Re-making learning an innovative and interactive technology-driven process
Gaming and Education
Game, “an activity that you do to have fun, often one that has rules and that you can win or lose…”. Apart from the fun that gaming provides, they come with huge educational possibilities.With the advancements in technology and the need to increase classroom engagement, many teachers are turning to games to help bridge the gaps in the curriculum.The inclusion of games into an educational setting is quite a demanding task. Games as a harmonious part of a bigger ecosystem of learning requires teachers to orchestrate a myriad of complex organizational resources. Initially, game-based learning had focused heavily on the coupling between game designs, pre – established learning principles, student engagement and learning outcomes. This was done to understand how games function in their intended educational contexts and how they impact the working processes of teachers.
The past researches provide ambiguous details on some of the pressing realities like the viability of games as tools for teaching and learning. So, the implementation and use of an educational game in formal educational settings requires teachers’ working processes and skill sets. As the potential educational value of games grows, the interest for including more game-based learning in educational processes has increased (Wastiau, Kearney & Van de Berghe, 2009). There have been discussions on the intrinsic educational value of games such as their ability to encourage players or gamers to master domains. But the examples of actual integration of games into the educational scenario were relatively few. The recent studies claim that games have high educational potential and there is a positive correlation between gaming activities and learning.
Impediments in Implementing a Game-Based Curriculum
The uncertainty of hardware reliability, the low gaming and technology literacy possessed by the teachers, limited time acts as primary impediments. Setting up computer games in a classroom environment would require a significant amount of time, patience and a high level of technological proficiency. A tech savvy educator and tools to facilitate gaming sessions in classrooms are crucial for such a collaboration. Another obstacle is the heterogeneity in the gaming proficiency of students from K-12 which creates difficulty in designing and monitoring classroom sessions. Students have different proficiencies when it comes to gaming. Some might struggle with the basic interface while some others modify the game to enhance their gaming experience.
In a 2014 study conducted by Marklund, Backlund, and Engstrom, two instructors from fifth and seventh grades respectively, tried to plan their curriculum around the game “Minecraft” They faced many technological and educational challenges. The teachers were not tech savvy and had to rely mostly on the researchers for getting operational details. The varying levels of experience possessed by the students also led to some conflicts. If the game did not accurately represent real-world counterparts, the novice students had difficulty in understanding. The experienced students made use of the “game logic” to make different objects work to represent their real-life counterparts. So,the teachers had a hard time bridging the gap between the game content and the subject matter
Games as an Integral Part of Education
The implementation of a game-based learning in a classroom does require a lot of effort from the teacher. The usage of digital games in the classroom can open up a vast number of educational opportunities that were previously unavailable to educators. While developing a game-based curriculum, the needs of the classrooms, budget and current technology needs to be taken into consideration. There are numerous options from full-scale computer games to educational apps for devising a game-based curriculum for any subject. Learning would then be about having fun and gaining knowledge at the same time, without being boring.