Video gaming and education is a widespread concept. Teachers introduce games for learning to improve knowledge retention and overall engagement.
Let’s look at the benefits.
Pros of play-and-learn mechanics have been known for a long time. They’re used in the military for training, in everyday life (e.g. to put off weight). But their real power is fully revealed when applied at schools. Kids are all about having fun. So playful and social elements are the best instructional tools. Their effectiveness is proven through a variety of social studies.
Let’s talk about what features make gaming so precious for young minds. We’ll also list several ways to enhance teaching methods at school and home. Scroll down to get all you need: neat and structured.
Value of Games: 4 Major Features to Rely On
1. Interactive and Safe: Encouraging to Experiment
Unlike movies or books, virtual reality represents more active consumption. In it, children make decisions and watch the outcomes. They explore, unleash creativity, and remember the material better in this way. Improving outside-the-box thinking allows them to find different and non-standard solutions. And we all know how important this skill is in real life.
This courage to experiment comes with practice. As a rule, kids are afraid to make mistakes, and this fear draws them back. With digital toys, the problem is solved because it’s part of any title. Failures cease to be a big deal thanks to low-risk and friendly settings. Once players see the right path, they get inspired to go on, and learn to see and analyze the impact of their choices.
2. Channeling the Focus
The problem with traditional schooling is the lack of engagement. Why would anyone be excited about taking a test or reciting a poem? But when there is a funny, crazy, or even dumb challenge, the stress is out. Educators get what they need – attention and better involvement in the class activities.
If you want students to remember things, organize a game. And when it’s time to check knowledge retention, do it playfully. It’s helpful in many cases, including:
- Motivate kids in a class
- Boost their interest when studying remotely
- Hook those who struggle to focus
- Encourage them to digest and link serious information with the real world
The latter benefit is about introducing complicated problems in a simple way. For instance, Alba: A Wildlife Adventure shows a beautiful island and its animals. Wandering in the open world, users fix things and save creatures. This is how the youth learns that nature needs protection. Individual responsibility is introduced in a soft rather than head-on way.
3. Enhancing Countless Abilities
When we do something interesting, our brain turns on, and we pay attention. The same is true with kids. A digital challenge is like a mental workout to facilitate cognition, as well as a general understanding of strategy concepts and logical thinking. There is a wide range of particular skills to improve through gaming at school:
- Learn to read. A researcher Constance Steinkuehler evaluated the level of reading skills among boys. The professor found that it’s way higher if the students read texts in online games.
- Creativity. Outside-the-box thinking encourages looking at challenges from a new angle. As well as opens the brain to fresh and unexpected ideas.
- Teamwork. A shared task unites and creates a team-building experience. This is a way to show the power of collective intelligence.
4. Building Positivity
The most important thing is to improve children’s focus by showing that it’s interesting there. In this way, they’ll be glad to come back to school. Make it fun, silly, and less official to build a friendly atmosphere. These bright moments and emotional connections are sure to stick in the kids’ memory. And allow them to learn without overburdening efforts.
4 Facts about Combining Entertainment and Education
1. Elements Are Not Necessarily Digital
Dedicated teachers have known the value of games for a long time. Quizzes, puzzles, active challenges, etc. With online technologies, it has become way easier. But gamification doesn’t only mean computer/ laptop/mobile or physical fun. The idea is to add scores, badges, leaderboards, and competition into the classroom. All that motivates to participate and reduces academic pressure. Check out how one can do it to improve math skills.
2. Use Apps and Interactive Platforms
Some projects are originally designed to facilitate learning, such as Kahoot, with over 70 billion active users per month. It’s an interactive scoreboard tool to teach small kids, help university students, and train employees. There are different question types (true/false, slide, type, puzzle, etc.) to make studying engaging. Kahoot is translated to over 10 languages and has its own mobile app.
Quizizz is a similar platform that spans lots of subjects. Educators create quizzes that are then reflected on the children’s screens. Their progress and the right/wrong answers are converted into convenient graphics. The portal is used in over 150 countries!
3. Create Your Own Versions of Games
Constant learning and focusing on the subject are tiresome. Give young brains a break from academic stuff. Use unobvious ways to keep educating them. For example, a historian can use Google Maps to encourage students to explore ancient pyramids. Just give them some coordinates, mystery-solving elements and let them enjoy 360-degree views.
High-school educators Joe Dillon and Marina Lombardo went further and introduced the popular hit Minecraft. They reshaped a standard poetry lesson that would normally be a quest in 6 classrooms. Now children look for clues in a digital world. It’s an example of how a modern approach breaks the wall between learning and entertainment. Video gaming and education combined motivate way better.
4. Opt for Special Educational Options
In most cases, teachers don’t have to reinvent anything. There are lots of motivational titles to use as part of a lesson. For instance, Xmas Math is an online and free adventure dedicated to numbers. The agenda is to quickly analyze different equations and pick the right sign. Just click on plus, minus, multiplication, or division to proceed to the next task. With only 60 seconds to go, the video adventure is challenging.
Another appropriate example is Trivia King. It’s both a single-player and multiplayer toy that includes various topics. Such as music, sciences, traveling, movies, etc. One can enjoy it alone against a bot. Or participate in a competition with a real person. There are many other options on specialized websites. Some of them are even not blocked and can be launched at schools.
Educators often encourage kids to play outside the classroom as part of their homework. Or ignite the interest so that children continue perfecting skills on their own.
A Final Example: Computer Science Classes
Computer science teachers often struggle to interest the youth in their subject. But in reality, their case is the easiest. Other educators think through the best strategy to incorporate virtual toys for their classes. But these teachers can enjoy ready-made solutions. For instance, Lightbot. On the surface, its gameplay is about navigating a robot through a maze. But its other value is hidden: it tells about important coding principles (procedures, loops, etc.). Children don’t yet study any programming languages but already start tasting their concepts.
The value of games is undeniable for kindergartners, first graders, teens, and even adults. But they can’t substitute all forms of learning. Digital adventures should be well-planned and added to the curriculum only when they’re relevant. Otherwise, they’ll turn into useless time-fillers and won’t be any good.
There are lots of games for learning. Some are originally designed to teach. Others can be adjusted to be useful for educators and children. Make sure the ones you choose invoke the right emotions. As well as that they’re diverse enough to be interesting for all students.
About the author
Anna Yurovskikh is a Content Manager at Kevin Games. She is a true fan of online games and is excited about how helpful they could be. Being a passionate investigator, Anna is interested in psychological aspects of gaming and their positive effect on productivity, mental health and learning.