I am really starting to become irritated with Google. This is the latest project(s) of mine that they stole from my brain. I am going to run a kickstarter to fund the purchase/manufacture of a tinfoil hat…IF THEY DON’T GET THERE FIRST!
Seriously, though. I feel like I’m about two or three years ahead of Google’s release schedule, which probably means I’m either in sync with or slightly behind their research activity, but it’s getting a little silly. I had the notion for a sparsely connected array of airborne wireless nodes doing flexible internet signal routing in hard-to reach areas about 5 years ago, and two years ago this happened.
I’m not saying I’m super original or anything. My DIY Helper idea was more limited than it needed to be, and my notion of putting up a teaching site was inspired directly by the ubiquitous, wonderful StackExchange and its various imitators. It’s just getting annoying to have so many ideas lying fallow and being picked up by others.
This is the proposal I sent to my parents, both career educators, in January of last year:
He dives briefly into the notion of social gaming, but I think that’s where the real power of this idea lies – if you can get people to teach each other and to build curricula that others can access, then you start to get organic growth in the network a la Facebook and other social networks. Of course you also open up to plagiarism of content, but that is a battle that everyone’s fighting anyway.
I was also thinking that you could, at the highest levels of the “game”, allow “players” to offer services for pay integrated into the gamified learning experience. Offering this kind of thing is always tricky, because financial incentives have a tendency to skew gaming environments pretty heavily in one direction and to attract sleazebags, but integrating it with the game is theoretically a way to do some gatekeeping, because those who are at that level have already invested in the system. It also allows you to take a small commission or transaction fee, which then gives you the opportunity to pay for the service without directly charging users access fees or overly cluttering the space with ads and such.
I could even see something like this reaching out to other compatible organizations such as hackerspaces, which are sort of clubhouse-style spaces where geeks build up a set of tools for common use to work on various physical products. You could easily use that kind of environment to study more physical domains of study like engineering and manufacturing. There might be a set of gamified goals to prepare a student to make use of that environment.
Anyways. It’s a hastily constructed notion based solely on my own attempts to learn new languages. If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.