Tag Archives: Nintendo

What Videogames Taught ME

What Videogames taught Me


Gamification of Education- Seven Lessons From Angry Birds


Angry Birds.

Gotta love those Angry Birds.

Our kids love those Angry birds.

Gamification of education is meant to fill the gap between current education systems and the present world of multimedia in which children lives. It is a method which encompasses both digital and real world methodologies to educate in a game format.

Wise scholars have talked in depth on the gamification of education.

One of the best explanations of this concept is done by Gabe Zichermann in the following TED video.


I think the folks at Angry birds have some lessons to share with the edu fraternity on the implementation of gamification.

  1. Simplicity– Angry birds is so simple to play, even a three year old just needs to look at it once to know what to do.
  2. Levels- in each stage there are three levels of completion, and if one does not do so well, it does not deter them from moving onto the next level, as it only means this particular challenge was a one star challenge and that was what one could achieve. One could repeat to get three stars, or move on to an area which they excel at, but still retaining the learning they got from the one star challenge.
  3. Hope- “Level Failed” or “Game Over” doesn’t mean despair to a child, it just means Try Again until you succeed.
  4. Awards/Rewards- High scores are ever present at the top right, ever a pat to the back, awarding ones achievement, yet always a challenge that one could take on, always limitless, ever challenging.
  5. Obscure but exciting concepts- Enraged birds fighting pigs that stole their eggs. Only Lewis Carrol can get more nonsensical than that, and we remember him a hundred years later for it.  Mnemonics and other memory methods tell us we find it easier to remember things that are odd.
  6. Known to unknown- A basic facet of sound education is increasing content complexity from the known to the unknown, which enables one to understand deeper principles on the basis of underlying grund concepts. Angry birds does this well as it increases in complexity through the stages.
  7. Multiple senses- Another key precept in memory psychology is that the use of multiple senses increases ones memory of a single aspect. Thus colors, sound, vibrations to touch, all add another layer to the memory. When all senses are involved, it is more and more difficult to forget something.

One presumption of gamification is that all target students live in a multimedia environment,have short attention spans and require multimedia in school to match their lives outside school.

This is not necessarily true, as in some parts of the world,the digital divide is huge. Even greater is the content divide.

This is why governments across Africa are signing up on global projects on One-to-One Learning, Laptops for schools, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Tablets for Schools programs targeted at the children. There are also newer fledgling programs targeting M-Learning and video conferencing for e-learning. Yet new research shows that OLPC may not necessarily have any positive educational outcomes.

Ongoing too are programs targeting teachers, on the precept that teachers dish out knowledge, and they cannot teach or encourage that which they do not know or understand.

Initiatives like the Mwalimukenya Program, Innovative Schools project, Project Badiliko, The Intel teach Program, DANIDA and Dane funded programs for teachers through KESI, and several other ICT initiatives are being launched in East Africa and across the region.

Others targeting the general public are Tandaa and Pasha centers and similar projects are also being replicated across Africa.

However, technology is not a prerequisite to gamification. Gamification can incorporate real world games, physical sport-like activities or mental games, that go beyond the standard methods of rote learning.

the sooner we understand this and incorporate multimedia (where, I insist, multimedia does not necessarily mean technology) in our education systems,be it primary or tertiary, the better our minds will be.