The topic of using gaming as a tool for education is one that has been debated over the decades. New technologies are drastically changing how todays generation communicate and learn as teachers we need to adapt our methods of teaching to keep up with these changes, this leads me to believe that gaming is definitely a tool that can be used to educate the minds of the younger generation.
Gaming can nurture a number of skills in students. Jane McGonigal participated in a TED talk video where she talked about the benefits of gaming. She mentions that gaming helps us cultivate our creativity as it gives us a chance to escape the full and repetitive ways of every day life. It provides an environment where we can play an important role in an adventure and learn in a “low-risk setting”, it provides us with tasks that intellectually challenge us and leave us emotionally satisfied when we are able to accomplish them. Games engage us and fuel our creativities and initiative and fill us with motivation to complete a challenge. By using gaming as a tool in the classroom we are able to channel feelings of creativeness, initiative and motivation into a positive learning experience for students.
Gaming also allows for peer learning and collaboration. Online gaming links players of varying age groups allowing them to act as mentors to each other: sharing tactics, learning patience and communication skills along the way. For example, League Of Legends is a game where a team of five players are grouped and are working together towards a team goal. The game encourages chatting with your fellow team mates, strategising and helping out those who are struggling in certain areas. Introducing this positive way of peer learning and collaboration into the classroom is another reason as to why we should use gaming as a tool for education in classrooms.
Lastly gaming captures students’ attention and actively engage them. Students enjoy playing games, they do not feel like a chore they have to do. Games act as an escape from the real world engaging students in situations they would not usually put themselves in, and they can learn from these situations even though they are not really aware of it. For example, RuneScape is a game that can actually teach you about some aspects of the economy without you even being aware of it. The RuneScape market, called the grand exchange (as shown in figure 3 below) allows players to buy and sell goods, this teaches players about the aspect of supply and demand in the economy. Capturing students and engaging them in a manner where they are excited to play a game where they are learning something is another reason why we should use gaming as a tool for education in classrooms.
According to the Nielsen 360° gaming report of 2013, players aged 13 and over spend more than six hours a week on any gaming platform and fifty percent say they also play games on a mobile or tablet device both are statistics that have increased since last taken in 2012 (as shown in figure 4) and are believed to continually increase. As the line between physical and digital worlds become increasingly blurred I maintain that teachers should adapt their teaching methods to match the learning styles of the current generation by using gaming as a tool for education in the classroom.
Granic, I., Lobel, A., Engels, R. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. Journal of American Psychologist, 69(1), 66-78. doi:10.1037/a0034857
Jagex. (2015). Additional Grand Exchange Slots. Retrieved from http://2007.runescape.wikia.com/wiki/Update:Additional_Grand_Exchange_Slots
McGonigal, J. (2010). Gaming can make a better world [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world
Multi-platform gaming: for the win!. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/multi-platform-gaming-for-the-win.html
Norton Team. (2015). 6 things we can learn from gaming. Retrieved from https://uk.norton.com/norton-blog/2015/08/6_things_we_can_lear.html
Parker, J. (2015). League of Legends Gameplay. Retrieved from http://mmohuts.com/news/league-of-legends-kindred-champion-review/