On The Topic of Gaming in Education


While we were discussing topics in class last week we came onto the topic of Gaming in Education and in general the gamification of the world. Now, I’ve been a gamer since as far back as I can remember but even I was skeptic of the idea that gaming could be part of education and seeping slowly into our everyday lives. That is, until I did research on the topic.

Video games are shown (with substantial research found backing it up) [1] to enhance the learning experience but by providing another media to experience while also making the process less dull and boring. (I mean, who would choose to sit down and study in a library if they could also choose to learn while winning a game of CounterStrike?).

Video games offer an incentive, a reward for players to pursue, a goal that comes at the end of an arduous task. As someone with years of gaming behind me, I equate this to the same feeling after researching for hours on one of these blogs and finally complying everything I found until I’m happy to hit the “Publish” button. It’s a exhilarating feeling of completion that stems from my gaming roots.

This brings us to the idea of Gamification – our world is adapting to putting minigames everywhere. Don’t believe me? Look at your subway “free sandwich” card or your Tesco “points” cards, each one incentivizes you to collect points for the reward at the end.

This has even become a part of our school systems. Achievements are much like merits [2] some schools are introducing where you receive a stamp or some kind of token for each merit (such as good behavior). Video games are playing an increasing role in school curriculum as teachers seek to deliver core lessons such as math and reading and it is very much a tool that allows students to take a more active role in learning as they develop the technology skills they need to succeed throughout their academic and professional careers. [3]

Examples of video games being actively introduced to education are MinecraftEdu, a version of the game that teachers created for educational purposes, teaches students mathematical concepts including perimeter, area and probabilities as well as foreign languages while SimCityEDU, a version of the popular city-building game, is likewise a learning and assessment tool for middle school students that covers the English, math and other lessons.

But is it limited to just Video games which are transforming our world? I would argue Card and Board games such as Magic the Gathering and Yu-gi-Oh! have had a hand in this transmogrification of the modern world. Both are highly social games (with dedicated communities keen to meet much like study groups working on a project) and involve a lot of decision making. It forces players to use both there critical and creative thinking to outwit there opponents and defeat them in a duel. [4] Of course, one can not forget how it exercises our mathematical and long term thinking skills trying to see what our opponent is likely to do and how to react.

Overall, video games lead us to having better reactions and fore planning abilities. Our cognitive abilities are naturally enhanced as one plays video games, we learn from our mistakes and are able to apply past experiences we faced to situations presented in front of us. Video games could provide a potent training regimen for speeding up reactions in many types of real-life situations. [5]

All in all, it is evident that some video games such as “Call of Duty”, “Dead Space”, “Bioshock” greatly enhance our reaction ability while other games such as “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, “Heathstone”, “Minecraft” improve our spatial awareness and mathematical skills. It is obvious gamers have picked up a lot of relevant skills to apply to today’s world through the experiences we’ve faced in virtual worlds.

Gamers have already experienced so much that in a way, we are becoming ready to adapt to almost any situation.These experiences, we will carry them with us forever and that is without mentioning the emotional impact video games can have on us (such as “Journey”) but that is treading on the territory of video games as an art form, a topic best left to another day. I believe I have shown how games can be used in education and the advantages they can give us in this blog, and like always, until next time, this stream is going offline.

Picture: Credit to Riot Games. (Professor Ryze)

[1] – Nick Tannahill, Patrick Tissington, Carl Senior, “Video Games and Higher Education: What Can ‘Call of Duty’ Teach our Students?”, 2012http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3382412/
[2] – Elliott Bristow, “Gaming in Education: Gamification?”  – http://www.theedublogger.com/2015/01/20/gaming-in-education-gamification/
[3] – Elena Malykhina,“Fact or Fiction?: Video Games Are the Future of Education “ http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-video-games-are-the-future-of-education/
[4] – March Gallagher, “In Praise of Yu Gi Oh” http://sudburyschool.com/content/praise-yu-gi-oh
[5] – “Video Games Lead to Faster Decisions that are No Less Accurate” http://rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3679

On The Topic of Gaming in Education

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