Right now, with most academic institutions shaken by the global health crisis, educators are searching for ways to mitigate the COVID-shaped hole occupying every tier of study.
It is worth remembering, then, that for any learning strategy to become successful, it must in some way encourage independent enquiry. Students can acquire skills or information through their presence in class, but it is engagement with it in their own time that fosters retention.
(This is surely how we justify homework, right?)
That being so, and with the preferred modes of engagement amongst young people including both games and online visual content, it is about time we considered incorporating videogames as part of in-class material.
It isn’t that much of a stretch, really. For example, many of the courses that currently run in schools as part of the standard curriculum contain content that leans on or that somehow incorporates elements of popular culture. Movies, music, plays, and shows are included alongside traditional literary content to reinforce points of language that are studied in the class.
Doing this makes an enormous amount of sense. On average, school only takes up around 40 hours per week: students spend ¾ of their time beyond the schools reach. And this time is incredibly valuable. Whether students realise it or not, the way that they use their time outside of school has an enormous influence on the success they can hope to experience within it.
Ensuring a smooth transition between the content acquired during school time and the use of that content after home time is essential. The hope is that students, through a mixture of homework and habitual interest, continue their learning independently. This will, by extension, hasten their progress and widen their scope of learning when they return to the classroom.
Such outcomes are desperately desired, but can be quite difficult to obtain. What is frustrating is that we take little to no interest in including the mediums students gravitate towards in the material from which they learn. We insist on separating it, and in doing so we connect what they learn in class with where they actually use apply language in their everyday lives.
Gaming is a meaningful learning tool. Or it could be. What educators will soon come to realise is that the most effective way to plug the learning hole will be to play.
Cicero Group Limited