Friday, April 15, 2011

Incorporating Games Into Our Schools to Increase Retention Rates

As James Paul Gee mentioned in both his articles “Good Video Games and Good Learning” and “Welcome to our Virtual Worlds” students are learning much differently than the Baby Boomers and even the Generation Xers.  Twenty-First century students are learning best from digital literacy from how they communicate online to the games they play.  This is key to understanding how to educate today’s generation.  Gee states, “Digital media hold out the potential to hone the skills necessary for success in our globalized world.”  As educators, if we can learn how to incorporate gaming in our schools we will not only keep students interested, we will also be to keep students actively engaged becoming the masters of their education.   

Often times, video games get a bad rap. Parents complain that their children become obsessed with their favorite games and then do not put their energy towards their homework. And some teachers as well see games as a distraction from the classroom. This clearly shows the disconnect between today’s generation and past generations. Students learn by doing, by experiences, and by making mistakes and learning from it.  Video games provide those opportunities and also teaches students complex decision making, specific vocabulary, and to not be afraid of technology.  By allowing them to create an identity to build a relationship with the game, keeps students interested. And then when students are able to take risks in a safe environment, while still be pleasantly challenged motivates students to always come back for more.

Teachers dream of their students having that same motivation!  So why not incorporate games or at least the same principals that makes games great?  There are a lot of great games out there.  A couple months ago, I mentioned Civilization V.  I am not the type to sit and play video games.  However when I played Civilization V, I became hooked and started thinking of ways to incorporate the game in my classroom.  Civilization is a computer game that allows the player to make a civilization from the ground up while making important decisions that will affect the fate of your civilization.  As one of the articles said Civilization “force players to think on a large scale about history, development across time, and civilizations.” This is perfect for a global history class and I am sure students would love it! 

I think it will be hard to convince schools to incorporate gaming, but if you look at the potential it has to keep students in school, there will be more of a demand to have fun educational games in schools.  

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