I had half a thought today, and wanted to capture it here before it escaped.
Are you familiar with the concept of microtransactions in games? These are in-game purchases, often in free to play games (games without an initial purchase fee, or without subscription fees) that allow you to modify your in-game experience. And make companies lots of money.
Watch this quick video on the state of microtransactions in gaming:
With the news today of Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as Secretary of Education I have to wonder, are microtransactions and “pay-to-win” models going to become the future of education?
It seems such a monetarily successful model for games, that I can’t imagine EdTech companies are far behind.
Pay-to-win games mean people who don’t, or can’t afford to, pay work harder and longer for a chance at achieving the same end goal. It means a deeply unpleasant and frustrating experience for people who persist in the same space as those who pay. And it only makes sense that pay-to-win education would replicate the same frustrations.
Not that these conditions don’t exist in education currently with tutors, extra classes, test-prep, etc. …but I can foresee inequities widening under a pay-to-win educational model. Don’t like a particular assignment? Pay to pick an assignment you would rather do. Pay for more “prestigious” tech, get more scholarships, grants, and funding to more prestigious schools. Buy your way into classes, schools, test scores, and degrees. Or buy yourself out of critical-thinking, determination, and hard work.
What are your thoughts? Do you see the pay-to-win model being taken advantage of by EdTech companies and educational corporations?