LEARNING HAS NEVER BEEN MORE FUN
The short version: GAMING as in LEARNING is aiming to develop and create valid teaching methods in the danish public school system, while sharing the progress online. To get there, we aim to create the greatest conditions to explore the full potential.
The longer version: At its core GAMING in LEARNING is about using video games as a means of learning as I find that gaming can provide a wide range of competences for the students.
A video game has the distinct advantage of being interactive, which gives the student the opportunity to really delve into and explore them. Already games exist that can fulfill the same role as other more conventional parts of teaching – e.g. a game with a strong narrative can be used as substitute for a written novel.
There are also games that require specific social skills such as the ability to intercommunicate and cooperate. While it is also possible traditionally to introduce exercises to the students devised to develop these skills more often than not students are prone to blame the teacher if the desired result is not achieved.
When using video games in this manner this much less likely, especially over time, which means GAMING in LEARNING through interacting in video games will be able to simultaneously develop and almost tangibly define these skills for the students.
GAMING as in LEARNING also has the benefit of demystifying the term “gamer” and show that to some extent everybody plays games in some form or other and that with some tweaking and reworking gaming can be a powerful learning tool.
Finally, the idea behind GAMING as in LEARNING is also to “kickstart” a movement into developing broader range of learning material to be used in conjunction with existing, commercially available video games. The story behind GAMING as in LEARNING
GAMING as in LEARNING was conceived through trial and error. Throughout my practice as a school teacher I have during the years 2013-14 employed the video game Black & White 2 to describe God’s role and how God can be viewed as ultimately good or ultimately evil. I found using the interactivity and clarity of the video game had a motivating effect on the students urging me to delve deeper into the subject.
A lot has been written on the subject of “Game Based Learning”, “GBL”, “Gamification” etc. but it proved extremely difficult to locate proofed literature on specific games. Apparently there simply doesn’t exist any go-to handbook for any school teacher to employ. Frankly, I find that disappointing which is why in 2014 I entered into a collaboration with a colleague to use SimCity 3000 to exemplify how to manage a community during our Social Studies courses. It resulted in positive process, several papers and eventual presentations by the students.
Since then regrettably no concrete and easily accessible material has been produced on the subject despite being widely discussed and in some case rudimentary approaches to practical implementation have been developed. An example hereof is “The School at Play” (Skolen i Spil) from Aarhus in which video games are employed as tools of social inclusion in the classes.
I find this very interesting but as my professional field is more academically generic I am more motivated towards working with a broader perspective. My interest and curiosity ever growing by September 2016 I decided to form a contemplative group of students ranging from 7th to 9th grade dedicated to further test, examine and implement education based on video games at my workplace.
Main objective for GAMING as in LEARNING
Initially GAMING as in LEARNING will be comprised of five parts:
- * A fully equipped study room at Østermarkskolen as a setting for GAMING as in LEARNING
- * An online media containing background material, learning programs and students’ productions and will include platforms for discussion and sharing knowledge.
- * A printed and published handbook of learning programs with a minimum of 10 concrete programs for commercially available video games.
- * A YouTube channel where students as well as teachers as program “beta testers” can share their impressions. Additionally the channel will include tips & tricks on how to make game based learning work.
- * A overall program at Østermarkskolen where teachers can enroll students in approved learning programs as well as allowing the contemplative group to continue developing the learning material.
With the above objectives reached GAMING as in LEARNING is to be considered a success. They will also serve as a basis for the continued project with frequent updates and additions to the programs, YouTube channel and the online media.
To reach these goals, we need the conditions just right, and this is where the classroom comes in to place. This kickstarter is to start decorating that room with consoles, computers and other hardware.