Most of us (Kenyans) can list over a hundred things that we did not like about the 8-4-4. Many have shared horror stories about their teachers and their teaching methods. We’re currently in a transition period to the new 2-6-3-3 ‘competency-based curriculum.’ A lot is riding on this new curriculum, as it marks a point in the Kenyan education system where students will learn and acquire skills beyond academics, with a specific focus on how they can use their talents to make a living.
The teaching profession has undergone many changes over the years. It changed from a simple educational function to a complex profession with the advancement of technology. However, the last two decades have seen the introduction of tools to support teachers in delivering quality education.
The pandemic brought new challenges and dynamics to teaching and learning. Teachers had to teach remotely, an aspect of teaching that was mainly practiced in higher education. Technology, like video conferencing, made it possible to continue teaching amid a raging pandemic. As we continue to explore other forms of tech that support teaching and learning, it is time we shed light on the role video games play in teaching. To many, this might come across as a new concept, but teachers have always used games.
Educational games, as defined by NFER, are the utilization of games to support teaching and learning. The use of games in education, or Edutainment, as we call it here at Tizi. Games can be perceived as a waste of time or interference to the teaching and learning process. However, the role of video games in education is to increase the students’ engagement and motivation and enhance their visual skills. Traditional ways of teaching are not attractive to students. They are not adequate and provide only one-way learning in a time where students prefer to have more freedom in their learning.
Educational games offer students an opportunity to improve their interaction and collaboration abilities. They also get to apply the gaming values they learn from the games in real-life situations. Educational games are just a tiny part of the new revolution in edtech, which is simplifying and improving learning. So, in what ways do educational games act as a supporting tool for teaching and learning?
Improves student’s problem-solving skills and ability to follow rules
Like all games, educational games have rules that students must follow to achieve high scores, win badges, or move to the next level. Gradually, they learn the importance of following and observing rules and how they can apply that knowledge in real-world situations. They learn to navigate various challenges presented in the games, which in turn help improve their problem-solving skills and encourage them to think outside the box.
Increase Learning Recall
It is one thing to learn something new and another one to recall the following day. Games make it easy for students to remember what they learned because they participate actively. Using educational games eliminates the need to memorize. Students can remember what they learned, which they can apply during tests and in the real world.
Improves Learner’s Attention Span
Paying attention for a long period is not an easy task, even for grown-ups. Children Struggle to pay attention and can give up easily when they view a task as hard or challenging. That is where educational games come in handy. They engage the kids and encourage them to participate in a more hands-on approach.
Educational games are beneficial to children with attention disorders.
All children struggle with paying attention in class. However, there are children with attention disorders who struggle to stay focused more than most kids. Educational games provide a fun way of learning that can help capture a student’s attention. Students get instant gratification in the form of visually appealing rewards, top scores, or badges. Through games, children with attention disorders can learn and even master a skill on their terms and pace.
Learners acquire additional skills
In addition to excelling in their classwork, games can be used to teach additional skills, especially now that we live in a world ruled by technology and innovation. Teachers can use games to teach other skills like critical thinking, collaboration, visual and computer literacy. The result will be less stiff individuals who are prepared for the world of work and can adapt to any situation.
Very soon, the mobile devices and gadgets that teachers and parents do not like their children to have will become the ubiquitous teaching, training, and learning component and games will become the content.