Thursday, 21 July 2016
Gaming Has Merits
Many of my friends have talked about the want for gaming to be included in education, or e-sports as some call it. I have never really been sure of what the merits of gaming for education and learning may be, as I do not identify as a 'gamer' myself (however this is difficult to define as there are multiple hats under the overall umbrella of gaming). I have however, always been open to the opportunities and potential affordances gaming may have, hence I went to a session led by Carl Condliffe focused on gamification during the conference last week.
The session didn't give me a considerable amount of 'take-aways' in terms of lessons or activities for my own teaching and planning, but certainly gave me a foundation of interest and knowledge about the learning and thinking involved with gaming. I left the conference feeling more confident about some of the aspects behind games, which may be able to be manipulated to be included in the classroom, such as leaderboards for attendance, creating narratives about students and levels to achieve both short term and long term.
Before this year, one of my part time jobs was as a nanny, and I still catch up with the kids I looked after from time to time. I looked after them today, having a chill morning doing our own thing and then a movie afternoon. One of the boys immediately starting playing Minecraft on his Xbox (7yo), entering worlds already created and venturing around, and I left him be. However half an hour later his brother (10yo) arrived home and I decided to see what would happen if he decided to join him - I was so impressed with the next half an hour as it unfolded.
The eldest came and sat down, and the youngest asked if he would like to play with him, which he did. They then split the screen so there could be two players, and they built and developed new worlds together, I was blown away. The discussion and collaboration involved throughout the demolition, planning and construction of their world was so impressive. They worked together well, supported one another and provided feedback to one another (positive and constructive. The boys were having fun and learning, a lot. There was mathematics involved, architecture, reading text and maps to find things and one another, research about the game, inquiry into how to improve/challenge themselves, and content development as they were told the uses and benefits of various material types such as iron. Everything the boys did throughout the game, is everything we hope our students develop in our classrooms, yet here they were in the school holidays gaming, by choice, doing just that!
Although I have not doubted the potential learning possibilities of gaming, or e-sports, this morning I saw many in action, in a mere half hour snippet of one game. I am interested to persevere this interest further, because I know many of my students are keen gamers. Unfortunately I don't think I will realistically have time to complete some more research and reading of gamification or a browse of Carl's site this term, but I would love to in the near future in hope to include some gamification in my classes next year.