What is Game Based Learning? From learning new languages to Virtual Reality simulations…stay tuned to number 1 to find out the impact of video games in learning!
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Number 10: Game-Based Learning In Fiction
As far as game-based learning goes, Ender’s Game, the 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card is perhaps one of the earliest examples of game based learning in fiction. Without giving too much of the plot away, Ender is accepted in to the Battle School, a military training school situated in Earth’s orbit, where cadets participate in competitive war simulations in zero gravity. After perfecting various battle situations, Ender is finally told he is about to undergo his final test, but there is a shocking surprise at the end of it. Was it a game or was it reality?
Although this is clearly a fictional story, it does bring to question the use of games for learning. What better way to experience and plan for a dangerous situation than to practice in a ‘made-up’ setting. If you haven’t experienced the Ender’s story, you can do so by reading the original novels, the recent movie adaption, or audio play. Although there had been some discussion about an associated game, nothing came out of it in the end.
Number 9: Simulations.
The technological advancements of the 20th century led to many incredible developments, of which simulations are just one. These are imitations of a real-world process or system, and could be considered as an early form of game-based learning in some circumstances. The first simulation game is believed to have been a game created by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann, which was a simple game that involved firing a missile at a target – though this is not something the military used to practice firing missiles. Nevertheless, military simulations, also known informally as ‘war games’, do exists and are used to test theories of warfare and to refine techniques without the need for actual hostilities, however little is known about them. But this isn’t the only educational use for simulations. Pilots practice and improve flying techniques, doctors’ practice and refine techniques to perform life-saving surgery, and astronauts practice dangerous space missions. In many ways, using simulations for educational purposes have helped us with some of our greatest achievements.
Number 8: Virtual Reality.
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The exact origins of virtual reality, or VR for short, are disputed, partly because of how difficult it has been to formulate a definition for the concept of an alternative existence, however VR, as we know it today, really started to develop in the 1990s, which saw the first widespread commercial releases of consumer headsets. From 2015 onwards, the world started to go VR mad with many of the big companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and many others, investing a lot of time, money and people-power on VR development. Although VR has many uses, the use of VR game-based learning has loads of potential, and there are already some interesting games out there – like Cleanopolis, where the is to fight against climate change and make sure the city of Cleanopolis get rid of its CO2 cloud, or Titans of Space Carboard, which takes you on a short-guided tour of our planets and a few stars in virtual reality. With the developments in new, more improved VR kits and games designs, you can expect to see many more VR educational games in the future.
Number 7: Game-Based Learning Skills.
Game-based learning gives people the opportunity to develop and improve a variety of skills. Scrabble, hangman, crosswords, and other word-based games can help with vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling. Sudoku, and other number and math-based games, are excellent education tools for students wanting to practice math. Real-life games and video-games can give players the opportunity to improve team-working skills by allowing them to role-play different roles, work to solve problems as a group, and to bond with one-another – this last point is one reason why schools, and even some employers, often use game-based team-building exercises. Games are such effective ways to learn to new skills that they are used by most, if not all, professions. Whether its computer or video games, pen-based or board games, or virtual or real-life role-play games, games are fundamental for learning. However, it is important to remember that everyone has different styles of learning, and what works for one person, might not work for the other.