Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Use of Gaming in Education

The use of computer-based gaming to motivate kids to learn is currently a strong focus in education circles these days (just keyword the search engines of educational journals). This is not surprising since gaming is not a new concept in education. I remember buying Reader Rabbit and Pajama Sam games for my kids ten years ago and seeing how motivated they were to play...uh, I mean "learn" because the games were done well and made learning interactive and entertaining.

Now, educators have a better selection of quality learning games and a better delivery mode with the Internet. Unlike earlier years, kids don’t have to take turns because of limited computers and limited copies of game discs (web-based gaming solved those type of problems). The trick is finding decent games that are not too "cheesy" in the kids eyes.

Plano ISD was featured in a recent web article about their use of Tabula Digita's DimensionM Mathematics game. Read the full story here: http://www.schoolcio.com/showarticle/36732

Many schools are finding that quality educational gaming is improving math scores and motivating students to take a stronger interest in learning. Personally, I think that learning games should be celebrated and used as a tool in the teacher's toolbox (meaning, I suggest it's but one tool – not the panacea for raising the math scores of students who simply find mathematics more difficult than other subjects). What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I am reading so many books about gaming now. Not the video gaming scenarios; but the addition of games and creativity in learning/meeting spaces. Gaming is reliant on the transportation from one world to another where you can test ideas, fail, get back up, and test more ideas.

    Gaming is the migration from the present world to a place that it is safe to face trial and error. Gaming is learning. Safe learning.

    Meetings and learning spaces have moved away from this type of creativity. I am looking to bring creative game culture back into our meeting/learning areas.

    I believe most adults in our schools know what I refer to when I say that our meeting times lack moments when we can be creative. We are mostly wasting time in a "sit and get" meeting where the outline and outcome have been predetermined.

    We can't be creative because our times to meet and learn are basically reduced to a game that has already been planned out while we watch someone else play it.

    We have developed "learned helplessness" by only allowing ourselves to fail once and not trying again. We don't let ourselves fail or go through trial and error.

    Studying game culture is allowing us to open up windows of time to learn to fail and then learn from the failure to move to the next level in developing new ideas.

    Imagine what this learned helplessness does to our kids when we as adults don't allow ourselves to fail? How can we allow our kids to learn in safe places without creativity?

    I think you are right on point to look at gaming and creativity. I wonder what others think?

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