In 2019 we can expect to see more educational institutions and organizations developing new tools to engage students using educational technology (EdTech), such as games and simulations. Game-based education embeds games into the subject matter so that students can interact with what they’re learning. The same concept applies to simulations, where a virtual environment is used to teach certain skills.
According to research, immersive games and simulations are considered to be important trends in 2019, with more and more learning and development experts encouraging the use of these tools in the classroom. EdTech is able to reach students no matter what their learning style or how quickly they pick up new information.
Implementing gaming and simulations onto learning platforms isn’t a complicated process. Whether educational organizations are installing EdTech games locally on the network, or moving to cloud-based computing, one of the ways to make the process smooth and seamless is to hire a proficient IT support company.
Let’s take a closer look at why games and simulations are so alluring and beneficial in the classroom.
Gaming for fun and gaming for learning have both been around for years, with educators previously shying away from bringing fun gaming into the classroom. Today, gaming has moved into schools along with its own progressive title of “gamification”. Gamification is defined by the New Media Consortium (NMC) as “the integration of gaming elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios”. But it’s about more than just playing games – gamification teaches students how to apply game-thinking to non-game areas of their lives.
2. Visualizing Data
Students learn faster and more comprehensibly when the information they’re learning can be visualized. Computer games and simulations have a lot going on, which means students need to focus on what they’re seeing and hearing. When kids play games in the classroom they have to learn how to shift their attention quickly from one thing to another – and then they need to just as quickly respond to this shift in attention.
Visualizing data in this way encourages kids to develop a faster response time which can be helpful in some subjects such as music and math related topics. Games allows students to explore and manipulate, making data come alive before their very eyes.
3. Intellectually Stimulating
Computer games often require strategy and cognitive reasoning. In order to move forward in the game, students need to process what they’re trying to accomplish by using skills such as problem solving and memorization. For children of all ages, games that integrate information with creative elements can be powerful teaching tools that inspire kids to love learning. The range of stimulating games is endless – EdTech experts are continuously updating their list of the best games and simulations for the classroom, each with the potential to intellectually stimulate children so they can discover their own strengths as they have fun learning.
4. Doing and Learning
Classroom learning can often be dry and boring. When EdTech uses games and simulations this boring information can become interactive and fun, particularly for younger children who often have a hard time focusing in school. Gaming allows students to interact with data and fully immerse themselves in learning. Games demand the full attention of the learner, forcing them to stay on track so they don’t miss an important game move or react too slowly to make that move. Educators are realizing that computer games can help kids learn as they play a wide variety of games covering subjects from science to languages to art.
5. Learning From Mistakes
When students make a mistake and fail while playing a game, or working their way through a simulation, there’s much less stress on them than if they make a mistake in the classroom. Gaming allows kids to try, try, and try some more until they’ve learned and achieved what they need to learn to be able to move forward in the game. This stress-free learning environment can be ideal for children who are more passive and laid back in the classroom – when you can learn without pressure, it’s much easier to complete game levels and absorb information when you know you can keep trying until you get it right.
6. Student-Paced Learning
Using games and simulations for teaching allows students to move along at their own pace. Students who quickly understand the material can move on to the next session whenever they’re ready. Those who need a little more time to understand the information can go at a slower pace, reviewing as needed until they’re able move on to the next level with confidence.
7. Engaging with Students
Not only is learning through games and simulations fun, educational, and motivational, gamification gives teachers a new way to engage with their students. When educators work with younger students it’s important to interact with them and ask them questions about what they’re learning. Students are often more eager to talk about the game they’re playing than they are about information that’s written on the blackboard or found in a book. EdTech helps kids play and engage in learning according to their own age and ability.
8. Cost Effective
EdTech can be cost efficient for schools, providing educational technology at a lower cost than purchasing books and other learning materials. There are many free and low-cost apps available for student education, including games that cover a wide range of subjects for all grade levels. Some schools are choosing to have games and simulations delivered through cloud-computing. Cloud computing allows schools to subscribe to games that are located on other servers, so they don’t need to download files. All they need is reliable IT support to help them access these services.
As technology continues to expand, game designers and educators are more interested than ever in bringing games and simulated scenarios such as virtual worlds into the classroom. Gamification and simulated virtual games are just the beginning of a new generation of EdTech tools.