Games in the Classroom are Getting More Attention
Many would argue that there is a clear distinction between videogames and the art of gamification since the latter specifically applies game mechanics to non-game contexts. However, with a generation brought up on videogames and the need to engage these children in the classroom, the lines are becoming ever more blurred.
Traditionally, one may think of gamification in the classroom as an instance where a game was specifically designed and implemented in order to achieve learning through the application of game mechanics. This embodies the stereotypical edu-tech games like Mavis Beacon where students are taught how to type more effectively through a series of challenges. Games like Mavis Beacon apply gamification through the use of game mechanics like rewards to incentivize completion (whether by points, badges or leveling up), leaderboards to instill competition amongst other participants, and analytics to track the progress of the player as well as overall implementation success.
However, these classic edu-tech games are failing to captivate students who are used to more stimulation like that provided through popular videogames. Teachers who are aware of the significant affects from gamification don’t want to abandon it entirely, so instead they are finding new ways to incorporate the basic premise of the science with applicable videogames relevant to the millennial generation.
For instance, to teach Newton’s laws of physics, educators are implementing the study of Angry Birds into their curriculum. By having students play the game and apply the laws of motion, force, mass, speed, and velocity into blog posts that track their progress, teachers are able to provide a fun way to teach students firsthand physics principles. The success has been overwhelming with students recording the application of principles with elevated acuity and insight than students who weren’t exposed to this Angry Bird infused curriculum.
Other popular videogames like SimCity and World of Warcraft have also been used in the education spectrum as a means to encourage teamwork within a community and apply basic architecture and planning principles. Instead of designing unique games around a specific educational goal, educators are now looking at already established and successful games that are relevant to their students and molding them as a way to boost soft skills and apply specific knowledge.
Although games like Angry Birds aren’t specifically designed for use as gamification, teachers are using these videogames as a bridge between the two which allows them to still reap the rewards that gamification can bring while elevating student engagement. Whether you classify this means of application as gamification or simply a means of innovation in the classroom, it is undoubtedly drawing awareness of the power of using games in the classroom to enhance learning.
Check out this video highlighting the rise of computer games in the classroom: