How ‘SimCity’ inspired a generation of city planners
Some Benefits That Games Bring About – a little consolation for anxious parents who are concern over their children playing games
In this modern world, most parents are worried that their kids are spending too much time trying to kill bad guys or increase their scores in video games. Parents want their kids to spend more time on books instead.
We may think video games are a waste of time, but we also have to admit we know very little about how human beings learn. But kids know how to learn, through play. That’s until they go to school. Here, they find that traditional learning structures are not as engaging as they were used to.
In addition to that, continuous assessment using homework and tests doesn’t appeal to them. We use the same standards for every student while overlooking the fact that they all learn differently. There’s also limited information on the particular areas individual students need to improve on.
Nonetheless, the gamification of education changes all that. First, it’s very engaging. Teachers can use this as an effective way to harness the students’ attention towards STEM subjects. They also enable students to learn from their mistakes.
What Makes Gaming Engaging
A student will never ask, “Why are we playing games?” Instead, they always look forward to playing again. Till they get exhausted. When they stop, it’s never due to lack of interest.
The tendency to keep users coming back for more makes most parents wary of their addictive nature. But there’s no doubt that they are highly engaging. According to Marc Sasinski from Citrix, there are several reasons why games are engaging, especially in relation to learning:
- The player has all the control – The imaginary worlds give players the freedom to navigate whatever way they want. They are not bound by formulas. They are in charge of experiences, every minute they play. It sparks their creativity, settings their minds free to wander around in whatever ways they like. If you compare this with a classroom setting, sitting on a desk listening to one person isn’t really that engaging. It’s easy to see why kids love games.
- Incremental stages of difficulty – The inbuilt system of rewards is a good motivating factor e.g such as checkpoints, badges, better weapons etc. These can be replicated in the educational context to keep players from getting bored. It’s also a unique way to measure the performance of every student.
- Games provide instant feedback – Every time a player makes a mistake, an alert pops up. The player gets to learn from his mistake and try again till the pass that level. There’s always an opportunity to start over when you fail. Low grades can tell a student that they didn’t grasp a concept, but that feedback can’t help them in any way. Games, on the other hand, provide instant actionable feedback.
- They encourage collaboration – Multiplayer participation encourages players to combine forces and tackle tasks together. It’s a good approach to teach students the importance of teamwork.
The Benefits of having a little bit of Games in Education
Some people may wonder, why play games in class? What difference does it make?
Can be Used to Teach Cognitive Skills
Games help us develop cognitive skills that determine how we learn and whether we succeed or fail. For example, skills such as patience and discipline, can’t be taught in class. They, however, correlate with success more than IQ. These skills can be taught better through gamification
The classroom can at times seem limiting, like an environment separate from the outside world. When we promote learning through games, we encourage students to learn out of class. Since most games are just a story context with a combination of challenges, students are able to focus in a way that enables them to learn better. According to Lepper and Cordova, 1992, turning lessons into a game does improve the learning performance of children.
Provides a Context for Engaging Practice
A good example of this is when students play games of charades. To grasp a language, students need a lot of practice to fully internalize the vocabulary and the structures of the words. Trying to memorize one word after another can be boring. But gamifying such a lesson changes the approach to learning. In a game of charades, students willingly use the vocabulary repeatedly. The more they play, the more they learn.
Motivation Without Risk
Game-based learning can turn normal, teacher-to-student learning into exciting challenges. This way, students can improve their skill without losing motivation. Students don’t have to fear to fail since there’s a second chance for any mistake they make. They can learn from their mistakes and try again.
World re-known investor Robert Kiyosaki also encourages the use of board games like “Cash Flow” to learn about investing, especially on the concepts of how liabilities and assets work.
For games to be effective, they must be aligned with learning outcomes. When used over several sessions, they can be useful for expressing content in a way that students understand. They could also be used to encourage students to work collaboratively to solve a problem. Games can be a powerful learning tool depending on the educational outcomes that need to be fulfilled.
Mr. Gabriel Tan understands the hurdles and struggles students go through when learning A-Level Physics. He has gained enough experience to help them tackle the O-Level syllabus and score well in their examinations.