Yes, there is a Solution -- Schools Don't Need to Leave Millions of Children Behind Anymore


Yes, there is a Solution — Schools Don’t Need to Leave Millions of Children Behind Anymore

There is a game-changing secret to making education work for all — and it is starting to spread!

According to LearningPlunge CEO and Founder, Alan Fishel, the single biggest problem in education in the U.S. has never been solved – making education work for not just some, but for everyone. This challenge has frustrated school administrators, teachers, parents, and children, for more than a century. In the U.S., schools leave millions of children behind every year – but Fishel believes they don’t have to. The secret to changing this never-ending cycle of frustration and failure is to supplement classroom teaching with what Fishel and his non-profit, LearningPlunge, call “Fundamental Gamification.” Fishel gave a TEDx Talk  on the topic, and he describes the unique approach his organization created to build knowledge and confidence, leading to longer-term academic success. Fifteen years ago, Fishel helped create GeoPlunge, and more recently, HistoryPlunge, which are U.S. geography and history games and examples of the approach he calls Fundamental Gamification.

GeoPlunge and HistoryPlunge have been game-changers for so many children who have gotten involved. These games don’t replace classroom teaching, they supplement it so that teachers can reach even those children who appear completely uninterested in learning. The games succeed where countless other approaches have failed because they address both of the keys to connecting with the most difficult to reach children. The games make learning truly fun for these students and, at the same time, help ensure that they learn fundamental knowledge about subjects simply by playing. Students retain the knowledge gained because they play frequently and use it in class. They’re motivated to learn even more from their teachers because the children now have foundational knowledge they can build upon. They gain increased confidence in their intelligence – a factor that contributes directly to their success. As one 9-year old said with a huge smile on his face, “before I started playing GeoPlunge, I thought I was dumb. But now I actually know I am smart.” Fishel and his colleagues had heard numerous stories over the past 15 years about children who were continually skipping school, repeatedly being suspended, or having tough issues at home, whose lives turned when they got involved in Fundamental Gamification.

After introducing HistoryPlunge last year – the result of a collaboration between LearningPlunge and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery – and the expansion of GeoPlunge into other cities outside of D.C., “Fundamental Gamification” is beginning to spread. St. Louis is holding its largest GeoPlunge tournament this March, and Rochester N.Y. will be holding its first GeoPlunge tournament in the spring.

As this trend continues, it’s great news for educators, parents, and children. As Fishel puts it, “If more communities and schools take this approach, instead of lamenting that so many of their students are unreachable, they will reach them. Fundamental Gamification can do more than make a difference – it can make tens of millions of differences for children throughout the country.”

For more information or to obtain an interview with Alan Fishel, contact Robin Hayutin at 571-216-7712 or [email protected] or visit

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