The Chipotle Scarecrow App, developed by Moonbot Studios is a hauntingly beautiful app filled with "Return to Oz" style imagery. From the minute I started playing this game, I realized the real purpose behind the app is the message geared towards the today's youth. This app is like the Oregon Trail Game for this generation of learners. The developers and Chipotle really thought outside the box in trying to find ways to get today's kids into the idea of whole, natural food. As a teacher, I have to applaud them for taking a gamification approach. As an app reviewer, the developers have some work to do.
In the world of educational technology, gamification is simply the idea that students learn about the world around them by taking on a virtual identity in a video game and learning valuable life skills and tasks within that role. In this game, the player takes on the role of a scarecrow farmer whose town has been taken over by Crow Foods, a megafood giant who uses Bovine Growth Hormones and other toxic chemicals. The job of the player aka Chipotle Scarecrow is to rescue the animals from Crow Foods, grow natural food, and open up a natural grocery store by the end of the game.
Logistically speaking, the app crashed on me several times within the one hour I attempted to play the game. However, since this was an app that was developed with more of a political, educational point, I am not really sure how much I should expect out of this free app. However, if the developers and Chipotle ever decided to really make this a bug proof app with the same learning impact that the Oregon Trail had on my generation, I suggest they develop an app that costs a small amount of money with huge educational gains.
However, in order to further support the developers of this app, I fully intend on "liking"the Moobot studios facebook page and following them on twitter. If these guys are already developing apps to educate the youth about whole food through gamification, I want to pay more attention the work they do in the future.
For more on gamification in education go here: here
Also for those of you that don't know, I professionally review apps for kids with special needs over here.