During the past few years, various forms of gaming have been gradually used for educational purposes in schooling environments around the globe. While more dedicated research tying gaming to enhanced school performance is still necessary, this does not seem to be an impediment in many countries. Many schooling institutions, teachers, and parents are currently using digital, cardboard games, gambling, and other types of games to encourage students to get more involved in their activities and score better results.
The Institute of Play in New York and the Lifelong Kindergarten institute belonging to the prestigious MIT have both openly recognized the effect of games on nurturing a one-of-kind learning environment. This environment can stimulate complex problem-solving abilities. Many of these games are also powerful tools that enable students to improve their interactions using media and language skills. The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge has also managed to involve large numbers of teachers, parents, and members of local community organisations across the country in similar activities. The purpose of the STEM challenge is to facilitate better learning opportunities that also encourage creativity across the STEM disciplines in the land Down Under.
Current Issues With Using Gaming Simulations in Education
In order to effectively adapt and integrate this interesting form of educational gaming in any educational system, a number of problems need to be tackled first. Here are a few of the most burning of them:
- the costs of development, which will incur high-tech costs, software, desktop computers, gaming laptops, tablets and other tools and devices used for gaming or gambling for educational purposes
- the need to continuously track and assess students’ performances
- the use of advanced databases and the integration of AI technologies that can interpret the findings and data and use it to generate the best adaptive learning experience
- the need to deliver and offer the most suitable games in schools and other educational institutions that are part of these projects
- the need to deploy suitable models that will enable experts to get actively involved in the production of new games
Using Game Play As A Learning Mechanism
Australia is not only the globally recognized land of pokies and the realm of gambling, but it is also home to millions of video game fans. Accordingly, the STEM project found its inspiration in the favorite pastime of the Australian people when creating the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge. The challenge was designed as a mechanism that would rely on play to promote better learning abilities in students. Ideally, learning should always be a fun and engaging process that should always involve a form of experimentation in a playful manner. From risk-taking, testing fresh things and new ideas, working with various materials, and even testing boundaries, gaming seem to offer the perfect foundation for adaptive learning.
Video and casino games in particular offer the ideal environment for risk-taking and decision-making while learning from mistakes and reiterating the same concepts over and over again. These types of gaming categories are also suitable for practicing assessments, the use of hypothesises, trial-and-error, and testing. The same STEM project also uses play as a means of developing higher appreciation for boundaries and rules. A series of other concepts related to play are effectively taught by continuously trying fresh approaches to solving the same problem.
Inspiring Passion Through Games
Students who participate in a learning through gaming experience are also inspired to embrace innovation and brand new concepts they would not have tried otherwise. This way, they are given the chance to discover new passions they did not know they had, while interacting with the latest technologies in the industry and learning new skills needed to reach their goals within the games.
Cooperation and Idea Sharing Encouraged Through Video Games
Another advantage of using games for adaptive learning purposes comes from the fact that games are excellent social activities that teach participants to work together on the same project, share ideas, build on one another’s work and eventually reach the same goals within the game. Peer-directed, self-directed, and shared forms of learning are also excellent skills that can be put into practice outside the classroom.
Students tend to learn best one they are actively engaged in working on a meaningful project such as designing a prototype, working on a project, coming up with new ideas, reiterating the same things repeatedly. Gaming allows them to take an idea, work towards reaching the end goal – finishing the game – while continuously learning new things and adapting every step of the way.