It’s not often you come across an initiative that could really change the world, but the PlayMaker School in Santa Monica is a sign that education is finally beginning to be re-examined in meaningful ways.
The concept of PlayMaker is simple, to teach through play rather than through rote. Children learn a structured curriculum (which they choose paths through according to their interests) but instead of reading and completing exercises from a textbook, learning takes place in the context of games, puzzles, and creative challenges that require the children to learn new skills to solve.
What’s most attractive about this approach is that it addresses a problem that Sir Ken Robinson outlines in one of the most-watched TED Talks of all time: that schools kill creativity and attempt to teach children as if they were computer storage to be filled with facts and theories.
To anyone in the games industry, it’s obvious that this approach is an improvement over existing educational mechanisms. Collectively the games industry invests millions of hours from some of the most intelligent, creative, and passionate minds in the world to constantly improve upon the process of teaching players how to acquire new skills in an exciting and immersive way. The results speak for themselves, with players choosing to pour hundreds of millions of hours of effort into building and perfecting their abilities every month.
I’m really excited to see if the PlayMaker School is successful, and as their methods and technologies are open source, there’s every possibility that more such schools will be following in their footsteps in the near future.
Hat-tip to Fast Company’s original article on PlayMaker for bringing this to my attention!