Over the course of her teaching career, Samantha Webster noticed one tendency about kids. They love video games. So on the basis of this she’s decided to gamify her classroom by making it into a real-life video game called SuperFunner.

The idea of SuperFunner is that it can easily be overlaid on whatever curriculum teachers already use. The obvious benefit of this is that teachers don’t then have to change and adapt their lesson plans and assignments in order to use it.

The game mechanics Samantha thought would be most appropriate to this sort of game-based education are the opportunity to level up, earn experience points and get badges by putting the skills and knowledge children learn in school into practice. What’s more, the system functions on an opt-in basis, meaning that the system is completely voluntary. So far, however, all of Samantha Webster’s thirty students have opted in every week.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“It gives them a challenge, allows them to work at their level, doing meaningful things and getting credit for it.” (Samantha Webster[/quote]
Essentially, the idea of SuperFunner is to put fun into school work and make it more engaging. To achieve this, teachers can set specific goals for their students and in turn the students use it as a help guide as they work through their class and homework.

“It just makes it more fun,” said Webster, “I want them to be excited about coming to school, I want them to love learning, and that’s what I’ve seen the most. I’ve seen kids who aren’t normally excited, really excited about school all of a sudden.”

In fact, the platform’s got kids so excited that they’re often asking their teachers for more work to do in order to get ahead in the game.

“[I would improve it] by working on it more!” one fourth grade student said in a survey about Ms. Webster’s program. “I liked it because it helped me like writing,” said another.

“Comments like that are very common for classes using this system,” said Jeff Schwarting, the project creator, “and that’s our objective – to help kids truly enjoy school.”

The creators of SuperFunner are keen to take their platform to the next level and have even launched a crowdfunding campaign.

This news emerges as a response to a growing tendency in educational institutions to introduce game elements into their teaching system. The question many of us will be asking ourselves, however, is whether the sort of platform used by Samantha Webster might also work successfully in higher levels of education such as universities.

Have your say in the comments below.