With the creation of “Computer Space” in 1971, and “Pong” the year after, video games have gained international recognition as “a fun way to spend your time”. They are now the primary source of entertainment. When people hear “games”, they associate it with children. But strangely enough, There are more gamers over the age of 50 than under 18! Gamers below 18 years of age only constitute 29% of the gaming population, because of which the average age of a gamer is 31, as of 2015.
Whether you are a child or a middle aged man, one thing remains for certain : with gaming comes addiction.What is it with these games that make them so addictive?? Angry Birds, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and others, are games that will glue you to your chair with excitement and an urge to conquer the next level.
MAKING LEARNING FUN WITH “GAME BASED LEARNING”
Throughout the 20th century, video games were only seen as tools for pleasure, and never thought to have any educational value as such.The desire to use games as a mode of learning has changed a few things. Game Based Learning (GBL) involves incorporating education in game play. The idea behind this is pretty straight forward : Give a book to a kid and tell him to read it. Check on him 10 minutes later. You’ll mostly see the book opened (or not) to the first page, but he’d be sleeping on it. Instead of a book, try giving him an Xbox game and tell him to play it. Check on him 10 hours later. At this point, you will realize :
If you want to see the extent of a child’s concentration, just hand him a video game… and wait…
His blood-shot eyes would be so focused on the screen, that you could almost see the sparks ignited by his power of concentration. If this is the case, then why not incorporate the essence of gaming with education?
Ideally, a student playing the game would learn everything along the way and still have the urge to press forward. Some games that give the same vibe include:
Sid Meier’s Civilization
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!
DRAWBACKS OF GAME BASED LEARNING
Sure, its true : if we can make learning fun, with gaming, then we have arrived at the ultimate solution. But it’s easier said than done. Its not like the idea of gamification was just conceived this year. Why do you think we are still following the traditional “face-to-face” model? There are some major points we haven’t considered :
HOW IS THE TEACHER SUPPOSED TO EVALUATE STUDENTS?
In case of puzzle type games, teachers can evaluate students based on the response given. Even so, this method doesn’t imply that the students learn all the theory and concepts required. Creating visual representation of every concept is a tedious task, let alone making it fun to learn by gamifying the concept.
ISN’T IT DIFFICULT TO RELATE GAME EXPERIENCE TO CONCEPT?
Some students, when playing the game, would have understood the games full purpose. But most would not know how to convert the gaming experience into a concept to be remembered. They cant be blamed for this. How would they know the level of importance of different concepts illustrated similarly in the game?
HOW DOES GAMIFICATION AFFECT SOCIAL SKILLS?
Okay! Lets say that a student figures out the meaning of the game but still has doubts in some related concepts. What do they do with these doubts? How do they ask this to their teacher? GBL tremendously decreases student-teacher interaction, which is seen evidently by the student’s inability to ask questions.
If there are so many drawbacks, why even consider Game Based Learning at all? From my last blog on the Flipped Classroom, I mentioned that the “Flipped Classroom”, which involves studying before the class and then doing the related homework in class, is definitely better than traditional “face-to-face” model, but is inadequate. This is because we can’t just expect students to use their non-classroom time for studying. What if students incorporate Game based learning for studying during the non-classroom sessions?
In this way, by incorporating the “study” part of Game based learning and the “evaluation” and “classroom time” from the Flipped model, we could overcome the drawbacks of both models to give rise to a more optimized classroom.