10 June 2012

Education and Gamification

Words, images, sound. All teach me, all sway me into new worlds, where each syllable creates new shades of meaning. Images breathe through my skin, calling me into dimensions where all is possible.  I tread into these worlds with delight, playing with colours, shapes and sounds. A lucid, ludic,  world where I play with discoveries, unafraid of novelty. 

But has this to do with education?

Despite constraints such as lack of tech hardware, institutional firewalls, lack of teacher training and sometimes, even lack of managerial vision, undoubtedly today's educational scenario is a blend of digital learning and more traditional approaches in the classroom. As with all changes, adapting and implementation of change vary according to each context. 

Nevertheless, educators who refuse incorporating a digital ecosystem in their practices, are facing a losing battle. Learners today will check their mobiles. Learners today will play digital games. Learners will switch off if not suitably challenged and involved in their learning. 

It is not so much that students expect or want to take responsibility for their learning process, but given the opportunity, they will. And they will perform better, be more involved if an environment which is real (i.e. digital) is provided for them.  

From involving learners with M-learning to gaming, there are myriads of options that educators have today. 

Educators' challenge is to cross the threshold of their fear of the uncertain and what is new; learners' challenge is to be aware how their digital world, which they are immersed in outside the school walls,  can also be of value for education. 

Throughout this blog I have referred to games - games for learning vocabulary, games for digital safety and many more. Today, I'd like to highlight 3 games which may be worth bringing into the classroom. 

World Without Oil - a serious outlook on a world dependent on oil. Includes videos and notes for teachers. 

Find The Future  - Is the first game in which winning means writing a book together; a collection of 100 ways to make history and change the future, inspired by 100 of the most intriguing works of the past.  Although the initial writing has already been completed, gamers can still log in, and who knows? Perhaps you could begin a similar initiative at your institution!

StoryBricks - this is a storytelling online RPG, offering a toolset that allows participants to tell stories in a RPG and share them with friends. 

Despite all the rivers of digital ink that is spent on discussing creativity in education, the fact is that not all teachers are necessarily creative - which does not imply that they are not good teachers. Being a good teacher also requires patience, dedication and a love of learning. Some will be more creative than others. However, learning why and how to integrate different approaches of digital learning into classrooms is increasingly essential. Consider the following extract from the Pew Research Centre:

  1. Social networks are just one of the primary drivers for gamification
  2. 53% of these stakeholders agreed that “…the use of game mechanics, feedback loops, and rewards to spur interaction and boost engagement, loyalty, fun, and/or learning will continue to gain ground between now and 2020.” 
  3. Additionally 53% of the respondents agreed with the statement that  “By 2020, there will have been significant advances in the adoption and use of gamification.”
  4. While it has some drawbacks, gamification offers advantages in encouraging behaviors and generating measureable feedback
  5. “…neuroscientists are discovering more and more about the ways in which humans react to such interactive design elements. They say such elements can cause feel-good chemical reactions, alter human responses to stimuli—increasing reaction times, for instance—and in certain situations can improve learning, participation, and motivation.”
  6. “…reward and status elements are embedded in implicit and explicit forms in people’s interactions in their engagement in online communities. Game elements and competition are interspersed throughout the platforms that have made social networks like Facebook and Twitter popular.”
  7. Game-style engagement can bring an element of enjoyment to otherwise dull or challenging tasks, thus it will become a vital aspect of training, personal health, business, and education.

There is a difference between being creative as an educator and not being afraid to learn, to take risks and to adapt to change.  If education is to make an sense to today's youth, their world of digital devices, their world of interests and habits, needs to have a place in the classroom.

How else can you entice learners today?

1 comment:

  1. Gamification education is the concept of the making a game and design. I will surely do study about it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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