It’s not a secret, and it’s not new – kids hate school. Of course as adults it’s our job to tout the importance of education and how it can build your future, but we can all remember how much we hated school when we were kids. Students often find school, tedious and boring and the content, unmemorable. The reason is that the public school system has never really changed and adapted to modern living or the way that children need to be mentally stimulated. Turn-of-the-[20th]century teaching tactics can’t possible grab the attention of 21st century kids. They barely worked on 20th century kids.
Quest to Learn is an exciting new school designed using gaming principles to increase student engagement with the curriculum as well as the real world. Instead of being taught to, students are encouraged to learning from doing. As it says in their official FAQ:
At QRL, students learn by “taking on” the behaviors and practices of the people in real-life knowledge domains. Students learn to be biologists, historians and mathematicians instead of learning about biology or history or math. By using the structure of games, Quest to Learn creates powerful educational tools to teach [to] 6th-12th graders. Games works as rule-based learning systems, creating worlds in which players actively participate, use strategic thinking to make choice, solve complex problems, seek content knowledge, receive constant feedback and consider the point os view of others.
Quest to Learn has other uniquely insightful concepts worked into the currculum. Classes are designed as “integrated domains” where two or more subjects are combined to create a more well-rounded experience, highlight their overlap and make them more applicable to everyday life.
While Quest to Learn uses game mechanics in it’s structure, it’s important to note that students don’t spend all day playing video games. However, a good deal of new technologies are used in the daily schedule. BeingMe is Quest to Learn’s private, specialized social networking site created so students can share insights, post blogs, collaborate and reflect on their lessons all in a safe space.
Quest to Learn is now in it’s 2nd year of operation, catering to 6th & 7th graders. They will keep adding on grade level to eventually become a 6-12th grade school. As it continues to grow, Quest to Learn will no doubt keep evolving to meet the needs of today’s young students. Hopefully it will definitively prove that work and play need not be mutually exclusive, can actually create a happier, smarter, more well-rounded student.