Gaming gives us the opportunity to express our feelings, socialize, experience worlds with rich stories and much more, though a sector which people don’t talk about is Education. Gaming in the education sector has been prevalent for quite some time and it has evolved equally as well.

Today gaming has been criticized by the media as being “a waste of time”, a “brain rotting tool” and various other negative connotations. Though some of these criticisms hold weight, they never focus on how games help children learn values that will make them better at communicating, solving problems and learning in general.

Gaming has been a key part of the education sector since the 1980’s through games which help players learn about the Oregon Trail in U.S, exploring historical caves and playing math based games to improve their math.

Gaming in education has really helped students understand their material better by making them learn in a more interactive environment.

An example of students learning from video games is Vocabulary. In an article by ScienceNordic they talk about a survey of 4th grade students in Sweden, who played video games and monitored the progress in their vocabulary. The teacher “asked 75 children in fourth grade to maintain language diaries in which they made note of their encounters with English outside of school. The content of these language notebooks was compared to two results of tests of their authors. One was a standardised national survey and the other had more direct emphasis on the kids’ vocabularies. The children were divided into three categories: non-gamers, moderate gamers and frequent gamers. The moderate group played up to five hours a day while the frequent gamers played even more. The researchers found clear differences in their English proficiencies. The ones who gamed the most were better at English.” Games which were role playing games (RPG’s) and online games allowed students to interact with others who were non-native English speakers. This interaction saw an increase in the amount of new English words learned by the students thus showing an advancement in their vocabulary as compared to non-gamers.

Another example is of a British school in West Sussex that has started to use the Nintendo Labo. In an article by the Guardian the process is described as “The kids are playing with Nintendo Labo an ingenious game that comes with a box of fold-up cardboard models that turn from inert facsimiles into working toys, with the addition of a Nintendo Switch console. Snap two controllers on to a cardboard car and it judders across the table. A cardboard piano becomes a working keyboard with a screen. A cardboard fishing rod can be used to play a fishing game, attached by string to a base housing the console.” The use of such gaming tech allows students to develop engineering skills at a young age while having fun. Not only that but they learn life skills such as communication, teamwork, and leadership which are very important to have in today’s world.

An article by Spieltimes highlights the importance of gaming in the education sector by showing the benefits of gaming. They say that “one of the most underrated benefits of gaming in education is the fact that it can generate an improvement in areas related to social and psychological well-being. To achieve a goal, players must either work together or compete against each other, which leads them to refine their ability to develop relationships. Additionally, success in gaming translates to better self-esteem, motivation, and engagement.”

Gaming in education sector

Though the idea of introducing gaming to schools sounds interesting, some parents and teachers are against it. They feel that the child may not be able to focus on his/her studies and might just waste their time. Such criticisms are valid, but gaming in schools could be carried out if it is regulated and monitored. Gaming has proved time and time again that people who play video games often learn a skill that helps them down the line. In a world where we have 3D games that utilise AR/VR technology and artificial intelligence (AI), students have a wide variety to explore and learn. Hence we can only wait and see if gaming is able to win the trust of parents and teachers.