The visit to UCF’s Emerging Media campus allowed us to see the intersection of many of the ideas we’ve been studying. We’ve studied game theory and design, and learning is the process that continually happens throughout the course of this program. Therefore, it seemed natural that we look at all three concepts in a unique way.
Design, learning, and games all seem to work synchronously anymore. So, as an educator, how does this look in the classroom? What impact does gaming and design have on my students’ learning? More than I can even imagine.
I often defer to Ian Jukes and Lee Crockett’s work in media literacy because of the powerful impression it left on me. The thermal brain scans, MRIs, and CAT scans of todays networked students are simply awe-inspiring. Their brains function in such drastically different manners than previous generations, that it is hard not to reconcile the fact that learning is different. But the process of learning in the form of traditional education has not! We are losing kids and their own vested interest in education before they even reach intermediate grade levels.
We need to shake it up. We need to challenge the traditional design of school and bring in gaming techniques in which students are familiar. If they are given the ability to learn through exploration and utilize just-in-time and on-demand counsel, they will be much more invested and engaged in their learning. If they are encouraged to learn from their community and work together for the greater good, they will be pioneers of collaboration that can solve problems. If they are required to assess situations, make quick decisions, and continue to work through the results, they will increase problem-solving skills and become more aware of their thinking.
Our trip inside FIEA simply confirmed the future of gaming in our lives. If it is so ubiquitous with life today, then it should be with learning as well. Small changes to the manner in which we approach learning with our students could make huge improvements. Gamifying one thing could be the hook for a student. And that one hook could make all the difference.