I was sitting in a cafe the other day, sipping my coffee and reading a book when I saw a group of students, from the college nearby, toying with their smartphones. I thought they were simply chatting or messaging their friends but later when one of them asked the other on which level of the game they had reached, I understood that they were playing video games. And what I noticed was that they were extremely competitive with each other while they were playing. The camaraderie coupled with the competitiveness made me think if gaming could be the future and solution to many problems.
Food for thought
As a former teacher, I disliked the entire concept of video games as they didn’t exactly help students concentrate on their studies. Most of my students were glued to screens which affected their studies in a negative way. But I thought to myself, what if gaming could bring a change in the world of education? What if gaming could get people to study their curriculum? If these were possibilities, then I would definitely support the idea.
Idea already being considered
When I logged on to the internet to read a few articles on the advancements in the education sector, I came across blog posts and articles that suggested that gamification is going to be used to help the tech savvy generation to learn. I read that an EdTech company called D2L or Desire2Learn created the first integrated learning platform, and soon, Lambton College will be using their technology to initiate a new learning model that will be game-based. By incorporating gaming in the curriculum, educational institutions can easily get their students to concentrate on studies in a fun and interactive way.
According to a report by NMC Horizon, presented in 2013, on higher education, gamification will soon emerge an extremely popular trend amongst students and will become an everyday need in the future. Research also suggests that gaming increases the production of dopamine which helps in learning and educational gaming will improve soft-skills like teamwork, critical thinking and innovative problem-solving, in students. However, one article suggests that there are a few hurdles an educator might face in engaging the students in the contents of the game.
“One of the greatest challenges for any educator is to get students engaged with the content they need to advance their education. The gamification of our curriculum presents a unique opportunity for Lambton to take advantage of an increasingly mobile-based learning environment by creating gamified courses that students can leverage from any device. The D2L Integrated Learning Platform gives us the flexibility to take advantage of forward-looking approaches to learning like gamification, ensuring that we’re doing everything we can to help our students learn and succeed.” – Rick Overeem, Associate Dean, Learning Innovation Centre, Lambton College.
D2L will help schools and colleges use the latest tools to makes gamification methods more interactive and acceptable amongst students. They will provide Lambton with advanced techniques and technologies as well. This is what CEO of D2L has to say about gamification:
“Gamification is one of the trends changing how we approach education. Game-based learning has proven effective in helping students enhance problem solving and critical thinking. This is a great example of why schools need a learning platform with open APIs and strong standards support that allows them to integrate the multitude of technologies, techniques and new pedagogies that are emerging to help learners succeed in their education endeavours.” – John Baker, President and CEO, Desire2Learn.
Even I think gamification will help students study and engage in the curriculum better. Gamification can change the face of education making it more interactive and interesting for the mobile-savvy generation.
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