If you’ve read enough of my Generation Next articles, you’ll know I’m a big fan of embedding social media and other cutting edge technological advancements into the way in which schools engage kids.

So I was very interested to see that Headspace and the Cotton-On Foundation have just released an app for iPhone and Android devices aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, and in particular issues resulting from bullying, depression or homophobia.


The Fifth Army, is aims to reach our youth through a medium that they are comfortable with – mobile apps and social media.


It’s not just the fact it’s delivered via an app that makes this appealing to kids, but also the game layer.


A game layer is when you take the principles of gaming to apply set of artificial limitations (rules etc) on and targeted feedback to peoples’ actions in a semi-public space designed so as to influence behaviour.


The use of a game layer shows that Cotton-On Foundation and Headspace are in tune with how adolescents (and indeed all of us) are wired.


Who among us can say they “don’t like games?” There may be certain kinds of game you don’t like, but there will almost certainly be one that you do.


More and more educators are becoming aware of the power of Games Based Learning (GBL).


Teachers are not only using established games such as Angry Birds to teach Physics, but also using applications like Class Dojo to address classroom behaviour and engagement.


What if any gaming principles do you incorporate into your school, I’d love to hear about them.


Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler