In our fast-paced digital world, educational games could be our go-to for education and instruction purposes. Digital educational games have the power to immerse students in a learning environment and keep them engaged in their learning journeys. But how to use those in a traditional education setting?
Here’s how you can employ digital games in a traditional classroom.
- Games as motivational aids: Games keep children motivated, engaged, and promote learning. According to a study conducted by New York University, gaming encourages students to be more involved in their learning and be confident about their skills. The inherent motivational element of the educational games is the in-built leaderboard. This encourages the student to be competitive and eventually lead to progress in their learning.
- Don’t reinvent: Use of digital educational games in a traditional education setting is a great initiative to encourage students to keep learning. But, don’t spend time developing new video games for your content. Instead, use the existing options such as websites or educational apps that could let you create quizzes, help you teach math concepts.
- Too much could be bad: Overusing of anything could bore the children. Even students are avid gamers in personal life might feel weary if the curriculum contains too many educational games. One of the strategies to keep the games in the classroom interesting and educative is to integrate gaming into a lesson once a week as a reward or as a part of an assignment.
Criteria for selecting digital games for classroom education:
Digital gaming could be skill practice in the classroom, provided the games that are chosen are aligned with the teaching goals. Here is a list of characteristics of effective educational games that could be used in the classroom.
- Ease of Use: The digital games need to be simple, to the point, yet challenging to the students. The students shouldn’t struggle or swift through manuals and online tutorials to understand the basics of the games.
- Engagement: To keep the students on the same page as teachers, ensure to dig in and determine what type of activity the students would like to do. If their interest is understood, it is easy to keep them involved in learning.
- Customization: The educational games should provide the freedom to the student to think creatively and express themselves while learning useful concepts.
- Purpose: Choose digital games for the classroom that have meaningful and tangible goals for students. Hence, the digital games could be entertaining as well as educative.
Advantages of Digital Game-based learning:
- Motivation and Engagement:
The multimodality of digital games such as lighting, movement, sound, and images attract the attention of students and keeps them hooked. Using this as a motivation and engagement tactic in the classroom could be highly beneficial in the learning process.
- In-built feedback and progress recording:
The digital games are great in providing real-time feedback and maintaining the datasets of individuals. The instant feedback assists the students in understanding their area of expertise and the areas where improvement is needed. The reports also assist the teachers to understand the needs of the students.
- Creativity and Lateral thinking:
If age-appropriate games are chosen, those could involve an incredible amount of creative decision-making and open a new world of lateral thinking in children. In games like Minecraft and LegoWorlds, the creative element, independent thinking and imagination skill of the children are encouraged by letting them build their adventure world.
- Experimentation and Risk-Taking:
The simulated learning environments help the students to visualize how their ideas, thoughts, and designs work in the real world. The digital games could also encourage risk-taking as the negative payoffs are almost nil.
- Better recall and retention:
Ask the students to read 20 pages a day from a bio book and take a test for the same after a week, there is a high probability that the students have forgotten most of the concepts. But teach the same 20 pages to the students through digital games, and take an exam after a month, the students remember most of the concepts and there is a high probability that they answer most of the questions correctly.
The reason for this being, digital games offer a higher retention rate compared to pen-and-paper studies. And the students recall information better due to the creative thinking and problem-solving skills involved in digital game-based learning.
- Digital literacy:
Things are changing from books to digital devices, chalk, and board to educational apps. Change in modern times is fast-paced. To keep up with the pace, digital literacy is a necessity. Introducing digital games in the classroom could be one of the good initiatives to make the children future-ready.
While gaming is everywhere, why not embrace that in classrooms too? After all, the main aim is to remind the students that learning could be a fun and worthwhile endeavour.