One of the biggest arguments against having classroom computers is the perceived risk that students will waste time playing games. But what if instead of discouraging the use of these programs, instructors adapted to them?
Gamification includes the process of inserting video games – be they educationally intended or otherwise – into lesson plans in order to better illustrate points. This is an immersive method of teaching that many believe engages younger generations in more meaningful ways than traditional avenues have proven to.
"Gamification projects offer the opportunity to experiment with rules, emotions and social roles," wrote Joey Lee and Jessica Hammer of Columbia University Teachers College in their paper, "Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother?" "Read an optional library book on the topic being taught in class? Receive 'Reading' points. Get perfect attendance and complete all homework assignments on time for a month? Earn an 'On Target' badge. Get assigned as a 'Lead Detective' role in science class? Work hard to ask the best questions. When playing by these rules, students develop new frameworks for understanding their school-based activities."
Education system needs modern-day overhaul
Every year, 1.2 million students in the United States fail to graduate from high school. Part of this has been blamed on a failure on the part of educators to effectively engage their students. But consider how many people play video games – and how frequently. Five million players log a weekly average of 45 hours. This equates to – and often exceeds – the schedules that are maintained by full-time employees in a variety of fields.
The present day is loaded with stimulation. When there are immersive experiences that are so easily delivered to mobile devices and PCs alike, there is a significant difficulty in a teacher's competition for attention. So instead of pushing for a more significant divide between students the methodology that grabs their interest, perhaps it is time to examine how to meet in the middle, so to speak
All levels of education can benefit
While computers at the college level are far from a new idea, their use can still be implemented even further and in new ways – namely when online classwork is involved.
"College classroom methods are evolving with time, but some are still stuck in the past," wrote Rasmussen College Online Community Specialist Kendall Bird. "Today's online students need encouragement through points, badges and progress notifications. Lucky for you, there are colleges and universities out there offering college degrees that incorporate all of these options and employ the latest gamification methods."
With that in mind, the question of having computers in the classroom – regardless of education level – is one less related to "if" than "when." Methods like gamification are starting to become the new norm in place of constantly-outdated textbooks. With the right computer lab management software on-hand, schools can motivate and benefit their students in new ways.
Come find out more about how Faronics can protect and enhance your classroom computers at this year's ISTE Conference & Expo, June 28 through July 1. Faronics will be occupying booth #2848 and is ready to teach visitors about collaborative learning.