Games – future tools for learning

Kids of today spend more and more time in front of computers and videogames while teachers stand watching in discomfortable agony. ”How do we compete with the immersiveness and positive feelings that games create?”. That is the question that eats teachers in staffrooms today. In corridors and halls students can be seen with phones, tablets and laptops playing games and having fun with technology, but when class starts they’re supposed to shut those devices down or maybe even hand them in. But couldn’t there be ways to combine these digital pleasures with learning objectives that students are  supposed to reach? How do we achieve something as enjoyable and at the same time embraces learning content from lessons and turn it in to a source of knowledge for students? That’s the question I work with each and every day…

Where are the good educational games?

One would expect that there’d be loads and loads of good pedagogical games out there, inspiring students and teachers in their teaching and learning. Unfortunately that is not the case. Many of the games trying to be pedagogical and educating often turns out somewhat boring and lacking the core of gamefulness and play that entertainment games often holds. Of course learning games can also find this core, but as long as there is no obvious cooperation between creative pedagogs and experienced game designers these games will be abscent. Maybe an initiative like Eduplay challenge could be one of many solutions to build bridges between game designers and teachers. To enable gamers to learn from games, the game mechanisms and the game play must be thoroughly thought through and closely twined together with the learning objectives. One example of that is the english language. Many students master english really well today and much thanks to games. English is the key to many games and being able to level up and to communicate within the games much depends on how well you understand english. If you don’t you wont be able to figure out how to master the game. And also you wont be able to interact with other gamers playing the game online.

Teachers  mindset is the key

It is going to take creative and curious teachers to let games play a bigger part in classroom teaching and learning. Teachers that are brave enough to try new methods. Unfortunatley many teachers are negative to involving games in their teaching. Mainly because they feel uncomfortable with the new technology emerging.projekt-minecraftklasserThat’s why it’s been important for me to focus on teachers attitude towards games when guiding teachers in the project ”Mincraft classes” on the subject how to use games such as Minecraft in class. By using new methods I plan lessons with the teachers taking part in the project and the students are more curious and interested than ever. So how do we teachers relate to games and their great attraction for kids? How can we be guides of knowledge in this virtual world full of possibilities? A creative virtual world that promotes both the development of abilities and the entrepreneurial learning.

We can’t miss this oppurtinity!

In a school system that’s daily critizised for not helping students reaching learning objectives and seeing student lust for learning decreasing we can’t miss the chance to explore these possibilities to reel them in again! Maybe the answer is right in front of us. Maybe we just don’t know how to manage it successfully.

This post was originally posted for the Hackaton Eduplay Challenge 2014 and was originally translated into english by Jan Bidner

You’ll find the original post here:

http://www.eduplaychallenge.org/games-future-tools-of-learning/

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