What Video Games Can Teach Educators about Motivation and Student Engagement
Teachers have long competed with video games when it comes to maintaining the focus of their students. Children are more likely to head home at the end of a long day and zone out in front of a mindless video game than they are to complete another math worksheet. The research supports the fact that gamification can sustain interest far better than the traditional teaching methods that many educators would rather employ.
What can these games teach modern educators about student motivation? Here are a few of the key points that teachers need to take note of regarding student engagement.
They love to be wrapped up in the story.
Have you ever wondered why a math textbook isn’t likely to sustain a student’s interest for long? The fact is that a math textbook has no storyline for students to become engaged with or committed to. Its only purpose is to teach them more complicated concepts that can seem dry and boring. Gamification presents a full story that captivates attention almost immediately. The characters, the story, and even the desired result all sustain student engagement for significantly longer periods of time.
Understanding the full story of the lesson can help motivate students to stay present and focused during class time. Many recent reports are demonstrating that a high percentage of students are bored during instruction time. This sad statistic indicates that students are more likely to zone out during a lesson mentally. Adding a story could be a creative way to break that pattern.
It replaces external motivators with hands-on chances to learn.
Before edtech become relevant in the classroom, most students were motivated solely by their desire for good grades. The conventional grading system was their primary motivator to engage with the material. However, this form of motivation did little to inspire lifelong learners that would retain the information for years to come. In comparison, gamification gives students something that they deeply desire from their academics. They get an opportunity to learn concepts with hands-on experience.
Gamification provides a safe space for failure.
It’s inevitable that students will fail while learning new concepts. These failures are necessary for their long-term success because it can demonstrate areas of weakness. When their failures are illustrated clearly on their final report card, students can become discouraged by their lack of opportunity for success. Gamification gives children a safe environment to tackle new topics and experience necessary failure. The assignment doesn’t have to be graded by teachers or shared with others. The technology can help correct mistakes and set students on a path destined for future success.
Gamification and the introduction of more technology in the classroom reveal surprising facts about student engagement. These new games can help motivate students to try harder and study smarter, both in the classroom and at home. Teachers can even take these valuable lessons and apply the concepts to other classroom instruction for a more positive learning experience among students.
Effective educators know how to balance the traditional methods with the advances and insights that are constantly coming to light. Gamification is something that is clearly here to stay, and it’s time that our academic system started paying attention to what it offers.