By definition, a game is simply a structured form of play that excites the senses and captivates players; all the ingredients we want students to have in our classrooms, argues Mande Holford and Lindsay Portnoy in a World Economic Forum paper:
Unlike regular teaching, a well-developed game can instinctively convey meaningful content. What’s more, a plethora of research has demonstrated how learning games in the classroom translate into meaningful knowledge acquisition,motivation to learn, and even the development of altruism. Research on the benefit of games for learning has led to an explosion in the educational gaming industry of fun and informative games.
For instance, an immersive experience like Clouds Over Sidra is currently used by the United Nations as a tool to showcase the refugee crisis from the point-of-view of its most vulnerable victims.
When done effectively, the authors argue,
…games can be the starting point for so-called enquiry-driven education, which works by posing questions, rather than simply presenting established facts. These games provide exciting experiences that are complementary and not supplementary to existing methods of learning.
The market for this is huge. Game-based and simulation-based learning will generate $13.2 billion for suppliers by 2019, according to research group Ambient Insight.
Gamer.no: The role of zombies in Religion class
“Computer games teach kids that it’s not terrible to fail”, says Tobias Staaby, a high school teacher in Bergen. Gamer.no joined him playing The Walking Dead with his pupils in Religion class. The class watches as Clementine tries to survive the zombie apocalypse:
The pupils take turns playing, and the teacer has determined 5 spots to pause where the class discuss the problems at hand. Should they lie about their background to Hershel, or tell the truth?
The learning principles are inspired by James Paul Gee, who uses principles used in gaming to enhance learning in the classroom, gamer.no writes, quoting Staaby:
It’s a special principle Gee calls «embodied situated learning», menaing that learning must happen in a context in which it akes sense to learn. You should also be able to practice what you just learned as soon as possible. I see these principles in action playing The Walking Dead, where you have to make decisions in situations that actually make sense to these kids.
Venture Beat: The undeniable benefits of games
In education, teachers say the results from technology learning tools like collaborative in-class games are undeniable, writes Matthew Glotzbach, the CEO of Quizlet, in Venture Beat. He discusses how gamification in the class room has made it more acceptable for teachers to vary their education technique, and for students to be engaged:
Ultimately, gamification is most successful when the technological foundation is well-built, when it’s used to achieve well-understood goals, and if the experience is led by a motivated, equipped educator. It’s exciting that we’re part of an era where learning apps and games are available, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible.