Keywords:digitalization, gamification, games, Pokémon Go, teaching, critical theory, Horkheimer, Arendt, Biesta, Langeveld.
The ongoing transformation of learning and teaching is one facet of the progressing digitalization of all aspects of life. Gamification’s aim is to change learning for the better by making use of the motivating effects of (digital) games and elements typical of games, like experience points, levelling, quests, rankings etc. Especially in the light of the success of Pokémon Go, multiple actors call for gamification of learning and teaching in schools as means for motivating students.
From the perspective I introduce in this paper, gamification shows itself as reversion from serious pedagogical and didactical endeavours. This threatens to lead to the replacement of teaching by gamification and the (self) degradation of teachers to support personnel. In this paper, I argue that gamified learning and teaching suspends the fundamental, subversive, and critical moments only schools can offer. Furthermore, it can lead to subjugation and isolation of students due to its inherent closed and enclosing structure. I further show how the line of argumentation of gamification advocates iterates that of progressive education.
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