Generation Z is one of the most tech-savvy generations to date and this has greatly affected the way they learn in the classroom. According to an article by Gaming.co, almost half of children spend more than ten hours online every day, and an average, they will have accumulated 30,000 hours of gaming by the time they turn 20. Games are challenging and can be a highly productive activity with its power to stimulate learning and cognition. Instead of separating children from technology, many educators have elected to embrace technology in the education process through game-based learning or blended learning, which is the process of combining technology with more traditional forms of education.
Victoria, writing in an article on techstarter suggests that research has shown that there are many benefits for playing daily games in the classroom. Games have been found to be more engaging than traditional forms of education. By providing information and learning over an extended class period, games provide small amounts of information over multiple stages. Gaming improves metacognition, which is the ability to think about your own thinking. Strong metacognition has been proven to help with developing academic skills and allowing students to learn about their strengths and weaknesses, ultimately improving performance. When teachers plan lessons, they should try to incorporate at least one game a day as a teaching and learning tool, assessment strategy or classroom motivator.
Students become more engaged in their learning when playing games, and taught content is reinforced as class positivity is increased. Games have been found to improve cognitive functions like memory and reasoning and have the potential to reverse aging-related brain function problems such as short term memory loss. Decision-making processes required to play games provide cognitive exercises for children that can range from making simple decisions to the formulation of complex strategies. According to an article on Bright Hub Education, game-based learning is a teaching method that allows learners to explore different parts of games as a form of learning. Games can be designed by teachers and other education specialists in a way that balances academic subjects such as history with the strategies, rules and social aspects of playing a game. These games are typically designed at different ability levels with the ultimate goal of providing the players with an innovative method of retaining information, learning and problem-solving.
According to Spiel Times, game-based learning improves computer and digital literacy by providing children with fun and exciting games that teach them to utilize the mouse and keyboard properly, in addition to general internet navigation. Students acquire basic skills such as problem-solving, analytic thinking, collaboration and creativity when playing games, while also developing communication skills, ethics and accountability. Games have the benefit of getting players accustomed to the digital world in a fun, innovative and entertaining manner, where learning happens intuitively. Game-based learning allows players to become self-reliant and learn how to use technology for their benefit. Students who enjoy gaming are unfazed by digital obstacles and strive to problem solve, whether it is through learning how a new software program works, how to edit documents and files or how to navigate online information.
Games improve alertness and focus and gradually improves the attention span and memory of students. According to an article in the Telegraph, research suggests that game-based learning allow players to concentrate easily and focus in a way that is inherently more attuned to the learning patterns of students compared to a traditional class environment. Games often revolve around memory, where students have to remember aspects in order to solve puzzles in a game, memorise critical sequences or visuals such as maps, and track narrative elements that advance the game. Many games require problem solving strategies that enhance the student’s working memory to solve problems and increase mental cognition.
Social and Soft Skills
Games can generate improvement in areas related to social and psychological wellbeing by promoting soft skills such as communication, team collaboration and leadership. Players must often either work together or compete against each other in a game, which refines their ability to develop relationships and translates to better self-esteem, motivation and engagement. Games have an ability to attract and maintain a student’s attention for a long span and thus can be used to correlate gaming with educational goals. Physical skills such as hand-eye coordination are developed along with spatial and fine motor skills. Games can help students develop these skills in an integrated learning environment, where these skills are retained for a longer period than from other learning methods. According to HuffPost, 70% of gamers play with their friends in the same room and only 20% play alone. Teamwork abilities are put to the test while gaming, in addition to communication and interpersonal skills. These pro-social behaviours are crucial for healthy social development.
To advance in a game, students must be able to resort to logic, strategic thinking and quick problem-solving. Students that do well in games are artful problem solvers who tackle challenges with confidence, employ successful critical thinking, and stay resilient in the face of an obstacle. Students develop their ability to think on their feet and outside of the box when completing levels and solving problems in games. Games have a higher retention rate compared to book learning and this improves creativity and decision making skills by encouraging cognitive development and facilitating individualised learning. Many teachers think games can help motivate low-performing students by increasing engagement and closing learning gaps. According to HuffPost, 78% of teachers in a national survey said that games improved low-performing students’ mastery of curricular content and skills (math, language arts, etc.), and 71% said that they improved mastery of extra-curricular skills (technology, communication, critical thinking, etc.).
For students, games can feel more like a form of entertainment than a method of learning, but because games have defined rules, objectives, goals and competition, they can deliver an interactive experience that promotes a sense of achievement and is aligned to educational goals for all participants. Children are often motivated by hand-on and active learning opportunities, where students are able to work on accomplishing a goal by choosing specific actions. Game-based learning encourages students to be motivated by these consequences, which mirrors the learning experience in real life. Students are highly engaged when they learn through games and this increases overall motivation in the classroom. Students are motivated to learn, pay attention and participate in assigned tasks as they become part of a team and take responsibility for their own learning.
Sound Infusion is an online platform that enables students to create original music compositions using digital samples of instruments from around the world. It encourages inquiry-based learning that recognises the importance of nurturing student initiative.
The inherent intersectionality of music with the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as with the General Capabilities of Intercultural Understanding, Critical and Creative Thinking and ICT Capability allows students to explore a range of curriculum priorities that can be folded into integrated learning activities.
Sound Infusion supports the Australian Curriculum and encourages engaging, student-led digital learning. We have lesson plans for primary and secondary schools, up to year 8.
All students can engage in a fun and creative activity as they investigate areas such as geography, history, social sciences and music by mixing, harmonising and downloading their own music with a cultural flavour. Sound Infusion is a dynamic and exciting tool designed to enhance ACARA learning outcomes, cultural appreciation, respect and wellbeing.
Comprising of 6 innovative resources including lesson plans, internationally award-winning apps, games and activities, Learning Lands is able to entertain and educate for years on end. Integrating the arts, music, humanities, geography, history and Indigenous perspectives, students will develop an awareness of the self through the discovery of the other and gain interpersonal skills preparing them for a globalised and ever-changing world.
Joko’s World is a suite of digital learning tools which incorporate music, history, geography and culture. At the centre of the suite is a blue nightingale called Joko. Joko travels to different countries to show students musical instruments and cultural events.
Joko’s World is an internationally recognised, multiple award-winning set of educational gaming apps. Children explore our fascinating planet, test their knowledge and gain new skills – all through the engaging medium of interactive games for devices. Learn geography, music, culture and history by flying around festivals, solving spinning-globe puzzles, playing your device like a flute or tambourine, and stories that feature inbuilt games targeted at literacy and numeracy as well as intercultural competencies. Perfect to open up discussion on a number of themes.
Joko’s World offers a broad variety of educational resources in multiple interactive forms. Exciting mobile games such as Pocket Planet and World of Instruments are exciting geography and instrument simulators that provide opportunities for deep cultural learning with each step. Or explore more narrative-based learning through the interactive stories of Travels With Joko. Finally, each of these are complemented by learning resources in the form of various class activities and exercises.