ED Tech 532 – Gamification of Education

What struck me most about the video clip from Daniel Floyd was that our students are going home and entertaining themselves using video games with amazing graphics.  While through classroom instruction we are using educational games which lack the amazing graphics and effects.  What would benefit education most is if the designers for entertainment games and educational games could join forces to create dynamic educational games.  However, this leads me to wonder if schools are equipped for this.  I am attempting to start a club for Minecraft at school.  In my exploring this at the school I work I have  discovered that all the computers in our building don’t have the capability to run Minecraft on them.  Yes, I can have students bring their own device.  Which is what my plan is, however, this takes away from being able to meet in a common server due to personal device complications with our network security software.  Are schools equipped and ready to plunge into the digital age and create amazing opportunities for students?  Unfortunately, the cost to effectively equip a school with the idea set up for the amazing graphic games of the future with realistic sound quality becomes a budgetary issue that hinders progress.

Student choice is a huge component to students being engaged and interested in learning about a topic.  I have students that can tell me all the ins and outs of Minecraft, however, they can’t tell me they have for homework.  If homework were a game or they had choice of assignments things might be different.  I have personally been fortunate enough to experience this difference first hand through my implementation of the utilization of 3D Game Lab as an instructional engagement tool in my class.  Student that never did homework began to not only quest at home but they were in the top ten point earners of the entire grade.  The hesitation I have heard with giving students unlimited choices are valid concerns.  How do they ensure all the standards are being met?  How do we give choices while still making things so that they are manageable for the teacher?  For these naysayers I would encourage them to think about the time them spend chasing students down for missing work.  What if the amount of students that owed work was cut down by 90%?  You would then have more time to manage more choice for your students to explore their interests. What if students started asking for more work instead of avoiding it?  What if students had access to all the content and activities regardless of where they were in the world?

Given the fact that most people are spending 45 hours a week on gaming the idea of Tangential Learning makes perfect sense.  Student that are gamers are constantly making historical references in class because of playing Civilization, Call of Duty,  and many others.  Any meaningful connection a student can make to content being taught in schools enhances a students change for remembering that information.  As educators we are continuously looking for meaningful references for students to our content.  If more references were made to various content topics in games then students attention in the tradition classroom may be held for an additional minute.  That engagement time adds up over the course of an academic year.

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