Game based learning

Game based learning

October 10, 2018 / blog / Comments (0)

Games based learning -replacing traditional lessons

Games based learning – replacing traditional lessons.

Game based learning. Will it replace traditional lessons; Is it a Game changer, or a fad?

Most children enjoy playing games, whether outdoor or indoor, kids would rather be playing games than sitting in a classroom learning a lesson.

With game based learning we can combine both these activities learning and playing. ‘Game Based’ learning is a trend that’s gaining in popularity with the advances of new educational technology such as virtual reality (VR) which is part of the movement of artificial intelligence (A.I) in the modern classroom. Will this have an effect of changing the traditional style of teaching in the classroom?

There is a mathematics game known as Prodigy Maths Game where student take turns as an avatar to fight other rival characters or classmates by solving maths related problems. Teachers can gauge  the ability of their students to set out maths challenges for the whole class, based on the lesson plans they are working on. As each students finishes their challenges, the results can be used as formal data for teaching and learning.
Is it a game changer? Well for starters it’s free, entertaining and engaging. It is particularly effective for students who may fear a certain subject of topic (like Maths) the game over shadows this phobia as their is sufficient levels a progress to maintain motivation and attention. Whereas a complex Maths area students can quickly loose their place if there attention span wanes. The wider benefits of the game include problem-solving, in groups or individuals. It endorsing basic skills, offering different perspective to understanding new concepts. Results from the game helps teachers evaluate students strengths and weaknesses. The competitiveness helps each user develop their individual avatar and encourages repeated use which indirectly endorses their understanding of the subject. It can be set-up with initial teacher support and thereafter students can play themselves without teacher intervention, promoting good  self learning.

Gamification (competitiveness) can work to enhance group interaction and individual self learning depending on the tasks set-up on the game. Teachers note some of their quieter, more reserved students respond better to the game because they are comfortable with the interface of technology.
For example the game ‘Blends Jeopardy’ teaches the skill of joining individual speech sounds to make a word. It helps students decode unfamiliar words using letter-sound patterns whilst promoting listening skills to help pronunciation. The game reveals pictures to students, who must read and spell the word, putting together all the correct  sounds.
Gamification encourages the practice of oral and written skills, in the form of comprehension and expression.”  For example with VR goggles, students can travel virtually go anywhere in the world transporting you to a far off destination like an exotic field trip anywhere in the world. Understanding any new concept is more fun and interesting when there’s challenging activities.  Like most students and pupils Dubai school goers are welcoming game-based learning in classrooms especially as the quality of graphics and speed it is proving to be a hit among both teachers and students.
Inevitably if AI continues to advance with VR technology it will make learning “more fun” and encourage student self learning beyond the traditional classroom lesson.
Gamification in learning appeals directly to the self absorbed screen culture of the younger generation, the more they play the game based learning the more they retain the core subject matter and enhance their learning.
Game- based learning help teachers with new subjects, existing topics and test revisions, during lessons or outside the school hours. It can impact positively on class engagement adding a fun element that will make studies easier for student and teacher.
Parallels have been made with films, it’s like watching a block-buster movie that has a historic story line;  the entertainment value maintains viewers engagement and results in a higher recall of historical events. Gamification has a similar impact by indirectly teaching students who become engrossed in the game which indirectly teaches.
Advocates of game-based learning suggest with the popularity of games it will become an essential education tool in the next decade.  Children do not fear technology they embrace it without exception growing up using with tablets, VR headsets, and video consoles for almost any activity. Whether it for studies and work to entertainment or communication, it’s has huge potential for the future classroom and outside the classroom remotely. Game based learning is a fun and entertaining way to play-and-learn with proven results. It encourages self learning, and provides a lively and pro-active environment within the classroom. It compliments the traditional teacher lectures with a stimulating relevant learning experience.
Both students and teachers can benefit  from this technology; so long as schools keep an open- mind to it’s benefits. A day at school should be a day of fun and learning if they both come together a school has succeeded it’s role.
If game-based learning can be encouraged in all schools it will  improve the quality of student interaction and help students learn to use every aspect of their skill to learn. When classrooms are made fun, enthusiasm will increase and better learning will result.

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peter caush

Director The School Agency

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