Michael of iTutorMaths (an online tutoring service in the UK) took the time to share why he thinks games (both electronic and physical) can be beneficial when motivating your students to achieve and excel in their studies. Take it away Michael!
The usual perception of gaming is that it can be detrimental to a child’s education. There is a school of thought though that argues there are many tips and tricks we can learn from the design of games.
After all, console and PC gaming is a multi-billion pound industry and it works by engaging both children and adults and providing an interactive experience which seems to keep gaming enthusiasts coming back for more.
The question is then: how can we apply these techniques to the classroom? If, as teachers, we can increase student engagement in education and tuition, we are sure to see improved results and concentration levels.
Gamification doesn't just have to apply to console and computer games. Many interactive outdoor and sporting games can engage children just as much and is a much healthier alternative too. Incorporating maths into these games is sure to have a similar effect, encouraging both a healthy and exciting learning environment.
Sense of Achievement
Games offer basic achievements and bonuses such as badges and reward points, which can be displayed by the user for friends to view. As with gaming, education can offer children the opportunity to ‘level up’ or earn points when completing increasingly trickier tasks. Showing recognition to students is important to reward the application of their knowledge and encourage further study, which will in turn maintain motivation and provide consistent results.
The majority of the latest games offer online modes in which participants work together in order to complete an objective. As we know, this can be applied to the classroom as well, small teams work together to solve conundrums and learn from each other. This encourages students to feel a sense of achievement as well as recognition of skill levels and praise within the group.
Although the majority of games are based entirely on fiction and fictional events, some do carry a bit of meaning to them. Construction or community games such as Sims, Minecraft, and a vast collection of others create an alternative environment which is comparable to various subjects throughout the curriculum. Some games do in fact offer a way to learn facts and figures; online educational games have been around long enough for teachers to know them through and through. Repetition and a healthy, competitive online learning environment offers students an engaging and exciting way to develop skills, without knowing they’re really doing it!
Research suggests that as a planet, we spend over 3 billion hours a week gaming. If we could echo some of the more positive engagement techniques used by the gaming industry, students could increase their motivation to carry out tasks in a fun and less tedious method.
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