The jury is still out as to whether or not gaming is a positive or a negative when it comes to education. Smartphones, video games and tablets are still seen as an unnecessary distraction in many institutions of learning, but we cannot deny that the technology is now an integral part of our lives, and that the potential to be a positive influence on students is there – it all depends on how you use it.
Nicholas Negroponte, who is the founder and chairman of the One Laptop Per Child Foundation has an interesting viewpoint on this. He is quoted as saying, “The issue isn’t education or schools—it’s learning”. There is a difference between being taught information and understanding it.
The OLPC’s Ethiopian Experiment
The OLPC’s goal is to put as many entry level computers in the hands of underprivileged students across the world as possible, with their latest efforts being aimed at the 100 million children worldwide without contact with formal education of any kind.
Whilst a single organization cannot practically build schools for all these children, giving them access to devices on which they can gain some knowledge and teach themselves and each other is a more realistic approach, and bridges the gap between these children and education of any kind.
To test this theory OLPC delivered boxes containing tablet computers filled with books, games and a variety of other apps, all in English, to a remote village in Ethiopian highlands. The children were given no guidance as to what they needed to do with the tablets, and they could not ask advice from their parents as the villagers are completely illiterate, to the extent that the majority of them have not even clapped eyes on a written word.
They had no idea what the outcome of their experiment would be, in fact the thought was that at best the children would just play with the boxes, but amazingly within a few minutes the children had figured out how to switch on the tablets, and within just a few months they had learned their A, B, C’s and were singing the song in English.
The Key To Learning
Whilst playing games are by no means the only way a child can learn, engaging in the subject matter is an important key, as it is a way of holding a student’s attention, instead of just talking to them. The easiest way to engage a child is through play. Games create the need to learn in order to meet your next goal and progress.
Common Core Standards
In the past, educators have become increasingly preoccupied with common core standards. This refers to the level of English and Mathematics students should be able to accomplish at completing a certain grade, using standardized tests to measure a pupils progress. All students are different, with different strengths and weaknesses and this standardized method of measuring accomplishments has in more recent years been criticised as it negates any creativity in teaching.
Teaching using video games would certainly be considered as a creative method, and this growing awareness in education that creativity is required in order for students to learn, is paving the way for incorporating gaming into teaching going forward.
Educational Video Games
Obviously a lot of thought needs to go into the way an educational video game is executed. It needs to provide the information in a way that engages students and allows them to have fun, while still absorbing the information they need to absorb. While adults may enjoy the games on offer at a site like River Belle online casino there needs to be similar engaging entertainment available for children that also encourages them to learn.
There is still a lot of research being done to test whether or not video games in education is genuinely causing an improvement in learning, but teachers across the globe are embracing the medium with many of them saying that the biggest improvements they have seen are in students who have not responded as well to a more traditional method of teaching, and have gotten motivation from the games.
Whether or not video or console games become the next big thing in education or not, it certainly seems like they will play a role in learning in the future. With technology increasing at the rate that it is, for a student to be tech savvy is almost essential in this day and age given that many of the jobs available for future generations are not even be in existence today.
With the necessity for children to engage with their subject matter becoming more and more apparent, video games in education can only help to further the cause that learning should be fun.