Very soon teachers may be using video games to educate your kids! Sure, this might sound like something crazy, but it really isn’t. Attending the Intel round-table discussion around gaming at Eduweek yesterday, kind of made me want to be a child again so that I could learn all over again using new technology. In all honesty, your child will experience an education which you never experienced before, and their children the same.
Technology is moving at such a rapid rate that allows these awesome game-based education programs to take place. Sure the technical side of things are still a bit misty, but the idea and the foundations are there. If we take a look at Minecraft: Education Edition, Microsoft have already laid the foundations for the entire program.
Sure Minecraft is still the beginning of things, as it is more an educational game, rather than a game-based educational model. But this experience lets student become more sociable, and learn the foundations of certain outcomes through perseverance and satisfaction.
Minecraft aside, there are plans in place locally to bring these experiences to tertiary and secondary education, in the form of Gamification. For those who don’t know what Gamification means, it means the process of bringing video game elements, into a non-video game environment. One example of this would be the creation of a point system in a classroom which will see students rack up points for certain activities. Just like we earn trophies when we play PlayStation 4. Another example would be leaderboards and unlock-able rewards when reaching certain ranks in an activity.
Then we have game-based education, which is a little different from gamification. Game-based education sees student playing educational games. Games are being developed to teach children certain things. Minecraft: Education Edition is an example of a game-based educational product. Some of these games would include programmed activities on tablets and laptops that will see your child play games while learning certain subjects, and overall, becoming a better gamer *wink wink*.
The biggest thing that Intel wants to make people aware of, is that gaming changes people’s behaviour, and that children focus more when having fun. Combine these two together, and you could have a pretty smart child on the rise, doing what they enjoy, while learning, and behaving. Gaming also has a way of changing one’s mindset by opening your mind to new possibilities. Gamers like me, we can handle processes much faster and make decisions much quicker, thanks to gaming. Give a child this opportunity early in life, and they will change the way they approach a situation.
We then have the challenge of adult illiteracy, which is a major problem in South Africa. But Intel seems to have a plan for this as programs have already been developed for adults which see them learning to read in a workplace, while working and racking up scores to show off. It is all about nailing down the process, and altering it for each age group.
This sounds all fun, but there are challenges that face the rollout and integration of these game-based education systems, and gamification programs. Teachers still teach how they were taught to teach. This means that training and facilitating a game-based education program might prove difficult. Every so often, the students know more about technology used than the teachers. This means that the teachers will need to be taught first.
Regardless, I would love to play games with my child (if I ever have one), and educate them at the same time. The thought of children being educated by the thing I love the most, gaming, is one splendid idea. We can never have too many gamers in the world.
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