As the educational landscape begins to dramatically shift – influencing factors include anything from budget cuts to technological advancements – teachers must learn to adapt to the evolving needs of the modern student. The reality is that students are more technologically adept than they ever were. There are plenty of technologies that make perfect sense – Wikis, blogs and social networks. But one of the most unlikely but effective ways to engage today’s college students is through the use of gaming technology. At the core of any video game is the concept of problem solving, and these games can be used to emphasize collaboration to achieve objectives within the classroom environment.
College Students and the Gaming Industry
Teenagers and college-age young adults, many pursuing a bachelor’s degree at a state or private university, are among the largest population segment to make use of this potentially educational tool. According to a recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, university-level students primarily consume problem-solving games. This includes everything from strategy games to action and adventure games. One of the most popular options in the history of gaming is the role-playing and strategy game World of Warcraft. To date, the game has over 12 million users who have collectively logged over 50 billion hours of game time.
Four Major Ways Online Games are Changing Education
1. Collaboration – Multiplayer education games teach students the value of working together to achieve a common goal. University-level instructors fully understand the educational value of teamwork, and are turning to multiplayer games as a solution to achieve that goal. Online social gaming platforms make collaboration easier and more seamless than ever.
2. Interactive Concept Building – Many modern games used in the classroom aid in building a solid foundation in complex scientific and mathematical concepts. For instance, the popular game Zombie Division requires that players divide the number of skeletons to advance through the levels of the game. As players advance, the mathematic equations become more and more advanced, moving upwards into algebraic and geometric formulas.
3. Skill Development – Beyond collaboration and interactive concept building, the world of modern gaming goes a long way to develop important skills that translate seamlessly into real-world applications. The majority of educational gaming platforms are based on science and mathematic concepts. The new world of instructive gaming platforms goes a long way toward developing logical, rapid decision-making and problem-solving skills in students of all learning levels and capabilities.
4. Performance Assessment – Gaming platforms also provide an easy, scalable way for instructors to measure performance in university students. In fact, professors can monitor and measure progress in real time, as students engage with educational concepts within a gaming environment. For instance, teachers can pre-determine objectives within the gaming environment and monitor how long it takes for students to advance through the game’s levels. Instructors can also monitor and coach students in logic development, concept building and collaboration.
Collegiate Learning Is Becoming More Interactive
In short, what once was perceived by instructors as an educational hindrance is now being tightly integrated into teaching plans all over the country. Video games not only go a long way in developing job skills, but they also bridge the teacher-student gap by reining in specific groups of students based on their personal interests. Video games are becoming an educational vehicle through which students can explore complex concepts in a meaningful, interactive way.
About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education on behalf of Colorado Technical University. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.
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