Gamification is the process of taking otherwise mundane tasks and making them more enjoyable and participants more productive by using rule systems and presentation styles that have been successful in games (clear objectives, friendly competition, an instant reward system, etc.).
Many businesses are looking at gamification as a way to increase worker productivity or gain greater customer loyalty, but one area that this could have the greatest impact is in education. Again, this doesn't mean educational games, but an educational environment that teaches children using techniques drawn from games. Teachers could have a new way to motivate and reach students, and the hope is that the students would continue educating themselves outside of the classroom because the game is so rewarding and immersive.
Unfortunately, there is always the tension between standardization in education to help inform administrative decisions, and innovation to help better serve each child's own individual needs. But with the frustration over the state of education in America, this presentation method is slowly gaining traction.