different scientific disciplines.  It increases my overall understanding of the world we live in.  Children cannot understand this.  No one understands it until it is too late, with an exception of the few.  My students consistently ask me “Teacher, why do I have to learn this? Why do I have to do that? I don’t care!”, which of course, irks my ire!  I could spend hours and hours explaining them the wonders of the world, the information that is floating around us and that they are missing almost every single thing, just because they are only preoccupied with their own desires of the body. “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I have to pee, I want to play, I’m bored, ….”  A barrage of excuses in trying to dissuade the teacher from actually teaching.

Teachers are giving into those demands, forgetting the basic premise of Education.  It is to Free the Mind of the limitations of the body.  I will never say that everyone needs to go to University. No! I say quite the opposite!  But if the intent of the parent is to increase the possibilities and the probabilities for their children to live a life away from hardship and toil, education should not become a child’s game.  Let the children play!  Let the children go to the playground and go crazy, as much as they can.  But not in my classroom.

I am against hours and hours of forcing kids to sit still and listening to the droning of the teacher.  I am also against turning my classroom into a playground.  I always tell my students “If you want to learn how to bicycle, do you get a bike or skateboard?”, “If you want to learn how to swim, do you go to the football field?”.  If you enter my classroom, there is only one thing you are here to do, and it requires 100% of your attention, that is to learn and think and focus.  Gamification tells the kids just the exact opposite, that the classroom is a playground, that “learning” is the same as “education”.

Why do we think that people who show “good” behavior are well-educated people?  Because these people are the ones with a greater perception of their environment, a deeper understanding of the human condition, a greater control and influence on their environment.  So teachers and directors who are considering this gamification as a possible project, think long and deep what it is you want the children to acquire, before we turn everything into a “game”.

Game Over.


O yeah, for those that care, I got a twitter account @TheWangjangnim