Answering questions on critical issues regarding education today are all dependent and shaped by ones experiences, positions, and perspectives in the modern world of education. These questions challenge educators to run the issues, thus considering how energy, time and resources are distributed. These issues influence educators especially in the areas of educational innovation, leadership and also entrepreneurship. In this paper, we shall discuss education and game-based learning as one of the contemporary issues in learning in todays world.
Education and Game-based Approach to Learning
With digital technology, there is a wide variety of information and entertainment that learners can get, but there have been issues regarding the relevance of such entertainment such as gaming to students. While other scholars support the incorporation of gaming into learning, others have issues regarding such idea. Interestingly, a lot of studies have been done to examine affect and enjoyment learning (Van Eck, 2015). Studies have proven that there is a strong relationship between emotion and cognitive activities. Effective learning is known to combine cognitive processes like the incorporation of new ideas, attending to and assessing learning processes of individuals. The gold standard of todays learning is one-on-one tutoring and has demonstrated remarkable improvements in classrooms (Ney, Emin, & Earp, 2012). But just like any other educational tool, the willingness of the student to learn is a crucial factor in applying this tool (Tsai, 2012). Game-based learning, on the other hand, has been viewed as one of the learning approaches that encourage student motivation, engagement, positive affect among others.
A lot of criticism surround game based learning including the fact that it introduces distractions and that it draws the attention of the students away from the learning tasks. Studies indicate that play encourages students creativity and that teachers should incorporate it into learning instructions as it can stimulate the learner to unlock creative potential. This game-based learning has shown great promise regarding student engagement at a level that tutors, lecturers, and textbooks cannot compete (Tsai, 2012). However, some scholars are asking if the approach is another step towards mediocrity in education, or whether integration technology into learning will input positive changes to instruction and performance or it is another burden that will cripple the under-funded, and the over-worked educational systems with no visible benefit over the already accepted instructional tools (Tsai, 2012).
Many individuals may oppose incorporation of gaming into the school curriculum, but the question remains; isnt it an authentic opportunity to encourage positivity among students in school? Studies indicate that game-based learning does not only captivate and motivate learning, but it also recognizes knowledge gaps, enhances self-confidence, and communication skills in a collaborative, interactive and exciting way (Van Eck, 2015). The 21st century has created a window for a majority of people including kids and the youth to be more interested in games as their learning tools. State benchmarks and other performance-based evaluators have found it challenging to incorporate pay in academic lessons. Some claim that the existent work plans have tight schedules and therefore making it difficult to incorporate play. Others claim that the gaming concept is still misunderstood among many educators (Ney, Emin, & Earp, 2012). Gaming popularity has grown, yet the popular educational and training strategies are widely applied. Many studies have cited that these strategies, despite their popularity do not engage active learning and motivation among students. The main downfall of these strategies is the fact that they lean more towards brighter students who dont find difficulty in taking instruction. It is to be recognized that some students are slow learners, while others have short concentration span, while others may have difficulties in some subjects thus lowering their overall motivation to learning (Ney, Emin, & Earp, 2012).
It can be agreed that learning, even today, is still more about memorization but less skill acquisition as well as cognitive development. It is critical that students can learn how to respond to real-life situations appropriately especially under pressure (Tsai, 2012). These abilities may not be realized if the traditional learning methods are still widely applied, and there is need to change learning strategies allowing them to be more creative, with higher thinking levels and problem-solving strategies that are highly needed in the professional world (Van Eck, 2015). Majority of companies have reported that a majority of graduates from colleges and high school lack sufficient skills regarding cognitive thinking, creativity, and problem-solving.
It should also be realized, that despite the digital education games ability to enhance learning, there are concerns that if they are not well designed, they could impact learning regarding poor learning aftermaths and could cumulate manners such as alienation among players (Van Eck, 2015). The greatest challenge in the development of digital education games is providing sustenance as well as guides to learners. Practice-oriented tools, have been developed to guide game-based learning approaches but teachers have found it challenging to integrate it into their teaching practice. This is because the techniques have challenges for instance practicability, adaptability and pedagogical issues (Van Eck, 2015). It is also important to consider that developers in the gaming industry are not concerned much about learning features in the game; hence some games could prove to be more destructive than others.
To conclude, game-based approaches have been proven to be of great benefits to students, however, debates on how appropriate and applicable they are to learning is still a great issue. The policymakers in the education sector, as well as political leaders, should recognize that digital technology might be an opportunity of sealing loopholes in the education system that still depends highly on traditional teaching tools. It must be acknowledged that with time, these methods ought to be changed, to meet the increasing pressures professionalism in the workplace.
Ney, M., Emin, V., & Earp, J. (2012). Paving the way to Game-Based Learning: a question matrix for Teacher Reflection. Procedia Computer Science, 15, 17-24.
Tsai, K. C. (2012). Play, Imagination, and Creativity: A Brief Literature Review. Journal of Education and Learning, 1(2), 15-20.
Van Eck, R. (2015). Digital Game-Based Learning: Still Restless, After All These Years. Educause. Retrieved 21 October 2017, from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/10/digital-game-based-learning-still-restless-after-all-these-years
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