Teach with games and Learn from them

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

Everyone loves games. I teach programming to adults and use some popular games, some of them are even intended for kids such as  Scratch  ,and Alice . I consider my personal experience of using games as a teaching strategy was always of a great benefits as games enhance students engagement, motivation and performance, develop collaboration, teamwork and leadership skills essential to win a game or move up to the next level and essential in programming, and reduce the stress and difficulty of some complex concepts.

When Jane McGonigal presented a video talking about her vision of how the world could be better when we use online games. There are many institutes that started to put plans, investments and effort to utilize games in education. Kaplan University gamified their IT degree program after running a successful pilot in their Fundamentals of Programming course. And students’ grades improved 9% and the number of students who failed the course decreased by 16% (NMC horizon report, 2014). This institute and many others believe that games could transform education. They visualized games more than just a mean of entrainment, and realized that games provide great central elements essential in education such as challenging problems, collaboration, progressive rewards, and encourage a high level of intellectual engagement (Bowen, 2012).

As educators, we need to do the same and rethink of games beyond than they are an efficient teaching strategy and learn from them. I personally learned some important teaching skills from games such as to assign continual short projects focused, with clear goals and progressive rewards instead of assigning a large project at the end of course with only one reward, provide rapid and frequent feedback to my students, and provide an element of uncertainty not too easy nor too hard in assignments or classwork exercises and there is always more to learn. And thus, instead of disparaging games, let’s us be part of the future, utilize them and think of what can be learnt from them.

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