Video games can be a wonderful way to learn something that has to be memorized – like times tables, prime numbers, factors because it allows the player to get enough repetition to memorize something before they’re so bored that they stop paying attention. Memorizing from flash cards isn’t nearly as fun as earning points for shooting only the prime numbers out of the sky. IMHO, gameification has so much potential to engage my discouraged and disinterested students that I’m actively pursuing it. But, I’m keeping in mind that the model has limits. I think there are only a few things that the model CAN teach effectively. I’d say that if it’s low on the Bloom’s Taxonomy, it can probably be ported to a game. But learning objectives that require higher order thinking will be more difficult and much more costly to port to gaming.
For example, as a software developer, I can take a shoot ‘em up game and change the targets – blow up asteroids and avoid ice crystals to earn points and win the game, drop in some new graphics and change it to blow up prime numbers and avoid non-prime numbers to earn points and win the game. All the graphics, sounds, and logic – the expensive stuff – is already written and can be re-used. All I need to do to create this new game is some small cosmetic changes to create a relatively interesting game for a small cost.
And, here it is: