GAMEPLAY has long been a favourite living room pastime among children. In recent years, it has been used to impact learning in the classroom.
Minecraft, for instance, has been used in more than 7,000 classrooms in over 40 countries.
At the recent Microsoft Global Educator Exchange (E2), Minecraft was endorsed as a powerful tool for harnessing the passion students have for playing the game.
“There’s a language of gaming, for example, things like ‘missions’ or ‘quests’, and gathering groups of students into ‘tribes’ or ‘clans’. These are very natural terms used by students today.
“When you bring those game-based concepts into a learning environment, it inspires and motivates students to challenge new ideas in a positive way,” said Microsoft Worldwide Education vice-president Anthony Salcito.
He pointed out that teachers have taken the concept and used it in diverse ways. Some have used it for problem-solving and motivation, while others for expressing concepts in mathematics, history, art and literature.
Regarding teachers who may be a little concerned or fearful of using the tool, he extolled the benefits of having the teachers flip the classroom by challenging their students to help them instead.
“Even asking the students, ‘We’re going to learn history. Does anyone have any idea how Minecraft can help us learn history?’ can create a more organic approach to it,” said Salcito.
While game-based learning is fairly new to most educational systems across the world, Salcito is confident that teachers and students stand to gain from it.
“When you start to shift the idea and bring the insights of students to the forefront, you can drive some innovation that you wouldn’t necessarily anticipate. That’s been the approach that teachers have had with Minecraft,” he said. The STAR Home > News > Education Sunday, 27 March 2016