Is Gaming the way Forward for Teaching?

Posted by Rhys on Apr 8, 2016

Having watched the TED talk by Matthew Peterson on gaming in the classroom and read the article by James Gee. I have mixed views on whether gaming has a place in education. They both have strong points and proofs that would strongly argue that gaming is good for students’ education. However, with each positive there may also be a negative side to the story as we will discuss in this think piece.

Peterson discussed this idea that teaching methods involve a lot of the teacher standing at the front of the classroom talking at the students, followed by students working out of textbooks. This style of teaching has been proved to only appeal to a small minority of students. Therefore, due to this teaching style only those small group of students actually succeed in the subject. This in ability for students to learn through this style of teaching is due to students having an inability to comprehend the language used in maths and also in exam questions. The use of video games removes this language barrier according to Peterson. He believes it will allow students to become much more proficient in the subject. I agree with the belief that current teaching methods are possibly not interactive enough and need to be more visual and enjoyable for students. However, I feel the use of games could possibly have a negative effect on the students learning. This is because even though they may be completing these games and in turn completing the mathematics involved within the game. They may not be fully understanding the maths that they are computing. Their success in these games may not be a clear indicator of their true ability because their success in the games may simply be down to trial and error.

Despite me believing that the students may be succeeding through trial and error, Peterson has proof that through the use of his games students have become three times more proficient in mathematics. However, I am still believe that even though the students are succeeding with all the games they may not fully understand the mathematics behind the games. This is because when the students come to face exams where the questions are all very wordy and complex they will not understand what to do. Therefore I still believe that the use of games only in education will not help students in the long run. Because without the visual aids of the game students may not be able to decipher what the exam question is asking them to solve.

The article by Gee on the other hand does briefly talk about how gaming is related to education. This is because it talks about the first key principle of learning, Identity. This is important for both gaming and learning. This is because as a gamer if you do not identify with the game and the character you will not succeed in the game. Whereas, if you look at his in an educational situation, if the student relates and fully commits to the topic, and is able to see the value of the subject. Then they will be much more likely to succeed in it.

Overall, in my opinion I believe that gaming should be used as a learning aid rather than a teaching substitute. This is because having lots of visuals is all well and good but the students need to be able to deal with the language used in exams as well. Otherwise they will not succeed in maths.

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