As a college graduate and a true gamer I want to say:
Studying is boring.
I’m sure you’re shocked. I’m not saying that school should be fun. We simply perceive information better when we are fully focused and get satisfaction from the workflow. Think about it.
Children learn the world through play. They learn the alphabet more easily through song or dance, and remember animals better with funny sounds like “moo-oo” or “woof-woof”. We encourage children to be creative and create crafts so that they learn colors, material properties, and develop coordination.
Over time, the training turns into a lecture format. Students are told something for five hours a day, five days a week, and then they are required to repeat it strictly according to the textbook. And, what is most unpleasant, they are afraid of poor grades, because of which there is a risk of falling behind their peers. This is why many students use essay assistant.
For many, this causes stress.
However, we are not interested in criticizing education, but the role of gaming in it.
Games can be addictive and bring joy, and therefore immerse you in the optimal state for learning. They can teach you how to solve problems, teach you math, physics, history, languages, and other humanities. The list goes on.
In her TED talk, Jane McGonigal explains how games can change the world for the better:
Jane creates games with which she strives to prove that gaming improves teamwork and develops real skills. In addition, Jane states that games will help solve global problems: hunger, poverty, global warming, wars, etc. Playing, we focus much faster on solving complex problems.
In addition, it is assumed that video games (and games in general) will help solve the difficulties associated with getting an education and finding a job.
The current educational system is designed to educate people who work in one place all their lives. The world has long changed: according to the latest data, the average American changes up to 10 jobs by the age of 45.
And given how many new jobs appear every year, the trend will only increase. With the spread of AI, robotics, and technology, humanity will have to solve more and more complex tasks that require deep concentration.
These are the skills that video games develop. This means that in the future, gamers may have some benefits.
So, games promote learning. But will they help overcome the real problems? Let’s see how games are applied in education.
Games and Education
I’ll start with the popular Minecraft game from Mojang.
Here you can extract resources, and then build structures of varying complexity from them. The game world consists of cubic blocks, so the construction requires certain planning skills and basic knowledge of mathematics.
With the help of Minecraft, schools have been teaching programming, math, and teamwork for several years. And in 2016, Mojang together with Microsoft released Minecraft Education Edition.
This version was created specifically for schools. It includes several improvements that simplify programming training and optimize collaboration. An annual license for Minecraft Education Edition for one student costs only $5. At the same time, schools will receive a free license for the first year if they switch the computers to Windows 10. Such a low price makes the game available to all students.
Minecraft isn’t the only game in schools. There is also SimCityEDU, which develops the skills necessary for life in the XXI century. A recent update in SimCityEDU was named the Pollution Challenge. In the game students must build a city in the face of climate change. Thus, the game teaches you to solve a real problem.
There are even schools where the learning process is completely based on gaming. Similar to gaming, coursework writing service also aids students for good performance at College.
Gamification in the classroom
In 2007-2019, a team of New York game designers managed the non-profit company Institute of Gaming. Based on the principles of game design, they developed school projects, thought through educational programs, and even held corporate seminars.
The Institute of Gaming offered its learning model – Quest to Learn, which is based not only on video games but on game mechanics in general.
Some educational Internet resources work on a similar principle. Codecademy teaches programming in a game format. Duolingo lets you learn languages and earn virtual rewards.
Even surgeons will soon be able to train with the help of video games.
Robotic surgery is a relatively new field in medicine that helps surgeons perform complex tasks using robotics. For example, to operate on brain tumors. Of course, in this case, the doctor requires accuracy, perfect coordination of movements, and nerves of steel.
All the more important is the study of Dr. Sami Kilik and his colleagues (the University of Texas at Galveston), according to which gaming can improve the corresponding skills of surgeons.
Using learning games in training
The robot surgeon has a lot in common with the game console: it is also controlled with two hands using analog joysticks and displays the process on the screen. Surgeons themselves learn to work with robots on simulators.
Another 2007 study found that doctors who played video games performed better on the simulator. This shows the games are really useful.
Why are they still so poorly distributed?
Games in education: obstacles and disadvantages
It seems that gaming solves many of the shortcomings of the education system and can change it for the better, but it’s not that simple.
Only a few people still know about the benefits of games. For change to happen, more scientific research needs to be done.
Emma Blankey, Ph.D. in age psychology at the University of Sheffield, said: “For all the hype around learning games, there is still little research to support that games improve students’ performance.
Memory plays a key role in learning, so games that develop memory should also improve student performance. To prove this, we need to conduct a number of studies.”
In addition, it is necessary to first teach the new methods to the teachers themselves. And if you’ve ever explained to your parents how to use a smartphone, then you understand how difficult it is to retrain people with established habits.
Finally, there is a perception that games are more distracting than instructive. This is a fair fear, but only if the teacher lets things take their course. In such a situation, you need to work on the curriculum or additionally instruct the teacher. With proper organization, the fear can be discarded.
Games already benefit education. I wish I’d graduated before they showed up at the schools.
I’m happy for future generations because the innovations look promising. Perhaps Minecraft Education Edition and SimCityEDU will be the beginning of a new genre of educational games, especially with the support of giants such as Microsoft, and the distribution of games in schools.
I think we have a lot of innovations in the genre of educational games, and I will look forward to them.